High levels of particulate emissions from Diesel engines, in tunnel construction sites, force the aftertreatment of exhaust gases with particulate traps. Sub-micron particulates are suspected to be carcinogenic. Hence, the size distribution of particulates was compared for different particulate trap systems. The two extreme types are the ceramic monolith surface filter and the typical deep-bed filter of knitted fiber. These two types have distinctly different properties. The gravimetric evaluation of both systems show comparable efficiencies around 90%. If, instead, the particle count is evaluated: the efficiency of the surface filter drops below 70%, whereas that of the deep-bed filter increases. The spectral analysis of distinct solid particulates shows that the efficiency of the surface filter deteriorates for particles smaller than 100 nm. The toxicological consequences are disquieting.
Most particulate traps efficiently retain soot of diesel engine exhaust but the potential hazard to form secondary emissions has to be controlled. The Diesel Particle Filter (DPF) regeneration is mainly supported by metal additives or metallic coatings. Certain noble or transition metals can support the formation of toxic secondary emissions such as Dioxins, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH), Nitro-PAH or other volatile components. Furthermore, particulate trap associated with additive metals can penetrate through the filter system or coating metals can be released from coated systems. The VERT test procedure was especially developed to assess the potential risks of a formation of secondary pollutants in the trap. The present study gives an overview to the VERT test procedure. Aspects of suitability of different fuel additives and coating metals will be discussed and examples of trap and additive induced formation of toxic secondary emissions will be presented.
Particulate traps are mechanical devices for trapping soot, ash and mineral particles, to curtail emissions from Diesel engines. The filtration effectiveness of traps can be defined, independent of the pertinent engine, as a function of the particle size, space velocity and operating temperature. This method of assessment lowers cost of certifying traps for large-scale retrofitting projects [1,2]. VERT  is a joint project of several European environmental and occupational health agencies. The project established a trap-verification protocol that adapts industrial filtration standards  to include the influence of soot burden and trap regeneration phenomena. Moreover, it verifies possible catalytic effects from coating substrates and deposited catalytic active material from engine wear or fuel/ lubricant additives.
1 The VERT project aimed at curtailing the construction site diesel emissions of ultra-fine particles to 1% of the raw emissions. Thus, compliance with occupational health legislation should be achieved. Particulate traps have attained this target. In contrast, engine tuning, reformulated fuels and oxidation catalytic converters are almost ineffective. This paper reports on the concluding project stage in which 10 traps were field tested during 2 years. Subsequent detailed measurements confirmed the excellent results: > 99% filtration rate was achieved in the nano-particulate range. The PAH, too, were very efficiently eliminated. Trap deployment becomes therefore imperative to fulfill VERT-targets.
Increasing concern, about the health risk due to solid aerosols from engine combustion, has provoked more stringent imission limits, for soot particles in the range of pulmonary intrusion, at critical work-places (e.g. tunnel sites, see Table 1). Within the scope of the joint European project VERT, these emissions were characterized and their effective curtailment through exhaust gas after-treatment investigated. Diesel engines, irrespective of design and operating point, emit solid particulates in the range of 100 nm, at concentrations above 10 million particulates per cm3. Engine tests showed that a drastic curtailment of pulmonary intruding particulates seems not feasible by further development of the engine combustion, nor by reformulation of fuels, nor by deployment of oxidation catalytic converters. Particulate traps, however, can curtail the total solid particulate count, in the fine particulate range 15-500 nm, by more than two orders of magnitude.
1 Occupational Health Authorities in Germany and Switzerland require the use of particulate traps (PT) on construction machines used in underground and in tunneling since 1994. Swiss EPA has extended this requirement 1998 to all construction sites which are in or close to cities. During the VERT*-project, [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]**, traps systems were evaluated for this purpose and only those providing efficiencies over 95% for ultrafine particles < 200 nm have received official recommendation. 10 trap-systems are very popular now for these application, most of them for retrofitting existing engines. Efficiency data will be given as well as experience during a 2-years authority-controlled field test. LIEBHERR, producing their own Diesel engines in Switzerland and construction machines in Germany is the first company worldwide supplying particulate traps as OEM-feature (Original Equipment Manufacturing) on customers request.
1 Switzerland is enforcing the use of particulate traps for offroad applications like construction as well as for occupational health applications like tunneling. This decision is based on the results of the VERT-project (1994-1999), which included basic aerosol research, bench screening and field testing of promising solutions as well as the development of implementation tools like trap specification, certification scheems and field control measures. On the other hand there is no corresponding regulation for city-buses yet although PM 10 is about 2× above limit in most Swiss cities. Public pressure however is growing and city transport authorities have reacted by retrofitting Diesel city-buses instead of waiting for cleaner engine technology or CNG-conversions. The favored trap system with about 200 retrofits so far is the CRT.
New Diesel exhaust gas aftertreatment systems, with combined DPF*) and deNOx (mostly SCR) systems represent a very important step towards zero emission Diesel fleet. These combined systems are already offered today by several suppliers for retrofitting of HD vehicles. Reliable quality standards for those quite complex systems are urgently needed to enable decisions of several authorities. The present report informs about the international network project VERT *) dePN (de-activation, de-contamination, disposal of particles and NOx), which was started in Nov. 2006 with the objective to introduce the SCR-, or combined DPF+SCR-systems in the VERT verification procedure. Examples of results for some of the investigated systems are given. These investigations included parameters, which are important for the VERT quality testing: besides the regulated gaseous emissions several unregulated components such as NH3, NO2 and N2O were measured.
