You’re busy. And, on top of that, the news moves fast today. So it’s easy to miss things.
Which is why I want to direct your attention back to a press conference I attended outside of San Francisco a few weeks back.
At the Chevron Technology Center in Richmond, California, the lubricant manufacturer showed the trucking press a brand new engine oil it says reduces the ash created by the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) in 2010 and newer diesel engines by up to 60%.
This, in my estimation, is the single biggest game-changer in terms of new products or technology that I have personally come across this year.
EGR is simply a process that redirects diesel exhaust gas back into the combustion chamber to burn out toxic nitrous oxides before they can be emitted into the atmosphere.
There’s a problem with this technology, however: Diesel oils use various metals in additive packages that help scrub metal surfaces inside an engine, among other functions. As these trace metals find their way into the exhaust gas, they too get burned up. We’re talking minute amounts of metal here. But over time, they accumulate in the diesel particulate filter downstream (DPF) downstream in the exhaust system. Over time – usually around the 1 million mile point – the soot and ash from these burned up metals build up in the DPF causing all sorts of performance issues with the truck. Replacing a DPF can cost a fleet up to $7,000, Chevron says. And even routine DPF maintenance procedures cost fleets downtime and typically cost around $1,000.00.
Which is why the potential to increase those maintenance intervals by 60% is a major development. If DPF maintenance intervals suddenly jump to 1.6 million miles, then, depending on your equipment cycles, exhaust systems could return to being mostly hands-off components for a large number of fleets.
Moreover, the design implications for next-generation trucks and engines are huge as well. OEMs that spec the new Chevron Delo 600 ADF oil will be able to put smaller and lighter DPF on their truck designs, freeing up real estate on the chassis while reducing overall GVW.
I talk a lot about technology in my Truck Tech blog. And usually I’m running on about robots, or electric trucks, voice commands in the cab or something flashy like that. But this new Chevron engine oil is a timely reminder that technology is advancing on every front today. And that includes more mundane, but vital, products like tires, oils, greases and lighting.
If there’s a way to improve the performance of something going onto or into a new truck, you can bet there’s somebody out there looking to make it happen. I often say that technology will eventually change everything about trucking today. This latest news from Chevron proves that point.