SCR versus EGR: What's the right choice for the rail industry?

Today, there are two core technologies to reduce emissions within the rail industry: Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) and Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR). But how do you know which is the right technology for your customers?

A quick internet search for “SCR vs. EGR” will return more than two million results from various sources, but what does it all mean? For decades, people have been debating the merits of each technology, arguing over which is better. We’d argue, however, that the question you should be asking is this: Which technology is right for your customers?

In this article, we’ll provide a clear and practical explanation for SCR and EGR technology in the rail industry.

First, a little background on the SCR vs. EGR technology debate.

EGR or SCR for the rail industry
A mix of technologies - from electronics and controls to aftertreatment sytems - are used in the race towards near-zero NOx engine emissions. 

Emission regulations for engines used in heavy-duty applications - from on-road vehicles to locomotives - started in the 1990s and became more stringent in the 2000s. Locomotive manufacturers were able to meet these emission regulations without the use of exhaust gas aftertreatment technologies in most applications. On the other hand, heavy-duty on-road engine manufacturers had to meet more stringent regulations compared to railway locomotives. 

In the 2010s, as emission regulations got more stringent, several heavy-duty on-road engine manufacturers needed to use a combination of SCR and EGR technologies to achieve the required emission levels. For the rail industry, where most applications require the use of larger engines, several engine manufacturers had to choose between SCR or EGR to meet the new emission regulations. This was the beginning of the debate between SCR and EGR technologies. 

A Better Question: What is the right emission reduction technology for your customers? 

From rail operators to locomotive manufacturers, rail industry players have needs unique to their business models and markets served. Instead of making the technology choice the starting point, we have outlined three use cases and the right aftertreatment technology.   

When running hours and fuel consumption makes the engine efficiency an important parameter

Challenge: As regulations require pollutant emissions deceased, engine manufacturers could adjust engine parameters to partially lower the emission of pollutants.

Combustion temperature is one of these parameters, however, a lower combustion temperature reduces NOx emission yet increases fuel consumption. For rail operators focusing on improving fleet utilization, increased fuel consumption could negatively impact their financials and worsen their environmental impact. 

Opportunity: Rail operators can optimize engine combustion for higher fuel efficiency and choose to reduce NOx separately through SCR, since SCR is a solution external to the engine. Given the high proportion of fuel costs in rail operators’ overall running costs, rail operators would likely offset the additional cost of diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) over time through the fuel consumption savings.

When reliability matters, and you want to build upon an already reliable engine

Challenge: Engine manufacturers have the option to introduce varying levels of engine design changes to meet the more stringent emission regulations. For locomotive manufacturers, any extensive change in engine design raises the question of engine reliability. This concern is further amplified for engines, such as the Cummins QSK50 and QSK60, which have proven their reliability over many applications and millions of hours of usage.

Opportunity: Locomotive manufacturers could lower the risk of adversely impacting engine reliability by choosing engines that didn’t go through significant architectural design changes and new part introductions from an engineering perspective. SCR technology helps the engine meet emission regulations with limited architectural design changes in an engine’s combustion chamber.   

When a high degree of commonality helps you create a financial edge through operational savings

Challenge: As emission regulations vary across regions, locomotive manufacturers and rail operators face a dual challenge: offering products that are fit for local needs, while increasing their financial performance. 

Opportunity: Use of SCR technology would likely allow locomotive manufacturers to have higher commonality across variations within a given engine platform. This offers financial and operational benefits. For instance, rail operators managing a fleet with higher engine commonality will benefit from common service methodologies while managing fewer parts. 

“We expect the locomotive manufacturers and rail operators using engines with SCR technology today to be better positioned in the near future when the emission regulations get more stringent. Today’s SCR technology is well suited to meet future emission regulations with less interventions, positioning users of SCR technology a step ahead of users with other emissions technologies,” says Miranda Cross, Global Rail Account Manager of Cummins Power Systems.

Bottom line, it is important to evaluate your customers’ key needs and use cases before making the technology decisions. For customers with the above three use cases, SCR offers a combination of financial and environmental benefits, including greenhouse gas reduction, while also helping locomotive manufacturers and rail operators meet unique local needs.   

To learn more about trends and technologies in rail industry follow Cummins  on Facebook and LinkedIn. To learn more about rail power solutions Cummins offers, visit our webpage. 

