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How has SCR changed trucking?

Australia has become more environmentally conscious over the past few years, especially as we have gained the tools and technology to understand how we are impacting the earth. In particular, one issue that has come under the spotlight is the matter of vehicle emissions.

While cars, motorcycles and trucks help transport goods and people where they need to go, they can also contribute significantly to environmental damage through the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

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What do we know about motor vehicle emissions?

Emissions from motor vehicles contribute to two specific air pollution problems - photochemical smog (as ozone) and fine particles. Ozone is the main element in photochemical smog, which is formed when sunlight comes into contact with certain chemical compounds.

Particle pollution tends to be visible as a brown haze, which can sometimes be seen during the colder months. In Sydney, motor vehicles have been shown to have a larger impact on air quality than other emission sources (including off-road transport options such as planes, trains and ships). According to the RMS, motor vehicles make up 70 per cent of NOx (oxides of nitrogen) emission sources and 52 per cent of VOC (volatile organic compounds) emission sources.

Between 1990 and 2007, emissions resulting from road transport increased by 26.1 per cent to 14.2 million tonnes. In 2007 alone, road transport resulted in 68.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

To combat the effects, regulatory authorities have implemented tougher vehicle emission standards. These were put into place for all new vehicles starting from the 1970s, and over the years the government has tightened the restrictions considerably.

The Australian Design Rules (ADR) cover emissions requirements for both light and heavy duty vehicles. Currently, the ADR for exhaust emissions in from trucks is ADR 80/03, which is mandatory for trucks built after January 1, 2011.

To comply with this standard, many truck companies have elected to turn to Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) systems in the exhaust.

How can SCR help trucking?

SCR is a specific technology that can help light to heavy duty trucks reduce their emissions to near zero levels. It is known to be a scientifically proven and cost-effective solution for companies seeking to comply with emissions legislation without limiting horsepower.

It is especially valuable in engines using higher rates of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) for NOx control. Instead of implementing this process in the combustion process, SCR is used to control NOx emissions in the exhaust - helping diesel engines achieve greater fuel efficiency.

As a result, SCR is beneficial in more ways than one. It provides improved fuel efficiency and better performance and leads to cooler running engines and a longer engine and ancillary life.

SCR technology allows NOx reduction reactions to occur within an oxidising atmosphere. It uses ammonia as a reductant within a catalyst system to reduce levels of NOx. This leads to a conversion process where pollutants are turned into nitrogen, water and relatively small amounts of carbon dioxide.

The ammonia is typically sourced from automotive-grade urea or diesel exhaust fluid, which can easily be used to create ammonia within the exhaust stream.

Thanks to the effectiveness of the technology, SCR has become a mandatory component in many commercial trucking fleets. In 2011, for example, Mack Trucks introduced SCR as its latest emissions solution. It is also the dominant emissions control technology used for heavy-duty trucks in Europe.

Complying with emissions standards is crucial for any truck driver or commercial trucking company, but it's also important to cover yourself in other areas as well. Ctp insurance provides compensation for third parties killed or injured in a motor vehicle accident, including motorcycles, buses and trucks.