2 July 2004

Following an initiative by the German Minister for Environment Juergen Trittin, the EU Environmental Council requested that the European Commission develops a proposal for new emission standards for particulates for diesel passenger cars by Fall of this year. The German request has found a broad support in the June 28th session of the Council in Luxembourg.

Trittin spoke, as he did on many occasions in the past, in support of diesel particulate filter technology: “This is a clear signal to act fast European-wide to resolve the fine particle problem. Using the particulate filter, 99% of the particulate emissions can be filtered out. This technique is ready to go into production, and has been already applied more than 500,000 times. This state of technology must be the basis for new regulatory limits.”

Future Euro 5 emission standards for light duty vehicles have been negotiated among stakeholders for several years, but no formal proposal has been yet produced. The regulatory agencies in Germany and several other European countries intend to legislate particulate filter forcing standards by adopting stringent PM mass limits and—for the first time ever—a particulate number emission limit. The position of the German Ministry for Environment was outlined in a white paper published in July 2003.

At the time of their adoption, the Euro 4 (2005) emission standards were believed to require particulate filters on diesel passenger cars. Progress in the diesel engine technology, however, made it possible to meet the Euro 4 PM limit (0.025 g/km) on most cars using advanced in-cylinder techniques and the diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC), without the need for a PM filter.

The Euro 5 proposal is expected to be accompanied by a proposal to strengthen the Euro V (2008) emission standards for heavy-duty engines. Similarly to the light-duty vehicle regulation, the Euro IV and Euro V standards were originally designed to force particulate filters on heavy-duty engines, but can be met today using a combination of engine and catalyst (DOC or urea-SCR) technologies.

Source: UBA [press release]