Navistar changing exhaust technology for 2013

Navistar today announced plans to use a new diesel emissions technology for its MaxxForce 13- and 15-liter engines that now rely solely on exhaust gas recirculation.

The new after-treatment technology is called In-Cylinder Technology Plus (ICT+), said Dan Ustian, Navistar chairman, president and CEO, during a conference call. No specifics were given on the technology, and Navistar took no questions during the call.

Based on its brief description during the call, ICT+ sounds similar to the selective catalytic reduction emissions systems used by all of Navistar’s heavy-duty engine competitors in the United States. However, in slides accompanying the presentation, Navistar went to pains to present ICT+ as distinctly different from “liquid-based after-treatment” systems. SCR uses urea-based diesel exhaust fluid. According to Steve Schrier, media relations director for Navistar, ICT+ combines the “best attributes” of the company’s current EGR solution with a urea-based treatment system to reduce emissions.”

Navistar’s MaxxForce 13- and 15-liter engines will use ICT+ beginning early next year.

Navistar took advantage of banked emissions credits from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to work on its EGR-only solution past the Jan. 1, 2010 EPA deadline. However, those efforts failed to deliver a compliant engine and the company’s bank of emissions credits is reported to be dwindling rapidly.

A federal appeals court on June 12 rejected EPA’s ruling that allowed Navistar to sell heavy-duty diesel engines that don’t meet the agency’s 2010 emissions standards limiting the amount of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) in diesel exhaust.

An interim final rule (IFR) issued in January allowed Navistar to pay fines and continue to sell the noncompliant engines. Mack Trucks and Volvo Group North America then sued EPA over the IFR, arguing, among other things, that the agency had failed to give adequate notice and opportunity for comment.

With the new technology, “we have a high degree confidence in the certainty of approval by the EPA,” said Troy Clarke, newly appointed president of Navistar’s truck and engine business. “Based on what we’ve seen so far with new technology, we’re excited. We are looking at key to meeting EPA’s 2014 and 2017 Greenhouse Gas standards early.”

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Clarke – who is reported to be working hard to mend fences with the EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) – said both agencies were “encouraged and supportive” of the company’s new emissions approach. “We will manage this transition using both EPA credits and Non-compliance Penalties in some states,” Clarke added. “And we have been assured by both EPA and CARB that we will have more detailed discussions with them regarding our solutions.” Schrier added that Navistar will continue to produce “compliant” engines for the remainder of this year, based on remaining credits and NCPs.