In a world that says diesel engines must be cleaner, Caterpillar says it is going to go about it in a different way than its competitors. Engine makers pretty much concur they will use exhaust-gas recirculation (EGR) to meet the tighter 2002 EPA emission limits on heavy-duty diesel engines, but Caterpillar today announced it will take a road less traveled to get there.

From its offices in Mossville, Ill., the engine maker outlined plans to have all its mid-size and heavy-duty truck engines employ its new, patented advanced combustion emissions reduction technology (ACERT).

“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 Truck Engine Div. “This engine technology is the next step in Caterpillar’s ongoing development in the area of emissions reduction,” he stated.

The company will start using the ACERT technology, integrated with the next generation of its HEUI fuel systems, on all mid-range and heavy-duty engines it builds starting in the fourth quarter of 2003. ACERT will not be retrofitted to current Caterpillar engines, but other companies, such as Navistar, that also use the HEUI system, will be able to use ACERT once Caterpillar makes it available.

Although the next round of EPA deadlines comes is fast approaching – October 1, 2002 – Caterpillar is not asking the government for an extension.

“We have committed to the EPA and are going to make all of our commitments to achieve the level of reduction in emissions that we have committed to,” said John Campbell, truck engine products director in Caterpillar's performance engine products div. “What we are doing is working within the flexibility of those agreements we have with those regulatory agencies.”

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

ACERT will be Caterpillar’s primary technology for meeting government emissions regulations through 2006 and beyond, said Doug Oberhelman, vp of Caterpillar’s engine products div. According to Oberhelman, ACERT is a cost-efficient emissions technology that offers significant advantages over other options, including cooled exhaust gas recirculation.

Caterpillar said its position was to simultaneously evaluate many different paths to find the technology that would achieve low levels of NOx and hydrocarbons while still providing its customers with the “best value solution.”

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

According to Cat, ACERT technology also uses the engine’s current cooling package, which lowers the cost of the system considerably. In addition, the engine maker expects fuel economy to remain at the same level as current Caterpillar engines. And Cat said ACERT engines will be 50% quieter than current heavy-duty engines.

“We believe trucks equipped with ACERT-powered engines will command the same resale value as today’s Caterpillar engines,” Campbell added.