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Diesel not dead, says Bosch, debuts drastically reduced NOx emissions technology

Bosch has revealed its new diesel technology which reduces NOx emissions to 10 times lower than 2020 limits without affecting power, fuel consumption or cost.

“THERE’S A future for diesel. Today, we want to put a stop, once and for all, to the debate about the demise of diesel technology.” said Bosch CEO Dr Volkmar Denner, speaking at the company’s annual press conference yesterday.

Bosch revealed its tweaks to existing diesel technology, confirming no new componentry is needed, reduces harmful NOx emissions down to 10 times lower than strict emission levels set to come into force in 2020.

“Bosch engineers have succeeded in getting NOx emissions down to one-tenth of the legally permitted limit. On average, test vehicles equipped with the enhanced technology already emit no more than 13 milligrams of NOx per kilometer, or far less than the 120 milligrams that will be permitted after 2020, Denner said.

“There’s a future for diesel. It will remain integral to tomorrow’s mobility solutions.”

Even during stop-start urban driving, Bosch said its test vehicles achieved 40 miligrams of NOx per kilometre. The reason urban driving is higher, according to Bosch, is because the technology requires the exhaust gases to be hotter than 200-degrees C and that this temperature is often not reached during stop-start traffic. The new thermal management system Bosch has developed aims to remedy that by actively regulating the exhaust gas temperature.

“Equipped with the latest Bosch technology, diesel vehicles will be classed as low-emission vehicles and yet remain affordable,” Denner said.

Bosch reveals new diesel technology

Bosch engineers, Denner said, have achieved this breakthrough over the past few months via a combination of advanced fuel-injection technology, a newly developed air management system, and intelligent temperature management has made such low readings possible. NOx emissions, Denner added, can now remain below the legally permitted level in all driving situations, irrespective of whether the vehicle is driven dynamically or slowly, in freezing conditions or in summer temperatures, on the freeway or in congested city traffic. “Diesel will remain an option in urban traffic, whether drivers are tradespeople or commuters,” Denner said.

Indeed, Denner went on to say, he believes the diesel engine still hasn’t realised its full development potential saying it will use artificial intelligence to build on the tweaks it presented. Bosch believes it can tweak diesel engines to produce no emissions, beyond CO2. In the short-term, Denner said he’d challenged Bosch engineers to develop a diesel engine that produced no significant particulate or NOx emissions.

“We firmly believe that the diesel engine will continue to play an important role in the options for future mobility. Until electromobility breaks through to the mass market, we will still need these highly efficient combustion engines,” Denner said

The Bosch boss also called on agencies and car makers to mandate real-world emissions and fuel consumption testing of new vehicles, but also of the emissions created in the production of the vehicle.

“We need a transparent assessment of the overall CO2 emissions produced by road traffic, including not only the emissions of the vehicles themselves but also the emissions caused by the production of the fuel or electricity used to power them,” Denner said.

Bosch reveals new diesel technology

Bosch doesn’t talk about what customers will take up the new technology, simply saying that it’s working with a number of OEMs. It said its technology is available for use now and won’t increase the cost of a diesel engine as all of the components are already used in the construction of a diesel engine.

Here’s how Bosch describes its new diesel technology:

“To date, two factors have hindered the reduction of NOx emissions in diesel vehicles. The first of these is driving style. The technological solution developed by Bosch is a highly responsive air-flow management system for the engine.

“A dynamic driving style demands an equally dynamic recirculation of exhaust gases. This can be achieved with the use of a RDE-optimized turbocharger that reacts more quickly than conventional turbochargers. Thanks to a combination of high- and low-pressure exhaust-gas recirculation, the air-flow management system becomes even more flexible. This means drivers can drive off at speed without a spike in emissions.

“Equally important is the influence of temperature. To ensure optimum NOx conversion, the exhaust gases must be hotter than 200 degrees Celsius. In urban driving, vehicles frequently fail to reach this temperature. Bosch has therefore opted for a sophisticated thermal management system for the diesel engine. This actively regulates the exhaust-gas temperature, thereby ensuring that the exhaust system stays hot enough to function within a stable temperature range and that emissions remain at a low level.”

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3 years ago

I love my diesel VW, and I hope if Bosch has this perfected, VW will reconsider resurrecting their TDI program, which sounds like it could truly be “clean diesel” rather than a software tweak to change performance when on an emissions check dyno.

Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober