Reducing Vehicle Emissions

5 July 2006

To protect the environment and keep the air quality as clean as possible, over the past decade exhaust emissions regulations worldwide have been strengthened considerably and will continue to be tightened. Manufacturers making heavy diesel vehicles that comply with recent European Standards are now demanding that NZ have guidelines in place, to enable them to safely adopt one of the competing technologies to ensure they keep their emissions low.

One technology widely adopted by European truck makers to reduce the amount of harmful emissions is “selective catalyst reduction” – where a measured amount of a high grade of urea is squirted into the diesel vehicle’s exhaust system, as part of a chemical treatment.

The Ministry of Transport are sponsoring a project to adopt two key ISO documents in this area to guarantee the quality of the urea that will be needed:

“The adoption of these documents will meet the increasing need for policies and testing procedures, to minimise diesel vehicle emission levels,” says David Crawford, Group Manager Environment for the Ministry of Transport. “The on-board computer technology that monitors these vehicles will actually shut the engine down if the wrong grade of urea is used. The disruption to drivers from using a non-standard product could therefore be significant.”

“We appreciate Standards NZ’s willingness to work with us in this new sector and their ability to progress the adoption of these documents in a relatively short time-frame,” says David. “The voluntary use of the PAS documents will help producers and retailers of urea (normally used as fertiliser), along with heavy vehicle drivers and fleet owners, to reduce environmental impacts. This will achieve optimal engine operation and efficiency for drivers, who will know that the product they put into their vehicles is of the correct standard.”

The documents are in the format of Publicly Available Specifications (PAS), which are a precursor to a future Standard. A PAS document is used whilst there is still discussion and development amongst stakeholders. Once finalised at the end of this year, the adopted PAS documents will be labelled NZS ISO PAS 22241-1 and NZS ISO PAS 22241-2.

Users of the documents will be able to obtain the correctly specified urea, which will minimise emissions and increase engine efficiency. Urea providers and relevant organisations that wish to run tests will gain a clear understanding of the specifications for use in heavy diesel vehicles.

For more information about the adoption of the Diesel vehicle emissions documents, please contact Warren Ditty-Smith, phone 04 498 3981.