“No disaster is looming” with the introduction of SCR engine technology, said Mike Delaney, senior vice president of marketing for Daimler Trucks North America.
Delaney and other Daimler executives last week addressed skepticism raised by competitors over the company’s plans to use selective catalytic reduction (SCR) to meet 2010 EPA emissions standards. The company’s brands include Freightliner, Western Star, Sterling and engine maker Detroit Diesel.
Emissions reduction addresses both human stewardship and business needs, Delaney said, and SCR is best suited for both goals. “It flat-out needs to be done,” he said.
Citing respiratory health problems linked to diesel exhaust, Delaney said Daimler’s road-proven BlueTec SCR system would deliver on the responsibility to reduce total emissions “to the lowest possible level … But we also have a goal to provide truckers sound business solutions and to produce the most fuel-efficient trucks on the road.” The BlueTec SCR system, he said, would allow both goals to be achieved.
Daimler President and CEO Chris Patterson said the more than 100,000 SCR-equipped trucks in the Europe-wide fleet are seeing a 3 percent to 5 percent improvement in fuel-efficiency relative to engines based on exhaust gas recirculation, and that truckers could expect much the same in the North American market for 2010.
SCR technology treats exhaust with urea, also called diesel exhaust fluid, downstream of EGR treatment to reduce NOx emissions. Delaney responded to recent erroneous reports of the “toxic” nature of the fluid or its ammonia byproduct. He said that urea is totally nontoxic and noncombustible. “Urea is widely used as fertilizer for food crops, and in chewing gum, and in skin cream, and in many, many other applications that you touch or consume every day.”
Addressing the largest criticism against SCR – the current lack of a distribution system for urea in North America – Delaney presented a map showing the quick roll-out of urea pumps at fueling stations and other spots in Europe between January 2006 and today. The number of European distribution spots in that time jumped from a mere 200 to more than 1,600.
Furthermore, Delaney said, “reports show the SCR adoption rate is continuing to rise” in Europe, and fleets are seeing good results. SCR-equipped diesel passenger cars, furthermore, will hit American auto showrooms at the end of the year, and Terra is restarting its Louisiana urea plant to ramp up production for expected demand.
The company overall would continue efforts at “driving innovation” and “embracing change,” Patterson said.