Regulations, ranging from the 2015 Paris Agreement’s wide ranging guidelines to mandates on nonroad vehicles, have all aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
But as Ken Hunter, founder and CEO of Hunter Ultrasonics, points out, the measures to reduce pollution exclude a key part of the process regular, thorough cleaning of engine filters.
Diesel vehicle owners, operators and manufactures should call on governments around the globe to not just require Diesel Particulate Filters (DPFs) on all diesel engines, but also provide guidance on proper maintenance and cleaning of those filters in all future standards.
However, while the goal of reducing ash, soot and particulate emissions is well intentioned, these filters can become clogged and burning off this buildup puts more pollution back in the air than the filter prevented in the first place.
If governments really want a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, their enforcement standards should be clear on the importance of proactive, preventive DPF cleaning.
Proper cleaning of DPF filters
Currently, when DPF filters get clogged, the engine shuts down, rendering it inoperable.
It has to shut down to go through a cleaning process called active regeneration that involves ramping up the engine, dowsing the exhaust system with raw fuel, and bringing the temperature up to nearly 1500°C for 20-45 minutes in order to burn off the particulates.
This cleaning method defeats the emission reduction benefits of using the filter in the first place.
Active regeneration is inefficient and should not be the preferred method for cleaning DPF filters. It puts more pollutants into the air, costs more in fuel to complete the burn off and results in lost productivity.
Addressing proper cleaning of DPF filters in future enforcement standards can help the environment and save operators money.
Truly a Global issue
Construction is booming in so many regions around the world, as is the reliance on diesel engines. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in developing nations and urban city centers where vehicles have shorter trips with frequents starts and stops. Filters get clogged more often and active regeneration is increasingly used.
It is an issue that some governments, environmental agencies and equipment operators have recognized.
Several countries including the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom have introduced regulations aimed at reducing diesel engine emissions, but omitting guidelines on proper maintenance and cleaning could result in failing to meet the emission reduction goals.
A Better Way: Ultrasonic Cleaning
The ultrasonic cleaning of DPFs on a regular, proactive basis is a better way than relying on active regeneration.
In the ultrasonic cleaning process, the DPF is removed from the vehicle and placed in a patent-pending cleaning system in a custom-designed Ultrasonic tank. It is then submerged in an environmentally friendly water-based solution which provides a deep, more thorough cleaning.