Trucks

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Q:  From Erik:  Is there a standard for DEF that has already been approved for the US?  And along with that, is there any sort of material specification for those producing pumping systems (i.e., for pumps, nozzles, hoses, etc.)?

A:  Erik...good questions...thanks!

Yes, for North America, the standard for DEF is exactly the same as the already-in-place European Union standards.  The base standard is known as AUS32 (Aqueous Urea Solution @ 32%), which is a blend of 28.5% liquid urea and 67.5% deionized water.

Product dispensers -- from a simple 2.5 gallon jug with a screw-on nozzle -- to a 45 gallon IBC with a hand filler hose -- to a 750-gallon tote with an electric powered supply pump -- to a complete in-ground large volume commercial installation...all pumps for handling urea solutions should have wetted parts made of iron, steel or stainless steel.  No copper or copper alloy and aluminum parts should be used.  Ethylene-propylene (EPDM) is the recommended material for "O" rings.  Centrifugal-type pumps are recommended.

Hope this answers all your questions.


Q. From Tim:  Is it possible for a driver to perform a manual regeneration on an EPA'07 truck before the warning lamp comes on?

A:  Tim, normally I would not use this forum to comment on EPA 2007 technology, but as the DPF is carry over technology, here goes;

As of today, we do not allow what is referred to as Operator Controlled Regeneration. The reasons for this are:

1. Heat cycles - each DPF is designed to last for X number of years and X number of regen cycles. If we were to allow an OCR on demand, the life expectancy would be reduced significantly.

2. Fuel Economy - each active regen event with a catalyzed system consumes ~ 2 US gallons of fuel. If there is an active regen event every 8 to 10 engine hours this would equal approximately one active event per day. If we allowed OCR, this could go to 4 or more gallons of expensive diesel fuel per day, with absolutely no pay back. This may cost you $30 per week in unnecessary fuel expense.

3. Emissions - OCR messes up our engine family emission model. We (read - really, really smart guys in Hagerstown - not me) have calculated that each engine family will emit "X" grams of NOx and Pm per hour over the life of the engine; allowing full manual OCR might upset that formula.

Now having said all that, it appears that in some duty cycles an OCR on command may be required. We are in discussion with the EPA on this issue.

One software control improvement that we have recently released is thatwe will now allow a stationary automatic regen during extended PTO operations. You can still inhibit the active regen with the dash mounted Smart Switch.

For EPA 2010,thenumberof DPF active regeneration events will be significantly reduced, offering additional fuel economy savings. This is one of the many advantages of the Mack SCR system, fresh air and good FE. Truly one of those actual win - win bargains.

Thanks-Dave


Q:  From Dustin:  You state that one of the EPA stipulations is that there must be 2-1/2 fill-ups of fuel of DEF capacity.  Is this really a mandate or a suggestion by the EPA?  If so, do you know where I can find out more information?

A:  Dustin...Excellent question!  So excellent in fact I had to go visit Mr. Tasik (again) as I did not know the correct answer!

When the EPA speaks, we have a tendency to listen very carefully or, in this case, read carefully.

SUBJECT:  Certification Procedure for Light-Duty and Heavy-Duty Diesel Vehicles and Heavy-Duty Diesel Engines Using Selective Catalyst Reduction (SCR) Technologies

On Page 5, last paragraph reads as follows:

"We also anticipate that manufacturers would design the warning system to activate well in advance of the reducing agent running out.  Depending on the range between reducing agent refills (a function of reducing agent storage tank size, reducing agent dosing rate, fuel consumption, and NOx generation), the warning system for light-duty vehicles should begin to activate, at approximately 1,000 miles prior to the reducing agent tank becoming empty.  For heavy duty diesel vehicles we understand that factors in addition to those mentioned above affect the time between reducing agent refills.  Vehicle weight class and the current load being carried also affect the reducing agent refill intervals, but even given this variability, we believe that the warning system should begin soon enough for the operator to have adequate opportunity (e.g., two refuelings) to also refill the reducing agent.  The Agency may approve initiation of the warning system at shorter or longer periods if the manufacturer can demonstrate that shorter or longer periods are reasonable."

We at Mack have always allowed for some tolerance to the rule, so we have always suggested the 2.5 times formula as the above clearly suggests two refuelings.

Please click here to visit the specific area on the EPA website.  Hope we have cleared the air with this answer, thanks. 


Q:  From John:  I find your choice of the name Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) interesting.  Are you fully committed to using a liquid urea solution and are just trying to make the name sound more interesting, or are you leaving yourselves wiggle room to use a different 'fluid' in the event that something like direct ammonia injection becomes feasible?  I know of at least one solid state ammonia absorption and release system being suggested for SCR applications.

A:  John...

I'd really like to take credit for the Diesel Exhaust Fluid, or simply DEF, moniker.  But I must confess it was not me.  But the name simply refers to what the product actually is -- and more importantly -- does.  This is a continuance or offshoot of known accepted automotive fluids such as windshield washer fluid and automatic transmission fluid.  In Europe, the term AdBlue has been used by Daimler.

As far as making the name more interesting, I could do better than DEF.  But this is exactly what the product is.  As for wiggle room, we are committed to Selective Catalytic Reduction using DEF -- period.

As far as other technologies go, some have promise in the long-term future, some are simply snake oil, and the remainder cannot be scaled effectively to the large Heavy-Duty Diesel Engine market.


Q:  From Scott:  In your 2010 test fleets, what percentage of mpg increase are you seeing versus the 2004 EGR packages?

A:  Scott...

The FE improvement we are seeing is in the direct neighborhood of 3%.  Some duty cycles are exceeding this performance. I'd tell you about them now, but I have to keep some good news for later.

