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Euro 7 under scrutiny and Hydrogen ICE’s recognised as guaranteed route to decarbonisation.

By April 5, 2023 No Comments

European transport news has moved quickly in recent months.

Following a push from the German automotive industry, policies are now accepting e-fuels as part of the fleet decarbonisation plan for the EU. This decision has not been accepted by all EU countries, but it does encourage a more flexible approach to reducing transport emissions.

With the roll out of electrification for cars and small vehicles by 2030/2035 still raising questions about infrastructure and energy availability, the Euro 7 standards are now the latest transport news to come under scrutiny.

Euro 7 standards brings emission constraints for all motor vehicles under a single set of regulations.

The regulations are fuel- and technology-neutral, establishing the same restrictions regardless of whether the vehicle uses petrol, diesel, electric drivetrains, or alternative fuels.

Nitrous-oxide (NOx) emissions for petrol engines will remain the same according to Euro 7 allowing them to emit up to 60mg/km. Diesel engines will also be restricted to that level. Current Euro 6 rules allow diesels to emit up to 80mg/km of NOx. Restrictions will also be tightened for lorries and buses, while there will also be limits for previously unregulated pollutants, such as NOx emissions from heavy-duty vehicles. (1)

The European Commission’s proposal is scheduled to come into force on July 1, 2025, for new light-duty vehicles and July 1, 2027, for new heavy-duty vehicles.

The proposed regulations also set constraints for particulate emissions from brakes and tyres. This regulation will also apply to electric vehicles.

However, the pollutant emissions are complementary to the rules on CO2 emissions. Euro 7 recognises the agreed target for 100% CO2 reduction by 2035 for cars and has allegedly taken this into account.

Iveco Group’s CEO Gerrit Marx disagrees and during a recent interview with “Sole 24 Ore” has said that the regulation as currently drafted by the EU is “technically unfeasible” and “The effort to get there huge with no real payback,”. (2)

Alongside the expectation of pollutant emissions and CO2 reductions proposed in Euro 7, additional regulations proposed by the EU Commission recommends tougher CO2 limits for heavy goods vehicles, requiring new trucks to cut emissions by 90% by 2040 and all new city buses to have zero emissions from 2030. (2)

Marx said if truck and bus makers have to reduce emissions so sharply to meet that legislation, it does not make sense to also have Euro 7 rules imposing tight limits on current engines, requiring sizeable investments, in the short term. (2)

“On our commercial vehicle side, what is not correct is to give us such a tight Euro 7 and at the same time very tight CO2 (regulation),” he said. (2)

Marx echoed what a considerable part of the automotive industry are saying and that although it was reasonable that in the long term the era of combustion engines would come to an end, the way the regulations are being forced upon the industry is “not correct”.

However, on the topic of hydrogen Marx recognised its importance in the decarbonisation of the heavy-duty sector saying “it represents the only way to ensure emission levels such as to guarantee a real decarbonisation of transport. This approach is very encouraging for the Iveco Group because we have the skills of Fpt and we develop engines for medium-heavy commercial vehicles. And as a Group we are engaged in the development of a hydrogen engine for trucks”. (3)

Hydrogen has long been accepted in Europe as a partner in the decarbonisation of transport. Therefore, it was no surprise that on the 27th of March 23 EU nations agreed to install hydrogen fuelling stations in all major cities and every 200km along core routes.

The agreement sees EU states agree to build hydrogen fuelling stations in all major cities and at least every 200km along the core Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T).

This opening up of the Hydrogen network in Europe allows automotive developers more flexibility in their approach to decarbonisation and can open up more options for Hydrogen Combustion engines in the future.

The recognition of Hydrogen combustion as a key element to reducing emissions in the heavy-duty sector is a significant shift in the drive towards net-zero and highlights the need for a blended approach to the decarbonisation of the transport sector.

The Dolphin N2 Recuperated Split Cycle Engine specifically targeting the heavy-duty sector is now part of the Hydrogen future.

The Dolphin N2 technology was showcased at the recent Future Propulsion Conference, UK as part of the Combustion (incl Hydrogen) seminar. Nick Owen – Technical Director, Dolphin N2 explored the topic “Clean, efficient off-highway power with a Split Cycle Hydrogen Engine”.

Written by Katy Mason for and on behalf of Dolphin N2