Meeting emissions goals with multiple technologies

  • 18-Apr-2011 03:29 EDT

Pete Kohler, President and General Manager, BorgWarner Commercial Diesel Products

Around the world, emissions standards are getting tougher, posing an increasing challenge for nearly any company that produces a product with an engine and wheels. From cars to bulldozers, emissions regulations affect us all, and the trend will continue. At BorgWarner, we see this challenge as an opportunity to increase fuel economy and performance while improving the air we breathe.

For over 15 years, we have seen regulations tighten steadily and sometimes dramatically, as illustrated by recent Tier 4 standards that reduce commercial diesel NOx and particulate emissions by over 90%. The emerging challenge is CO2 reduction. Solutions require either low-carbon energy sources (such as natural gas, hydrogen, or electric), more efficient engines, or a combination of both. The upside of more efficient engines: These powertrains use less fuel and thus create less CO2. This is a bottom-line advantage desirable the world over, regardless of pending CO2 regulation.

BorgWarner develops advanced technologies specifically aimed at reducing emissions, increasing fuel economy, and improving performance. Our award-winning innovations extend from turbocharging and cooling systems to friction materials and diesel cold start technology. Built on a century-long reputation of innovation and reliability, we have the track record to prove that technology can help meet the challenges we all face while offering new benefits for the future.

To help meet Tier 4 emissions standards, BorgWarner uses its air management expertise to enable precise control of engine boost and exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) rates. Air management solutions include regulated two-stage (R2S), variable turbine geometry and wastegate turbocharging technologies used alone or in combination.

In addition to turbochargers, BorgWarner’s air-management systems feature heavy-duty actuators, EGR valves, and EGR coolers to help cool and control EGR rates, which is critical for NOx reduction. Many of these are built specifically for demanding off-highway environments, using durable materials and housings designed to withstand high temperatures and vibrational loading. In addition, our robust global turbocharger portfolio allows the flexible exchange of components to meet individual market needs while offering the engineering expertise needed to optimize performance.

As engines run hotter, cooling systems become a critical engine component. For example, BorgWarner’s electronically controlled Visctronic fan drive operates only when, and at the speed, needed. Because the fan drive responds directly to the engine’s cooling needs, average fan speed is lower. The result: more available power, better fuel economy, and lower noise, all with no maintenance.

As a leader in designing and producing wet friction materials for the automotive industry for more than 50 years, BorgWarner’s advanced friction technologies are gaining customers in the agricultural and construction market, where we anticipate more than 50% growth in the next five years. To address the specific performance requirements of these markets, BorgWarner developed new high-static coefficient friction materials that boost break-away characteristics, allowing the friction plate to hold higher torque without slipping. In addition to improving torque capacity, higher static materials reduce weight, which helps increase fuel economy.

BorgWarner’s diesel cold start technology, electronics, and sensors also improve fuel economy and reduce emissions. For instance, our pressure sensor glow plugs sense the cyclic and rapidly changing pressure in the combustion chamber and continuously transmit this information to engine control electronics. This helps avoid emissions when and where they are caused—during the combustion process—and allows engine designers to fine-tune combustion for optimal fuel economy.

BorgWarner is also pioneering new developments in phaser and concentric cam technology for diesel applications. Tests show substantial reductions in NOx emissions, with no loss of engine performance. This technology may help minimize or eliminate aftertreatment on some diesel engine applications.

Engineers face a maze of emissions regulations throughout the world. In some countries, standards are very specific and stringent. In a few, they don’t exist at all. Creating cost-efficient solutions requires global expertise with a local focus. With 59 operations and numerous technical centers around the world, BorgWarner employs global resources to meet individual market needs.

As off-highway engineers work to meet emissions standards, achieve performance expectations, and manage costs, they will need partners who can provide the next breakthrough innovation to help them reach their goals. BorgWarner’s technology focus on reducing emissions, increasing fuel economy, and improving performance can turn these challenges into opportunities.

Pete Kohler, President and General Manager, BorgWarner Commercial Diesel Products, wrote this article for SAE Off-Highway Engineering.

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