Air Quality

What commercial low emission vehicles can deliver lifestyle needs to our cities?

By June 4, 2019 No Comments

As Oslo becomes the latest city to ban cars, we ask the question, what commercial vehicle choices can continue to deliver lifestyle needs to our cities?

With the ever growing need for cites to clean up their air & polluted air quality being cited as a contributor to premature deaths globally; many cities are moving to electrification, ULEZ’s & in some cases, banning cars & combustion engine vehicles all together.

These initiatives may be  a vital component for the health of the human inhabitants of said cities & for the wider global impact but it gives rise to a question; how do commercial companies deliver life necessities to inner cities without the use of haulage, trains or in some cases, shipping channels? & furthermore, how does the building trade manage to receive the vast building materials, without the delivery power of a combustion engine vehicle?

On the 1st January 2016 the 17 Sustainable Development Goals agreed as part of the 2015 Paris Agreement, came in to force. These 17 SDG’s came into force to address the need for the planet to reduce the rise of global temperatures.

The SDG’s cover a wide selection of topics & are designed to enable every single human to live a safe, healthy & sustainable life free of tyranny & poverty.

SGD 11 comes under the title Sustainable Cities and Communities & it’s purpose is to ‘Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable’ (1) The premise of the SDG’s is to enable & encourage Governments to focus on the priorities for human & ecological health & well being. Part of SDG 11 remit states:

  • As of 2016, 90% of urban dwellers have been breathing unsafe air, resulting in 4.2 million deaths due to ambient air pollution. More than half of the global urban population were exposed to air pollution levels at least 2.5 times higher than the safety standard. (1)

With this considerably bleak view of the pollution issue & with emissions from traditional diesel & liquid fuel commercial vehicles being contributory to 6% of the global Co2 emissions; SDG 11 sets out clear objectives & goals for Paris Agreement signatories to attain to:

  • By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons
  • By 2030, reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management (1)

Driving down global emissions is a gigantic task. However, we are all contributory to the problem & therefore can become part of the solution.

Driving hybrid or EV vehicles can in the inner cities, dramatically reduce emissions & Co2 pollution. Using public transport, Ultra Low Emissions Zone’s, ‘Greening’ & ‘Rewilding’ projects & simply being more mindful of the carbon footprint we are leaving; has dramatically affected entire nations to take climate action. However, therein lies the rub. If we are tackling our commercial vehicular emissions from the inside out, how will we still maintain & manage our delivery & logistics systems, to supply food, building materials & lifestyle necessities into our inner cities, with so many barriers in place to prevent traditional commercial vehicles from doing their job?

It is no secret that investment in ecologically sound technology & rewilding programmes has received a vast amount of public interest & recognition recently. Only a few weeks ago, some of the UK’s leading academics, penned an open letter to some of the UK’s Billionaires & Charitable organisations, seeking their philanthropic investment in an ecologically sound future. The question has to be asked, what is wealth worth, when there is no planet left to enjoy or pursue it?

However, there are Government funded projects which are receiving some essential funding to spearhead their ecologically transformative technologies, with Innovate UK being one of them.

InnovateUK are part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) which is the national funding agency investing in science and research in the UK. Operating across the whole of the UK with a combined budget of more than £6 billion, UKRI brings together the 7 Research Councils, Innovate UK and Research England. (2)

One of the companies benefiting from Innovate UK funding is Dolphin N2 who have developed their CryoPower split cycle diesel engine using funding raised & a £4.8m InnovateUK grant previously won.

In the Dolphin N2 written evidence submitted to the Science and Technology Committee in January 2019, the submission not only recognised that ‘transport has recently grown and is now the largest CO2 emitting Sector at 28% of the UK inventory.’ (3) but that ‘The Clean Growth Strategy has identified the Shift to Low Carbon Transport as a priority, and in context of growing the UK economy commercial Transport will only deploy technologies that are operationally and financially viable, almost exclusively those that use liquid fuels, demanding increased efficiency of thermal propulsion systems and decarbonisation of fuel.’ (3)

Therefore, what makes the Dolphin N2 CryoPower split cycle diesel engine design so unique & how does the CryoPower technology help resolve the air pollution & commercial vehicular logistics dilemma, cities are seeking to resolve?

The revolutionary step is to separate the “cold” and “hot” parts of the traditional internal combustion engine so that each can be separately insulated.  The cold compression cylinder delivers air to the hot combustion cylinder via a heat exchanger or ” recuperator ” that transfers energy from the hot cylinder exhaust, considered waste in a conventional engine, to the intake air.  The combustion process was described in a paper delivered to leading international academics (4) as a lower temperature oxidation process akin to that in a fuel cell rather than a combustion process that occurs at higher temperatures. the result Is that the negative by products of combustion – Nox and particulates are avoided at source meaning that this system can achieve at least SULEV and potentially lower using known “SCR” (Urea-based) after-treatment.

The Dolphin N2 CryoPower split-cycle engine not only offers up to 90% less out emissions, but the operator & manufacturing costs are highly competitive. With up to 20-30% reduction in operator costs & fuel consumption, alongside the comparatively inexpensive materials & processes; the Dolphin N2 CryoPower technology really is an attractive environmentally sensitive & game-changing global product.

The Dolphin N2 technology, which is already being sought after by shipping & haulage companies alike, can still rely on liquid fuel & combustion engines. As Professor Morgan of the University of Brighton stated at the APC ‘How low can you go?’ conference earlier this year “We can solve the toxic emissions with combustion engines! If you take control of the chemistry, you can take control of the emissions” (5) The Dolphin N2 split cycle diesel engine patent, is just the kind of ‘science’ which can transform haulage & marine needs & allow our cities to, as per SDG 11, not only provide access to safe, affordable, accessible & sustainable transport systems for all & reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality; but also make a global impact on the Co2 & NOx emissions currently causing global pollutant levels to continually rise. (1)

Written by Katy-Jane Mason on behalf of Dolphin N2.

  4. THIESEL 2018 Conference on Thermo- and Fluid Dynamic Processes in Direct Injection Engines “Towards zero emission engines through the adoption of combustion lead engine design realised using a split cycle topology “ R. Morgan, F. Khalid, A. Atkins S. Harvey, Firmansyah, D. Mason, K. Vogiatzaki and M Heikal
  5. APC ‘How low can you go?’