On another note, I haven't commented on the evaluation chassis in customer service for awhile.  The biggest single surprise (to me anyway) has been that there has been no unpleasant surprise.  Normally even with the best laid plans, "stuff" (you can insert the noun of your choice here) happens.  With the lessons learned in Europe we have a leg up on known issues.


Q:  From Scott:  First, how much does the SCR system weigh?  Secondly, you have mentioned in previous posts that you believe that the price of urea will be around 70% of diesel.  So assuming this to be true based on diesel being around $3.20 a gallon, the price of a gallon of urea will be about $2.24.  Currently, however, the price of urea is around $30.00 a gallon.  I understand basic economics, but I can't understand how the price is going to go from $30.00 to $2.24 over the next year and a half.  Can you explain how you are predicting urea will cost around 70% of diesel?

Thirdly, you have mentioned a little bit about distributing urea but nothing specific.  Has the SCR camp talked to companies like BP, Shell, Exxon, Flying J, Pilot, Road Ranger, and other companies to determine if they will be installing the infrastructure to support urea distribution?

Thanks.

A:  Scott...

The installed weight varies depending on model/chassis configuration, the DEF tank size and whether the SCR will be ordered horizontally or vertically.  We're seeing around 350 pounds average installed weight including the DEF.

I stand by my previous comments based on conversations I've had with DEF suppliers.  Please understand that these are approximations as of today -- but are a long way from what you say urea may cost you at $30.00 a gallon.

A 275 gallon tote today would sell for $700, which includes the $200 cost of the tote assembly.  So worst case scenario, I will not credit the cost of the tote and divide the entire $700 by 275 gallons, which equals $2.54 per US gallon.  You will have to add local taxes, so you may see something ~ $2.79 net.

We called a local high end car dealer and their AdBlue (DEF in our world) was retailing for $7.50 per HALF gallon.  So if my math serves me well, that is ~$15 a gallon from our German luxury car friends.

So where $30.00 a gallon for urea comes from, I just do not know.  Nor do I know even what type of urea we are discussing.  Regardless, it is not DEF.

All HDDE and Brand OE dealers will stock DEF.  Major truck stop and travel centers have agreed to supply DEF and are today in the process of installing distribution systems.

Scott, this is not the problem that I had anticipated just 6 months ago.  I thought the DEF distribution might be slow to grow.  This has not been the case.

Additionally, our testing has shown remarkable FE improvements right across the board (vocational and highway duty cycles) with SCR versus even our own US'07 certified product, which is very good on fuel.  The recent announcement from Columbus, IN merely reinforces what we have said all along -- SCR is "clearly" the right choice.  Something around 9 out of 10 HDDE sold post January 1, 2010 will be SCR.  This makes a very good business case for distribution.

Hopefully, this addresses all of your pricing and distribution concerns.


Q: From Erik:  Hey Dave.  As I understand it, one of the concerns for DEF use is the implementation of the infrastructure in the US.  I have two areas where I have questions:

1.  I am wondering what the experience was like in Europe.  Were there any supply issues?  Did distribution begin at fueling stations, through dealers, etc.?  Also, do they still use IBCs for dispensing and transporting DEF or have they moved into bulk transport and supply?

2.  How is the infrastructure shaping up in the US?  I know there are several travel centers (Pilot) which are going to have DEF pumps at many of their service stations.  Are they going to be installing dedicated pumps or more temporary IBCs with pumps attached?  Also how will the colder climate in the US change how DEF is stored and distributed?  Will it have to be placed inside or be heated?

Well, that ended up being a lot of questions, hopefully not too many.  Look forward to hearing back from you.

A:  Eric, these are good questions and all are pertinent to North America, so here goes...

There were no distribution and/or supply issues in the EU that I am aware of.  Within the EU, there was much more Federal involvement with the introduction of SCR technology, including DEF supply.  Substantial tax incentives were offered to operators to purchase the next level of emission-meeting vehicles ahead of the mandate.  This worked very well.  Since there was a monetary incentive to go clean early, there was an immediate and robust market demand for product.  Customers were using IBC's for product launch and then as demand increased, evolved into larger dispensing systems.  We have learned a valuable lesson from our friends across the pond in this regard -- be flexible in distribution planning, specifically the ability to quickly grow.  Start small with portability and then grow into more permanent dispensers when the need arises.

In North America, there is much more of an entrepreneurial market, meaning that if a profit can be realized, someone will address the supply.  As of today, all chassis OE dealers will carry DEF as a regular stocking item in the parts departments.  Initially, this will be available in amounts from a small 1 gallon jug to a 500 gallon IBC depending upon customer usage.  This is an easily scalable system, so as the consumption of DEF grows, so can the size/volume and type of dispenser.

Most truck stops and travel centers will carry DEF dispensed right at the fuel island via inground systems.  Flying J was the first major to announce their plan to retail DEF about 6 months ago.  Pilot is yet another major that has announced their plans.

The infrastructure looks good today.  As I said above, all OEM's and dealers will supply DEF via parts distribution.  I would not speculate on how the major truck stops and travel centers plan on launching DEF.  My thought is smaller centers will use IBC's and the larger centers will go straight to inground systems.

For colder climates, the DEF will need to be stored at or above 12 degrees F.  Whether that is inside, underground, and/or with a small heater will depend on location and the duration of 12 degree F ambients.  Remember, we will use DEF at a ratio of 100:3 diesel fuel to DEF, so the DEF consumption at the dispenser will be around 3% of the diesel volume -- meaning that small 1 gallon jug in the cab/sleeper alongside the windshield washer fluid will get you something between 216 and 245 miles!

Eric, hopefully I covered all the bases with the above.


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