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Aytek Yuksel - Cummins Inc

Aytek Yuksel

Aytek Yuksel is the Content Marketing Leader for Cummins Inc., with a focus on Power Systems markets. Aytek joined the Company in 2008. Since then, he has worked in several marketing roles and now brings you the learnings from our key markets ranging from industrial to residential markets. Aytek lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and two kids.

California’s natural gas trucks went carbon negative in 2020

Cummins Renewable Natural Gas - California

Vehicles in California powered by renewable natural gas (RNG) removed more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than they emitted for the first time in 2020, a direct result of the continued drop in carbon intensity of renewable natural gas. 

Adoption of RNG in trucks, buses and other vehicles grew 25% across the state from 2019 to 2020, and RNG use is up more than 170% in the past five years, according to new data from California's Air Resources Board (CARB). 

Meanwhile, the carbon intensity of natural gas derived from renewable sources continues to drop. RNG is increasingly made using methane captured from agricultural waste, landfills and wastewater treatment plants. By capturing gases that may otherwise be released into the atmosphere, RNG can even deliver sub-zero carbon emissions. 

Ninety-two percent of all on-road fuel used in natural gas vehicles in California last year was renewable natural gas.  

"This verified data means California's trucks and buses leave a zero-carbon footprint while virtually eliminating criteria pollutant emissions that contribute to asthma, heart disease, and poor air quality,” said Dan Gage, President of NGVAmerica

In addition to their negative greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, ultra-low NOx natural gas engines perform at levels that are 95 percent below the federal nitrogen oxide (NOx) standard and 98 percent below the federal particulate matter (PM 2.5) standard. 

According to NGVAmerica, RNG used as a motor fuel in California in 2020 displaced 1.83 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). To put those numbers into perspective, California RNG motor fuel use: 

  • lowered greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent amount generated by driving the average passenger car 4.6 billion miles
  • eliminated CO2 emissions, equal to 205.7 million gallons of gasoline consumed, or the energy use of 220,118 California homes in one year
  • sequestered the amount of carbon captured by 2.24 million acres of U.S. forests in one year 

The success of RNG in California is part of a broader trend happening across the United States. According to The Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas, 53% of all on-road natural gas fuel used in 2020 was RNG. Increased availability in RNG has led large nationwide fleets like UPS and Amazon to make significant investments in the number of natural gas powered trucks in their fleet.  

Natural gas vehicles fit seamlessly into current transportation, people and goods movement models because they don’t require radical changes in vehicle technology, transportation infrastructure or support networks. 

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Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Repowering your boat? Start with these five considerations

Repowering your boat? Start with these five considerations

Repowering your boat or entire fleet is an important decision, and a decision you will live with for a long time. These repowering decisions could deliver improved financials and customer satisfaction for your business, in addition to enhanced performance and efficiency for your vessel. 

For the best results for your business, consider all aspects of repowering before making your final choice.

To help you with this, we have compiled the five repowering considerations below for you and everyone else in the marine industry. Whether the boat is used for fishing, towing, ferrying or pleasure, these considerations will help narrow down the repowering options that you should consider. 

We also recommend you reach out to your local Cummins Inc. marine expert if you want to discuss these further.   

Identify the goals of re-powering your boat 

The first and most critical step is to clarify what your goals are in repowering your boat. 

Start with the mission of the vessel. A ferry boat or water taxi that carries commuters or tourists may benefit from reduced noise and vibration. Meanwhile, a trawler or seiner that generates revenue through fishing could value performance and durability over weight.

Often, fleet owners and captains look for one or a combination of the following outcomes from repowering. Check these out and determine which of these are your primary goals. 

Considerations while repowering your boat

 Reducing the emission of pollutants:

  • The need to reduce engine emissions is often the key driver for repowering boats. This need could be driven by new emission regulations or emerging customer, owner or governmental demands. 

Improving fuel economy:

  • Offers dual benefits of a reduced environmental footprint and lower cost. Improved fuel economy and a lower total cost of ownership is often a key goal of repower for commercial vessels ranging from tugs to fishing boats. 

Increasing cruise speed:

  • A common repower goal for vessels that generate revenue by shuttling back and forth on a route. These could be passenger ferries, commuter boats, offshore support vessels and beyond. 

