German UBA in support of particulate filter technology
4 September 2001
A long term emission durability test of a particulate filter-equipped Peugeot 607 HDi passenger car has been completed by the Allgemeine Deutsche Automobilclub (ADAC - the German Automobile Club) and the Umweltbundesamt (UBA - the German Federal Environmental Agency). The particulate filter was found to function reliably over the 80,000 km long test. Emission tests conducted after the 80,000 km shown that the particulate filter removed over 99.9% of the fine diesel particles. The UBA said, the Peugeot 607 HDi tested emitted on average 10,000 times fewer particles than a comparable vehicle without particle filter.
Commenting on the tests, the UBA expressed its strong support for diesel particulate filter technology. “There can be no more excuses. The particle filter also functions over extended periods. The extra costs for the filter in series production are virtually undetectable for the customer. The automobile industry should grasp the opportunity and finally address the health risk of diesel soot from diesel passenger cars by equipping the latest models with particle filters or equally effective technology,” said Andreas Troge, president of the UBA.
Peugeot 607 HDi is the first modern car equipped with a particle filter as standard equipment. The filter is regenerated through the use of cerium fuel additive and a sophisticated management strategy of the common-rail engine. PSA brought the Peugeot model to the German market in early 2000.
According to the UBA, the major issue in diesel particulate emissions are fine and ultra fine particles. The UBA expressed the following views on diesel emissions:
- The magnitude of the ultra fine particle emissions problem has been underestimated. The smaller the particles, the greater the effects on health are. The smaller particles penetrate deep into the lungs, where they cause infections which not only damage the respiratory system but also strain the heart and blood circulation. There seems to be no lower limit to the concentration of fine particles and their adverse effects on health.
- There is much controversy amongst scientists about whether diesel soot causes cancer. Recent studies support the suspicion that the risk of lung cancer is increased in work environments with an exposure to diesel soot. Also a comparison between gasoline and diesel engines indicates that contemporary diesel engines have a ten times higher potential to cause cancer than equivalent gasoline engines. Particle filters ensure that the difference between the health effects of diesel and gasoline engine exhaust gases become insignificant.
- Even when equipped with a particle filter, the diesel engine retains one flaw compared to gasoline engines. Current models still emit eight to ten times more NOx, which contributes to summer smog and related health effects. The German government is putting pressure on the European Union to ensure that diesel engines are subject to the same NOx limits as the gasoline engine in the forthcoming EURO 5 emissions legislation.
Due to the improvements in diesel engine technology over the last decades, the diesel passenger car is becoming increasingly popular. The proportion of new diesel passenger car registrations has been continuously increasing. In the period from January to May 2001, every third car sold in Germany was fueled by diesel.
The UBA also said, it would support other control technologies, provided their particle number reductions are comparable to those demonstrated by particulate filters, which set the standard in particle number reductions. Troge also reminded that attention should not only be directed towards the passenger car; trucks and other diesel powered commercial vehicles should also be equipped with a filter or equivalent technology as soon as possible.
Under current European regulations, diesel particulate emissions in both light- and heavy-duty engines are regulated by mass, not by particle numbers. Introduction of particle number related standards, in addition to the mass limits, is likely in the forthcoming EU regulations.