How emissions control is challenging efficiency

Over the past few decades, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has implemented emissions regulations for heavy–duty diesel engines—for both on and off highway. While these standards are positive and have lowered emissions, the engine aftertreatment systems (EATS) now mandatory in all new vehicles and equipment bring their own set of unique challenges when it comes to overall efficiency and total cost of ownership.

The diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC) converts CO into CO2, oxidizing unburnt hydrocarbon emissions to increase the temperature of the exhaust, which aids the DPF function.

The diesel particulate filter (DPF) collects up to 98% of particulate matter emissions in the form of ash & soot. Ash is incombustible material derived from metallic lubricant additives.

In the selective catalytic reduction (SCR) unit, diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), in conjunction with the catalyst, converts NOx into N2 & H2O.

The EATS trade-off

The latest category of heavy-duty engine oils were specifically designed to protect this latest generation of engines, but oil technology has not advanced far enough when it comes to optimizing and protecting the aftertreatment system, especially with regards to the diesel particulate filter (DPF). Consequently, fleet owners, operations managers and maintenance technicians have been forced to make a trade-off.

The DPF downside
What's actually happening?

DPFs play a crucial role in cleaning diesel exhaust before it hits the tailpipe, reducing emissions of particulate matter (PM). As fuel burns, the DPF collects and stores up to 98% of incombustible particles in the form of ash and soot.

DPF regeneration cycles

Once enough soot and ash accumulate, the engine initiates a process where extremely high temperatures burn off the collected particles to regenerate the DPF. Each regen requires incremental fuel use, decreasing fuel economy and often forcing equipment downtime.

Ash clogging in the DPF

Soot burns off through regeneration, but ash remains in the DPF. Engine lubricants contain metallic additives, such as anti-wear and detergents, which contribute heavily to ash buildup in the DPF. Despite regen cycles, this means eventual DPF clogging, resulting in increased service intervals, unnecessary downtime or costly replacement.


The cost of Tier 4 Final

Tier 4 Final engines are here for heavy-duty off-highway vehicles—and have been for a while now. Many fleets are already operating with 25% Tier 4 Final equipment. And that number is only going to grow. But there has been a resistance to embracing this technology due to associated costs. Learn more about how ash clogging in the DPF could be costing you.

See the business impact
  • img
    The DPF impact on
    fuel economy

    Take a deeper dive on how fuel efficiency is negatively impacted by oil contaminant clogging in DPFs.

    Get the report
  • img
    Cleaning the DPF

    See how the DPF is measured for resistance and then cleared with high air pressure in a pneumatic cleaner.

    Watch the video
  • img
    Inspecting the DPF

    See how the honeycomb filter collects and stores ash and soot to prevent harmful emissions.

    Watch the video
  • image
    Cleaner air and lower-ash

    See how landmark legislation on air quality has had a far-reaching impact on diesel engine design, producing a need for lower-ash oils.

    Read the blog
  • image
    Maintenance issues and
    aftertreatment systems

    Understand the causes related to ash clogging in your DPFs and why you may be servicing them more than OEM guidelines suggest.

    Read the blog
  • image
    Clogged DPFs and the “Fuel Penalty”

    Is your engine burning fuel at a faster rate? It may be because ash is clogging your DPF, causing backpressure and forced regenerations.

    Read the blog