Facing the same challenges as other engine makers, the Caterpillar Engine Div. is blazing its own trail to a solution to the diesel-emissions conundrum: how to meet upcoming federal regulations without negatively impacting the performance truck users need and expect.

At a press conference held early last month at its Mossville, Ill., headquarters, Cat detailed how it plans to meet the tighter EPA emissions limits that become effective next year. According to the manufacturer, all its midsize and heavy-duty truck engines will employ a new, patented system dubbed Advanced Combustion Emissions Reduction Technology (ACERT) to meet the 2002 regs without unduly compromising either engine reliability or durability.

“Leaders don't follow the herd. And in the area of emissions control, Caterpillar is definitely not going to follow the herd,” said David Semlow, marketing manager of the Caterpillar Engine Div. “This engine technology is the next step in Caterpillar's ongoing development in the area of emissions reduction.”

Cat plans to implement the ACERT system by integrating it with the next generation of its HEUI fuel system on all midrange and heavy-duty truck engines it builds beginning in the fourth quarter of 2003. ACERT will not be retrofitted to current Caterpillar engines, but other companies, such as International, that also use the HEUI system, will be able to use ACERT as Cat makes it available to them.

Although ACERT won't be in place when the next emissions deadline hits — October 1, 2002 — Caterpillar is not asking the federal government for an extension. “We are going to make all of our commitments to EPA to achieve the level of reduction in emissions that we have committed to,” said John Campbell, truck engine products director. “What we are doing is working within the flexibility of agreements we have in place with the regulatory agency,” he explained.

“ACERT not only meets EPA's goals for emissions, but provides excellent benefits to the truck owner and the truck manufacturer,” Campbell continued. “Used in conjunction with the next-generation HEUI fuel system and integrated with the latest in Caterpillar electronics, ACERT will provide emissions reductions within the combustion process. It will reduce engine emissions where they are created — in the combustion chamber.”

Cat describes ACERT as an advanced fuel system and combustion technology solution that maintains today's reliability and durability standards while minimizing effects on costs.

The most significant aspect of ACERT is that Cat, according to vp Doug Oberhelman, views it as its primary means for meeting EPA emissions limits all the way out to 2006, and beyond. “ACERT is a cost-efficient emissions technology that offers significant advantages over other options,” said Oberhelman, “including cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR)”.

According to Cat, the ACERT system provides another benefit. It will allow using the cooling packages of current engine designs, lowering the cost of the total setup considerably. On top of that, the engine maker expects fuel economy to remain at the same level as with current Caterpillar engines. Cat also said ACERT engines will be 50% quieter than today's heavy-duty engines and will command the same resale value enjoyed by engines in its current lineup.
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