Reducing noise and vibration:

  • For boats that have people as their primary source of income, providing a comfortable and quiet ride is key. Operators of water taxis, dinner cruises, tour boats, crew boats and river cruises can turn reduced noise and vibration into quantifiable financial gains. 

Increasing reliability:

  • This is a common repower goal among different types of vessels. For commercial vessels, the financial cost of downtime makes reliability an important consideration during repowers. If a boat is on the hard or in port waiting on parts or a service technician, it is not making money. In addition, minimizing the unplanned nature of downtimes is another goal of repowers, especially during a time when constrained supply chains could result in longer lead times for parts needed.

Better total cost of ownership (TCO):

  • For many commercial vessels, this is a key consideration during a repower. Things that factor into TCO include the upfront price of the engine, fuel economy as mentioned above, midlife service, and parts pricing.

This is a long list, but it is very important to think through the primary goals of your repower early on. Having this clarity will help you make better choices in the upcoming steps of repower process.

Engine emission considerations while repowering your boat

We all want to have less impact on our planet and leave a cleaner environment for our children. 

Reducing engine emissions also has economic benefits for many boats. Customers of a whale watching tour or passenger ferry often wouldn’t mind paying extra for being on a boat with lower environmental impact. Reducing environmental impact is also good for business reputation. 

Let’s look at two of the important emission aspects while repowering your boat: 

1. Compliance with emission regulations:

Most often when your vessel is under EPA regulations, you can repower your boat using an engine that has an equivalent or better emission level with the engine being replaced. Meanwhile, emission compliance often has local aspects depending upon the local regulations you face. You can contact a Cummins Inc. repower expert to discuss the unique requirements for your need. 

2. Geographies your vessel will operate:

Emission requirements for ships often change among different geographies, including different ports. If your ship is operating across geographies with differing emission regulations, then your ship needs to comply with each of them, independent of where it is built. This need to comply with different emission regulations will impact your repower choices.

Selecting mechanical or electronic engines while repowering your boat

Engines with mechanical or electronic controls is a very common decision boat owners face during a repower. This is a frequent choice as many boats that are approaching an overhaul still have mechanical engines. There is a good reason for it; Cummins marine diesel engines have long and productive lives. For example, Seaspan Cavalier got close to 60,000 hours of operation without ever removing a head.

“Boat operators loved the mechanical engines due to simplicity in troubleshooting and ease of working with simple tools like a screwdriver,” says Brian Pinkstaff, Marine Market Leader - Cummins Sales and Service, North America. “Meanwhile, today’s modern electronic engines are more self-sufficient. A combination of sensors and displays make it much easier for the captain or the crew to monitor the engine performance. There is not much to adjust with these electronic engines, giving more time to focus on the operation of the vessel,” adds Brian.

Electronic engines bring a long list of advantages over their mechanical counterparts. Here are three of these advantages: 

Improved power density:

Engines with electronic controls are often smaller than their mechanical counterparts while producing the same or higher power output. This favorably impacts both the space claim and weight of the engine. The smaller displacement also often results in lower fuel consumption for electronic engines. 

Improved torque:

Engines with electronic controls can continuously change the fuel injection rate based on the load. This improves the engine’s ability to respond to changing load demands. This means the boat operator can benefit from the higher torque produced by the electronically controlled engine. 

Reduced noise and vibration:

Electronic engines can also operate at lower speeds than mechanical engines. This is thanks to the ability to control the injection events mentioned above. As a result, electronic engines create less noise and vibration for those onboard. This is especially critical when the ships mission is to carry people. 

Mechanical engines also have their unique use cases. They could be the right solution if you prefer not to make any additional work in your vessel and need to swing a new engine and go.  

Physical fit while repowering your boat

Boats have expertly designed engine rooms with high precision. It becomes the ultimate challenge if your new engine has significant physical differences than the existing engine or if you need to add an aftertreatment. 

“Start with checking the space available for the new engine. Newer engines often produce the same power output using less space. Then determine whether you are replacing any of the other components such as transmissions, air intake systems and beyond,” says Cedric Merveillaud, Director of Cummins Marine Europe. “Then review the weight differences, as this could impact the overall performance and stability of the boat. Finally check for differences in noise generated by the engine and power system. Engines with electronic controls often help on the noise and vibration front,” adds Cedric. 

The need to be within these physical parameters will likely help you eliminate several options. This will make it easier to choose the right repower solution.

