Always a step ahead
Due to global warming, the guidelines for the emissions of hydrocarbons by vehicle engines are becoming increasingly strict. This also applies to fuel tanks as well. California was the leader in this regard. In 1990, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) developed a program for the introduction of low emission vehicles (LEV). In this incremental program, cars and light trucks are being gradually replaced with vehicles that more closely approximate the goal of the zero emission vehicle which does not release any exhaust emissions or hydrocarbons.
Under the terms of this regulation, vehicles manufactured in 1996 or later must meet LEV I standards – and vehicles manufactured in 2004 or later must meet a more stringent set of regulations called LEV II. Since vehicles with combustion engines are not emission-free, automotive manufacturers were given the opportunity to fulfill part of the ZEV requirements by developing a category of vehicle called a Partial Zero Emission Vehicle (PZEV). The PZEV program set the emission thresholds for hydrocarbons at a constant 0.35 g/24h over a vehicle service life of 15 years, starting with vehicles manufactured in 2005.
With our strong technology, we have been ahead of the game in developing solutions to meet the requirements of the California Air Resources Board. For LEV I, we introduced on the market a multilayer tank in co-extrusion technology back in the year 1994. This technology has been continuously improved since so that it now fulfills even the more strict LEV II requirements. And in 2005, we were the first to successfully master the challenge of creating a plastic fuel tank for a PZEV vehicle.
Additional challenges for future fuel systems have been tested and implemented: Tanks with increased pressure stability for hybrid vehicles, successfully introduced in the United States in 2013, the use of ethanol fuels (E5, E10), further restrictions on emissions in California and other U.S. states (LEV III) with E10 fuel starting in 2014.
The U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) will assume the low limit values determined by California law from 2017 on. Additional countries in the world are also expected to assume the low limit values in the coming years.
We have already developed solutions to meet these challenges (NGFS) and will continue to refine them so that plastic tanks will remain successful in the future.
Emission standards include a reduction of nitrogen oxide (NOx) in exhaust, especially in vehicles with a diesel engine (Euro V, Euro VI).
For this purpose, an aqueous urea solution (known as AdBlue® in Europe) is sprayed into the exhaust system and reduced so that NOx becomes nitrogen and water. Kautex provides tank systems for numerous diesel vehicles for this "SCR " technology.
Dr.-Ing. Ulrich Karsch