A modern HD-Diesel engine for construction machines, Liebherr D 934L (120kW) was set-up for a monofuel operation with crude, cold pressed rapeseed oil (ROR)*). The engine was equipped with a supplementary fuel filtration, supplementary engine & fuel heating for cold start and an appropriate fuel temperature control for the engine operation. A special lube oil was applied. After an extensive basic research of emissions including nanoparticles and energy consumption some adaptations of engine setting were performed: modification of the camshaft to eliminate the internal EGR (same valve timing and lift), earlier start of injection (SOI) at high- and full load, application of a combined exhaust gas aftertreatment system DPF+SCR, testing of DPF+SCR according to the VERT quality verification procedure.
There is growing concern about the risk potential of Diesel particulates. This prompted two Swiss R&D projects focused on the capabilities of different soot trap concepts for filtering finest particulates. Eight different filter media, some in numerous variants, were tested on four different Diesel engines. All traps attained their gravimetric target. However, there are noticeable performance differences for finest particulates at or smaller than 50 nm. Fiber deep filters seem to be noticeably better than other filter types. If the carcinogens are mainly the finest particulates, then this criterion may become important in future trap evaluation.
Diesel engines are irreplaceable in tunnel construction. The particulate emissions of present day engines are so high that the imission limits valid since 1991 cannot be attained by ventilation alone. This problem had to be solved preparatory to the large tunnel projects in Switzerland, Austria and Germany. Several retro-fitting measures were investigated both in the laboratory and in field tests, within the scope of the Project VERT. Oxidation catalytic converters, exhaust gas recirculation, and the usage of special fuels cannot be recommended. Particulate trap deployment, in different systems, was mostly successful. Particular attention was focused on the dependable filtration of finest particulates < 200 nm. The VERT proved that exhaust gas after-treatment with particulate traps is feasible, cost effective and controllable in the field. Pertinent directives are in discussion.
Vegetable oils blended to Diesel fuel are becoming popular. Economic, ecological and even political reasons are cited to decrease dependence on mineral oil and improve CO2 balance. The chemical composition of these bio fuels is different from mineral fuel, having less carbon and much more oxygen. Hence, internal combustion of Diesel + RME (Rapeseed Methyl Ester) blends was tested with particular focus on nanoparticle emissions, particle filtration characteristics and PAH-emissions. Fuel economy and emissions of bus engines were investigated in traffic, on a test-rig during standardized cycles, and on the chassis dynamometer. Fuel compositions were varied from standard EN 590 Diesel with <50 ppm sulfur to RME blends of 15, 30, and 50%. Also 100 % RME was tested on the test-rig. Emissions were compared with and without CRT traps. The PAH profiles of PM were determined. Particles were counted and analyzed for size, surface, and composition, using SMPS, PAS, DC and Coulometry.
1 Small off-road 4-stroke SI-engines have extraordinarily high pollutant emissions. These must be curtailed to comply with the new Swiss clean air act LRV 98. The Swiss environmental protection agency (BUWAL) investigated the state of the technology. The aim was a cleaner agricultural walk behind mower with a 10kW 4-stroke SI-engine. Two engine designs were compared: side-valve and OHV. A commercially available 3-way catalytic converter system substantially curtailed emissions: In the ISO 8178 G test-cycle-average, HC was minimized to 8% and CO to 5% of raw emissions. At part load points, the residual emission was < 1%. Simultaneously, fuel consumption improved 10%. Using a special gasoline (Swiss standard SN 181 163), the aromatic hydrocarbons were curtailed, e.g. Benzene < 1%, and fuel consumption further improved. Those results were confirmed in field tests. The engine is approved for retrofitting.
A well balanced use of alternative fuels is an important objective for a sustainable development of individual transportation worldwide. Several countries have objectives to substitute a part of the energy of traffic by ethanol as the renewable energy source. Investigations of limited and unregulated emissions of two 2-S scooters with gasoline-ethanol blend fuels have been performed in the present work according to the measuring procedures, which were established in the previous research in the Swiss Scooter Network (since 2000). The investigated fuels contained ethanol (E), in the portion of 5, 10, 15 and 20% by volume. The investigated 2-S scooters represented a newer and an older 2-stroke technology with carburettor. The newer one was investigated with and without catalyst and the older one only in the original state without catalyst.
Four of these Particulate Reduction Systems (PMS) were tested on a passenger car and one of them on a HDV. Expectation of the research team was that they would reach at least a PM-reduction of 30% under all realistic operating conditions. The standard German filter test procedure for PMS was performed but moreover, the response to various operating conditions was tested including worst case situations. Besides the legislated CO, NOx and PM exhaust-gas emissions, also the particle count and NO2 were measured. The best filtration efficiency with one PMS was indeed 63%. However, under critical but realistic conditions filtration of 3 of 4 PMS was measured substantially lower than the expected 30 %, depending on operating conditions and prior history, and could even completely fail. Scatter between repeated cycles was very large and results were not reproducible. Even worse, with all 4 PMS deposited soot, stored in these systems during light load operation was intermittently blown-off.