Partner with the right company to repower your boat

Repowering a boat is easier said than done. There are lots of parameters covered above to work with while repowering a boat. To ensure repowering goes as smooth as possible, it is critical to partner with the right company. 

By partnering with a company like Cummins, that has a strong marine heritage dating back to the company’s start in 1919, you are signing-up for peace-of-mind. The right partner can help you through vessel surveys, sub-system analysis and decisions around whether to re-use various power system components. 

As you consider different partners and system integrators for repower, also check out four topics mariners should consider while evaluating partners. 

Repowering your boat doesn’t need to be a stressful decision. The considerations outlined above will get you started in your thinking. Meanwhile, your unique situation likely requires more in-depth discussions. The next step is to have a discussion with a partner local to you, with a deeper understanding of your business.

To learn more about marine power solutions Cummins offers, visit our webpage.

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Aytek Yuksel - Cummins Inc

Aytek Yuksel

Aytek Yuksel is the Content Marketing Leader for Cummins Inc., with a focus on Power Systems markets. Aytek joined the Company in 2008. Since then, he has worked in several marketing roles and now brings you the learnings from our key markets ranging from industrial to residential markets. Aytek lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and two kids.

How to reap the benefits of a lightweight engine

How to reap the benefits of a lightweight engine

Power-to-weight equals more than just productivity

Operating vocational trucks is all about getting the job done as reliably, quickly and productively as possible. Nailing the power-to-weight ratio on the sweet spot can have a major impact on not just your equipment’s productivity but its longevity and your bottom line as well. There are a number of factors that come into play when spec’ing a vocational vehicle that help ensure that performance capability matches the duty cycle and jobsite conditions. It starts with choosing an engine that has the ideal power-to-weight ratio and pairing it with the correct transmission and tires, based on the most demanding aspects of its operating usage. 

Weighing In 

Regardless of whether you are spec’ing a dump, refuse truck, mixer or bulk hauler, there are substantial advantages to using a lighter-weight engine – provided it has sufficient power. In applications which typically gross out, a lighter weight engine gives you the opportunity to carry more payload (equal to the weight savings). Less weight on the front axle also reduces stress and wear over time, reducing maintenance costs. The weight savings/increased payload can be as much as 630 lbs. per trip in a vehicle, when switching from a Cummins ISX12 to a 2021 X12™. 

Productivity Pays 

Having the right spec with a lighter engine pays big dividends, regardless of the business you are in or the type of vocational vehicles in your fleet. For instance: 

Refuse – A lighter engine with the proper spec can accelerate faster between stops and carry more waste, potentially resulting in greater coverage per vehicle on its daily routes. Depending on the size of the municipality being served, it could reduce both the number of vehicles and manpower needed for total coverage. It can also save money at landfills where there is a per-vehicle charge in addition to the cost of the waste being dumped. 

Mixers – The key is to spec the vehicle at maximum load, making sure that it adheres to local load limits for highways, bridges and roadways throughout the area. Some mixers have three drive axles, to help provide the traction needed to negotiate muddy, difficult worksites with steep inclines. 

Dump Trucks – Similar to mixers, construction dumps can have highly variable load weights and taxing work environments. For increased equipment longevity, operators should be trained in proper loading (between the axles with the initial loading, moving over the axles at the end). 

Bulk Haulers – Tractor trailers are a different configuration and have greater flexibility with regards to load distribution. The fifth wheel can be shifted forward to put more weight on the drive axle, or back to put greater load on the rear axles. When spec’ing the tractor, you can often choose a smaller displacement engine (such as a 12-liter rather than a 13-liter), which will allow for a shorter frame rail and wheelbase measured as BBC. The combined weight savings can be as much as 1,000 lbs. in the front end, and an equivalent increase in payload while staying under the 80,000-lb GVW limit. (The typical load pattern for a tractor trailer is 12K steer axle, 34K tandem axle and 34K trailer). 

