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Conference report: 2011 SAE Congress

23 April 2011

This year’s SAE Congress, held on April 12-14 in Detroit, continued to use the new format adopted last year, with a three-day condensed schedule and 20-minute presentations. In addition to the technical paper presentations, there were numerous oral-only open forums, keynote talks and various “chats with experts”. While the technical level of the conference was high and the meeting rooms were full during several of the engine and emission sessions, the exhibition accompanying the Congress remained downsized, not yet recovered from the economic recession.

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The diesel exhaust emission control sessions started with a keynote talk by Tim Johnson of Corning [2011-01-0304] that reviewed changes affecting diesel exhaust emissions control. The major regulatory challenges that will drive engine development in the coming years include the LEV III emission standards for light-duty vehicles being developed in California (it is believed that these will be followed by US federal Tier 3 standards) and CO2/fuel economy regulations for light- and heavy-duty vehicles worldwide. The technical topics covered included engine developments, NOx control, PM control and hydrocarbon and CO control. Manufacturers are focusing on optimization and cost reduction of their emission systems. This includes a growing effort to downsize or eliminate aftertreatment. For example, the Skyactive-D engine under development by Mazda targets Tier 2 Bin 5 emissions without NOx aftertreatment and several nonroad manufacturers intend to meet Tier 4 standards without the use of diesel particulate filters (DPF).

The LEV III standards are believed to eventually require an NMOG+NOx fleet average equivalent to the SULEV or the federal Tier 2 Bin 2 certification level. This presents a challenge for both gasoline and diesel emission control systems, especially during the cold start phase. In developing their diesel engines marketed under the BlueTec badge, Daimler considers three LEV III approaches: (1) a passive NOx adsorber + DPF + SCR, (2) a close-coupled SCR-on-DPF device or (3) a system utilizing an electrically heated catalyst + DPF + SCR [2011-01-0294].

NOx Aftertreatment. Most papers on NOx aftertreatment focused on urea-SCR—a technology that allows for a fuel efficient engine calibration to provide simultaneous reductions of NOx, PM and CO2 emissions. Some of the highlights in urea-SCR sessions included:

Conference website: www.sae.org/congress