Archive for the ‘diesel’ Category

SAC website shows new diesel standard

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

The Standardization Administration of China is now listing a new automobile diesel fuel standard on its website. The standard, GB 19147-2009, is shown with an Issuance Date of 6/12/2009 and an Execute (Implementation) Date of 1/1/2010:

new diesel standard

In May of this year, the State Council announced that a new diesel fuel quality standard would be mandated by 2010, but no date was given. This SAC notice may be our first indication that China intends to implement China III quality diesel fuel (350ppm sulfur content) nationwide on January 1st.

Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find a full version of the standard; it seems unusual that the text of a (theoretically) issued standard is not available. Let’s not celebrate until we read the full text, but if China does in fact mandate nationwide 350ppm sulfur diesel fuel at the beginning of next year, this is a huge win for air quality and the introduction of more advanced diesel emission control technologies.

state council announces new diesel fuel quality standards

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Yesterday, China’s State Council announced the “Petrochemical Industry Restructuring and Revitalization Plan” (Chinese only) which mandates nationwide China III quality gasoline fuel by 2009 and nationwide China III diesel fuel by 2010 (2009年车用汽油全部达到国Ⅲ标准,2010年车用柴油全部达到国Ⅲ标准). The announcement also says that any fuels not meeting these standards may not be sold into the marketplace (严格执行油品质量标准,严禁达不到国家规定标准的油品进入市场) after the implementation dates.

As far as I can tell, for gasoline fuels, this announcement merely confirms existing standards and implementation dates. However, for diesel fuel, this is a big deal, due to implications on the timeline for improving diesel fuel quality.

The specific issue I’m referencing here is fuel sulfur content. Lowering fuel sulfur content is critical for reducing vehicle emissions and allowing implementation of advanced vehicle emission control technologies. (Sorry I don’t have time to write more on this right now; some background in this post.)

The China III fuel quality targets for sulfur content are 150ppm for gasoline and 350ppm for diesel. Although the timeline for reducing gasoline sulfur content to 150ppm has been fixed for some time (by GB17930-2006), there was, until now, no confirmation of the timeline for reducing nationwide diesel sulfur content to 350ppm. As such, this represents a concrete and important step towards the desulfurization of China’s motor fuel.

More analysis / commentary to come, and a link to the final standard when it is formally released (as opposed to just being announced by the State Council). For those of you who want to keep track at home, I’ve recently discovered that you can search planned and upcoming standards on SAC’s home page, by clicking on the 国家标准计划查询 link. In this case, searching for 车用柴油 will show you standard plan 20075424-T-469, which is in the 报批阶段, or final draft for approval, stage.

Lastly, here’s a table, as far as I understand the current situation, showing nationwide fuel sulfur content in China:

sulfur content

highlights from BAQ2008 – ICCT and diesel emissions

Friday, November 28th, 2008

This is the third in a series of posts noting some random highlights from the BAQ2008 conference. Here I’d like to feature a few great slides I saw presented by Dr. Anup Bandivadekar of the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). (Side note: Dr. Bandivadekar is the lead author of MIT’s “On the Road in 2035: Reducing Transportation’s Petroleum Consumption and GHG Emissions.“)

The presentation I heard by him was called “Diesel Passenger Cars: Safeguarding Air Quality and the Global Climate in a Shifting Market.

The presentation begins with an introduction to the “diesel dilemma,” which I will briefly summarize as follows: diesels are more efficient than gasoline vehicles (therefore are better for energy security / CO2 emissions reductions), but pollute more, especially NOx and PM (therefore are worse for air quality). Certain areas of the world (most notably Europe and countries which have followed Europe’s precedent) have promoted diesels for the former reason by subsidizing the cost of diesel fuel and setting higher emission limits for diesel vehicles as compared with gasoline vehicles.

As diesel engine technology and emissions control systems improve, though, there is a growing call to eliminate any special policy treatment afforded to diesels, and instead adopt “technology neutral” environmental standards. (Note: the US and Japan’s technology neutral standards are one reason diesel passenger vehicles have not had large penetration in those markets.)

Indeed, Dr. Bandivadekar’s conclusion states:

Diesels don’t have to be the problem…

The trade-off between air pollution and GHG reduction is artificial — solution lies in strict, technology-neutral emission standards

But there are two additional key points that Dr. Bandivadekar makes that I want to feature.

The first is that low sulfur diesel fuel is required if advanced diesel emission control systems are to be installed on vehicles. His presentation features an excellent slide showing graphically the PM reduction potential vs. diesel fuel sulfur content:

ICCT ulsd

As standards become more and more stringent, it is critical that fuels and vehicles be treated as a system, especially with regard to sulfur content. Unfortunately, however, many Asian nations still have extremely high sulfur content in their fuels:

ICCT asia sulfur

This high sulfur content in many areas, including China outside of Beijing (this point to be expanded on in another post), is a major limiting factor to the introduction of cleanest technology diesel vehicles.

Another fascinating point that Dr. Bandivadekar raised is that greenhouse gas emissions from diesel vehicles are more than just CO2. Incomplete diesel combustion also results in the emission of “black carbon,” another powerful contributor to global warming. When considering total greenhouse gas emissions, diesels only have an advantage over gasoline when black carbon emissions are controlled:

ICCT diesel GHG

(In the above slide, “DPF” refers to “diesel particulate filter,” an emissions control device that requires low sulfur fuel to operate properly.)

Therefore, the need for immediate implementation of low sulfur diesel fuel and advanced diesel emission control technology is supported from both air pollution and greenhouse gas reduction perspectives.

Lastly, I’m posting up one of Dr. Bandivadekar’s first slides, the ICCT’s excellent Bellagio Principles:

ICCT bellagio