Additional Considerations

When spec’ing a vocational vehicle, it is critical to take into consideration seasonal additions like a snowplow attachment, pumps, or any feature that requires an extended front bumper or puts extra weight on the drive axle. When spec’ing an engine for weight savings, it is critical to choose a horsepower/torque rating that meets the highest regular power demand in your duty cycle, and to pair it with an appropriate transmission, ensuring that you get the highest productivity, exceptional reliability and longevity plus driver-pleasing performance. All at a reduced powertrain weight. Cummins PowerSpec can guide you through the entire process

Hard Working Engines for The Hardest Working Trucks 

From landscaper’s dump trucks to bulk transport trailers, Cummins engines offer exceptional productivity and the highest power-to-weight ratios in the industry. All three of these engines are offered in natural gas-fueled versions as well as the industry-leading diesels that are listed below. For assistance choosing the right specification for your operation, contact your local dealer or visit our dealer locator page to find one

Cummins B6.7 (200-360 hp) – Covers more Class 6-7 truck power requirements than any other diesel on market. 

Cummins L9 (260-380 hp) – The highest power density in its class plus replaceable wet cylinder liners for ease of overhaul and extended lifespan. 

Cummins X12 (350-500 hp) – The highest power-to-weight ratio of any 10- to 16-liter diesel engine, period.

Leslie Nix

Leslie Nix is a Senior Communications Specialist for Cummins Inc. Leslie joined the Company in 2011 as a college hire after graduating with her Bachelors of Arts in Journalism from Indiana University.

China oil and gas team revered for reliable products and exceptional service

Daqing

Daqing Drilling Wellservice Engineering Company attends Cummins’ Oil and Gas end-of-year seminar to share their elation with their product and service experience

The oil and gas industry is known for its high expectations around uptime. The resource being harvested and the applications that are doing the work are too valuable to sit idle for extended periods of time. Cummins Oil and Gas team prides itself on being able to support this dire need for reliability, by delivering solutions and service that ensure customers can stay on schedule. 

At the yearly customer seminar, there was one corporation in particular that had many things to say about their satisfaction with the Cummins Oil and Gas team’s ability to keep their products up and running. Daqing Drilling Wellservice Engineering Company (Daqing) shared a proud voice about their Cummins experience thanks to a relationship that has been thriving since 2013.

Previously supported by an alternative engine manufacturer, Daqing is a subsidiary of the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), which is one of the largest energy groups in the world. When their communication began with Cummins Inc., it became clear this customer needed dependable products and service support resembling a partnership – not a transaction. The fulfillment of this need has led to a flourishing and forward-looking relationship for Daqing and Cummins.

Over the years, the Cummins Oil and Gas team has provided one QSX15, four QSNT units and 12 QSK60 and QSM11 engines. Exciting projects are expected to hit the field in 2021 as well. Primarily used for fracking trucks and blenders, Yongchang Qiu from Daqing had the following comments to share about their Cummins product experience:

As an end user representative, I am sincerely happy that the frac equipment of the OEMs has applied the latest advanced technology and equipment. Reliability and durability have been continuously strengthened, and the equipment can be used at ease, maintenance is worry-free, and service is attentive.

After several years of usage, the performance and reliability of Cummins engines have been widely recognized by our company. Compared with other engine brands, Cummins’ engine has low noise, stable operation, high reliability, compact structure and light weight advantages. It is very suitable for high-power engine-driven fracking trucks.

Cummins not only provides high quality products, but also attentive service. For oil and gas fields site fracking operation, it is very important to have timely follow-up for service and parts. In order to support us, Cummins assigned specialized on-site service personnel in all major oil and gas production areas in China, which truly provides 24/7 service for our projects.

Cummins is honored to support Daqing Drilling Wellservice Engineering Company and is passionate about continuing to find efficiencies to improve their solutions. One of the major efforts by Cummins to aid Daqing’s initiatives was to extend the oil change period to optimize time and resources. Upon receiving the request, Cummins Oil and Gas team’s application engineers and sales team completed testing, and took action to provide a mutually efficient solution.

At the end of the day, Cummins is here to help manage customer fleets and create the best business environment for customers. The China oil and gas team has seen great success with Daqing and is looking forward to continuing a valuable relationship in the future. A partnership that prioritizes reliability, service and efficiency will continue to be positioned for longevity and prosperity. 
 

Daqing Drilling Wellservice Engineering Company
Katie Yoder - Cummins Inc.

Katie Yoder

Katie Yoder is a Marketing Communications Specialist. She joined Cummins in 2018 as a member of the trade show operations team, but now supports the Marine and Oil & Gas segments’ marketing initiatives. As a University of Wisconsin alumna, Katie spends her free time watching Badger sports.

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