The EU emission standards – Tech Talk from Comma Oil

What are the EURO emission standards?

The EURO emission standards define the acceptable levels for exhaust emissions of new vehicles sold in EU member states. These standards are generally accepted to be the single most important driver to technology changes in the automotive industry. Currently, emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), total hydrocarbons (THC), non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC), carbon monoxide (CO) and particulate matter (PM) are regulated for most vehicle types, including passenger and commercial vehicles. For each vehicle type different standards apply.

What’s the current standard?

EURO I was introduced in 1993 and since then increasingly demanding standards have been progressively released. We are currently at Euro 6 which when compared to EURO 3 has resulted in around a 90% reduction in the key categories for diesel engines and
about a 60% reduction in the key areas for petrol engines. Euro 6 present some substantial challenges particularly for diesel engines
in commercial vehicles as well as passenger vehicles. This has significant implications for emissions control technologies, requiring the integration of emission control aftertreatment for Particulates (PM), such as DPFs (Diesel Particulate Filters) and NOx emissions, such as CATs (Catalytic Converters) and SCRs (Selective Catalytic Reduction with AdBlue).

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What are the consequences of the increasingly demanding EURO standards?

Tougher regulations are forcing manufacturers to continuously improve the fuel economy of their engines, to produce less oil waste and, most importantly, to reduce emissions across their vehicle range. The EURO emission standards are the main driver for automotive technology for both passenger and commercial vehicles. To meet these increasingly demanding regulations, manufacturers are having to improve their engines by introducing new components like EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) valves, turbochargers and exhaust after treatment systems. These changes result in much more complicated and variable engine configurations which in turn can lead to quite different requirements for engine oil.

Turbochargers are nowadays quite common on both diesel and petrol passenger vehicles, why is this?Screen Shot 2017-05-04 at 12.13.27

That’s simply because of the benefits they bring when it comes to meeting those challenging environmental regulations. All diesel cars manufactured today are turbocharged and according to statistics provided by BTN turbo, around 30% of petrol vehicles were fitted with a turbocharger by the end of 2012 and overall 70% of the market will be turbocharged by 2020.

However, turbochargers present some unique challenges when it comes to lubrication because of the extreme conditions under which they operate. According to turbocharger experts BTN Turbo, 95% of turbocharger failure is caused by a lubrication fault of some kind.

Can engine oil contribute to catalytic converter (CAT) or diesel particulate filter (DPF) damage?Screen Shot 2017-05-04 at 12.13.53

Exhaust after treatment systems like DPFs or CATs are very sensitive and expensive components that can be damaged if the right Low SAPS (Low Sulphated Ash, Phosphorus and Sulphur) oil is not used. SCR systems can also be damaged by excessive levels of Phosphorous.

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