Robert Bosch GmbH claims its engineers have developed a new diesel-exhaust system that drastically cuts down emissions, bringing them much lower than the threshold stipulated by emissions norms that will kick in come 2020. The technology can help automakers avoid imminent production bans that threaten to kill off the diesel engine.“This breakthrough offers the opportunity to shift the heated debate over diesel into new territory and, hopefully, bring it to a close,” Bosch CEO Volkmar Denner said Wednesday at a press conference outside Stuttgart. Ever since the 2015 Volkswagen emissions scandal, market share of diesel-driven cars has been rapidly diminishing. Bosch, being a major supplier of diesel technology to automotive giants like VAG, General Motors, and FCA, is putting up an active fight against this very occurrence.
On the one hand, big cities like London and Paris are increasingly taking a narrow view of diesel vehicles plying their city streets and the general mood is to shift to cleaner or alternative fuel. On the other hand, tens of thousands of jobs hinge on diesel technology, which makes phasing it out a truly messy affair. Additionally, automakers have mostly relied on diesel to help the industry meet CO2 emissions limits. But while diesel engines emit less CO2 than their petrol counterparts, they also give off nitrogen oxides which are a chief contributor to smog in most big cities.
Bosch’s new method optimises the thermal management of exhaust temperatures, thereby reducing nitrogen oxide emissions to one-tenth of the legally permitted limit. The process doesn’t require new hardware and keeps emissions stable even at cold temperatures.
“With this new exhaust technology, blanket driving bans in the centres of the world’s major cities will no longer be an issue. Why? Because we now have the technology to resolve the problem of nitrogen oxides in road traffic,” Denner said.
With most governments tightening the noose around old-fashioned oil-burning vehicles, Bosch’s breakthrough comes across as a breath of fresh air that will give diesels a few more years of action before the curtain falls on the fossil fuel theatre forever.