Monday, June 17, 2013

What do DPFs and your kitchen stove have in common?

During my years working in diesel emissions, I’ve come across some interesting relationships between myths - one of the most interesting between "self-cleaning" ovens and “maintenance-free" diesel particulate filters (DPFs).

By design, a DPF captures solid combustion byproducts within the exhaust stream – burning them off to clean itself when the DPF reaches a certain temperature for a specific time period. This burn-off (also known as DPF regeneration) is almost identical to a self-cleaning cycle for the stove in your kitchen.

But similar to your stove, burning-off creates remnant non-combustible ash that remains inside. Just like you still have to clean the ash out of the bottom of a "self-cleaning" oven, ash still needs to be manually removed from a "maintenance-free" DPF to keep it from eventually plugging-up.

While you usually only need to sweep the ash out of the bottom of your kitchen stove, cleaning a DPF is a much more elaborate operation. Inside a DPF, ash must typically be removed using a reverse flow of forced air to loosen and remove the ash, sometimes accompanied by addition heating in an oven to ensure thorough soot burn-off.

A few DPF manufacturers have tried to claim their DPFs are “maintenance-free”, with disappointing results – in some cases going so far as “de-listing” of their CARB verifications and being forced to change their designs.

As you evaluate DPFs during your CARB compliance process, I recommend approaching “maintenance-free” claims with a healthy dose of skepticism. And if you already own a “maintenance-free” DPF, you should still get it checked routinely for inevitable ash buildup, before it causes a problem.

While you’re at it, you may want to go home and check out that "self-cleaning" kitchen stove too.

As always, if you have questions about CARB compliant DPFs or CARB requirements, feel free to contact us via email or at 800-331-9247 (press 9).

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Enforcement of diesel regulations continues - CARB settles over $750,000 in fines so far in 2013

According to the CARB website, more than $750,000 in diesel emission-related fines have been settled in 2013, with more still pending settlement. CARB enforcement locations include:
  • CHP weigh stations
  • On-site visits to fleet facilities
  • California border crossings
  • Random roadside locations
Since January, more than 45 companies operating diesel-powered vehicles and equipment have settled their emissions violations with CARB - with an average settlement of almost $17,000.

In addition to the $750,000 in fines settled so far this year, over $2,000,000 in penalties were reported last year and it appears that CARB enforcement efforts will continue for diesel-powered fleets and equipment.

The enforcement efforts at CARB seem to get more stringent as time passes. Based on an official CARB enforcement letter: "non-compliance can result in a DMV registration block on your truck and/or having your vehicle impounded by CHP until it is in compliance."

If you are an equipment owner, this means you should approach your compliance process with a sense of urgency - otherwise your ability to even operate may be affected.

As we've mentioned previously in our emails, it is always a good practice to start your compliance process early, but now it can be crucial to ensuring that you can obtain a CARB compliant DPF in time for your CARB equipment deadline.

As such, I strongly urge you to initiate your CARB compliance process as soon as possible to ensure CARB-compliant DPFs are available to be installed on your equipment.

As always, if you have questions about CARB compliance deadlines, requirements or options to become CARB compliant, feel free to contact us via email or at 800-331-9247 (press 9).