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Navistar to adopt SCR technology to meet 2010 EPA requirements; “In-Cylinder Technology Plus (ICT+)”

Perforce shifting from its advanced EGR-based strategy, Navistar International Corporation will introduce engines combining advanced in-cylinder management with urea-based aftertreatment (selective catalytic reduction, SCR) to meet 2010 US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emissions regulations and to position the company to meet greenhouse gas (GHG) rules in advance of 2014 and 2017 requirements. Navistar expects the In-Cylinder Technology Plus (ICT+) technology to be available beginning early 2013.

Navistar said it will continue to build and ship current model trucks in all vehicle classes using appropriate combinations of earned emissions credits and/or non-compliance penalties (NCPs) during the transition to ICT+. In June, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated the EPA’s interim final rule on the use of non-conformance penalties (NCPs) in order to sell diesel engines with emissions levels above 0.20g NOx.

Background. Unlike its competitors in the heavy-duty on-road space, Navistar relied on advanced EGR technology for 2010 compliance instead of SCR. Navistar touted the advanced EGR approach as being more cost-effective than SCR. The company was also vocal in its opposition to the use of SCR for compliance (“a license to pollute”), having argued that there was no operational mechanism to forestall cheating with SCR systems when urea is not present. (Earlier post.)

However, EPA 2010 regulations call for 0.20 g/bhp-hr NOx; engine-out NOx for the MAXXFORCE 13, as an example, is 0.35 g/bhp-hr.

New heavy-duty engines entering the market must obtain a certificate of conformity from EPA demonstrating that the vehicle or engine complies with the applicable emission standard(s). However, concerned that some manufacturers of heavy-duty engines might be forced out of the marketplace if they are unable to meet these standards, Congress required EPA to grant such manufacturers a certificate of conformity if they pay a non-conformance penalty (NCP). EPA also had established an “averaging, banking and trading program” for engine credits as another way to meet emission standards besides payment of NCPs.

In October 2011, Navistar informed EPA that it would run out of credits in 2012. Given the imminent credit shortage, EPA estimated that it might have as little as 3-4 months to establish penalties before Navistar ran out of credits and would be unable to introduce any heavy-duty engines into commerce subsequent to that. EPA therefore established an NCP for Navistar, and invoked an exception under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) that would have allowed it to dispense with otherwise applicable notice and comment procedures.

Navistar competitors—who had developed SCR solutions—thereupon filed suit against the EPA, arguing that the agency was giving preferential treatment to Navistar and that the NCPs were too low. The Court of Appeals agreed with the competitors, and in the June decision, vacated the EPA rule.

At the time, Navistar said that it would work with EPA to fully understand the ruling and its impact on the use of NCPs until a final rule is implemented; would continue to cooperate with the EPA on the final NCP rule; and would continue to work with the EPA on its 0.20g NOx certification.

Moving forward with ICT+. Daniel Ustian, Navistar chairman, president and CEO, said that by incorporating SCR—“an already proven and certified aftertreatment system”—with its in-cylinder work, the company will be seamlessly offering production-ready vehicles early next year.

Our distinctive solution will leverage the investment and advancement we’ve made in clean engine technology while providing immediate certainty for our customers, dealers, employees and investors. We’ve shared our new technology path with the EPA and California Air Resources Board (CARB), and both agencies are encouraged by our plans. We will continue to work with the agencies to ensure that our customers receive uninterrupted deliveries in all 50 states during this transition.

Navistar has been a long-time participant in various DOE-funded heavy-duty truck engine efficiency programs. As part of the current Supertruck effort, Navistar is working on the use of advanced combustion concepts, with higher injections pressures (3,000 bar); variable valve actuation and high efficiency turbochargers; advanced EGR cooling; aftertreatment; and base engine enhancements such as reduced friction and electrification of accessories.

Navistar and Supertruck. Source: William de Ojeda, DEER 2011. Click to enlarge.


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