The Euro 6 Engine

There’s an article I came across recently, on the subject of the exhaust emissions legislation. It points out how diesel engines have – again – been the main target of these restrictions. But the article also covers some of what manufacturers have been doing to try and meet goals that may purposely have been nearly impossible to reach.

To start, I want to address the good in this. The new Euro 6 diesel engine meets the mandatory requirements imposed on September 1st, of 2015. This means that manufacturers were able to reduce the 2011 standard of 18mg/km to 8mg/km. That’s a reduction in pollution of far over half. Which is basically unheard of in pretty much any industry. This is good news for all of us. It proves that while petrol engined cars are not expected to be able to reduce emissions any further, that there’s enough progress still in diesel to exceed expectations. But only so long as it does not lead to any further reduction. I have a chilling feeling that any further legislation will only be written to walk diesel owners down a slippery plank. I mean, if that hasn’t already been the goal of competing industries all along.

Before I talk about implications for the future, though, I want to talk about how the NOx was dropped (and I looked into this extensively). A new, specialized tank on the Euro 6 diesel engine holds a compound of ammonia and C02. This compound is commonly known as deionized water. What the deionized water does, is – when injected into the exhaust – is convert NOx into water vapour and harmless nitrogen. Essentially, it kills pollution. And the compound that the Euro 6 engine uses, called ‘AdBlue’, provides this conversion at a staggering rate of 80% when injected with catalyst. I know it’s safe, too, because buses here have been using it to reduce pollution for years. You’d think this would be enough to get our cars out of the crosshairs of Parliament, now wouldn’t you? Well, that may not be the case. And this time, manufacturers aren’t the ones to blame. We are.

Though AdBlue is cheap (and exceptionally so), some aftermarket shops have been advertising openly a way to deactivate the pollution reduction systems. Essentially, people are being duped to pay for an illegal service to avoid paying approximately £25 pounds every 10,000 miles. What these aftermarket profiteers charge for isn’t just the product they’re selling, either. Installation is often an entirely separate fee. But the illegality and conceit of this service isn’t even the worst part. What’s so painful to see is that people will go out of their way to pay to pollute. We criticize industrial companies for practices like these, who pay minimal fines to pump exhaust into the air. Only, in our case, we’re doing so without the promise of profit. Paying for the removal of a system that asks only that we pay a small fee to do our part in reducing NOx is atrocious. And, not only that, it sends us further down the plank.

Consider this: if diesel manufacturers are forced to reduce emissions any further, we all suffer. Next time, there might not be an innovative solution in the form of something like AdBlue. What we’ll lose, instead, is efficiency. As old diesel engines break down and we adopt new models for work or transportation, under any further reduction we’ll find that standards have dropped. Limits will be placed on speed and power, decreasing the viability of diesel next to a petrol centric market. We can’t change where the crosshair lies. At least, not so long as stories about purposeful pollutants and aftermarket shops are hitting the news. But, if we can do our part to keep emissions down, maybe we can avoid entirely a fate where a diesel car runs like an electric.

That’s my opinion, anyway. Like I said, I’ll include a link to the original story below so that you all can make your own decisions on the subject. I’ll even throw in the AdBlue guide from Alphabet. There’s a lot of news coming out surrounding the topic of NOx emissions and those who act in disregard of pollution and its severe effect on air quality. But, I’m hoping that with enough factual information to discuss and consider, that we’ll all be able to move ahead and keep methods like those used to keep polluting in the past, with the guilt and regret that they carry.