To Meet Tough New EPA Standards by 2007, Diesel Engine Owners and Manufacturers Seek Advanced Emission Control Technology

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New U.S EPA emission standards for diesel engines, set for 2007, fuels the market for Rypos, Inc., (http://www.rypos.com)developer of an automatically self-cleaning, computer-controlled filter that will bring diesel engine exhaust into emissions compliance. The filter is more reliable and efficient than passive filters, usually made of ceramic, and is aimed at new and existing heavy-duty diesels.

In the US alone, a half-million big diesel engines power everything from back up generators to oilrigs and water pumps. These, plus new diesel engines, must meet stricter EPA emission standards by 2007. Then, in 2010, the standards will increase 100-fold, which has both manufacturers and users scrambling to clean up their exhaust.

To meet these new standards, Rypos, Inc., (http://www.rypos.com) of Medway, Massachusetts, has developed an improved thinking filter called the Rypos Active Filter that automatically cleans or regenerates itself without any of the disadvantages of earlier filter systems.

The product is ideally suited for large diesel generators that provide back up power to hospitals and other institutions that cannot miss a beat, as well as engines used to power ships, locomotives, oilrigs, and aircraft groundpower. In addition to a half million such engines operating today, 19 percent of the 1.5 million diesel engines produced annually are manufactured for these applications. The majority are smaller engines for trucks, buses, construction vehicles and farm equipment.

A growing segment of Rypos’s market is large diesel generator sets. Says Diesel Progress magazine, over 94,500 were produced last year and the market is expected to grow at about 11 percent annually.

Corporations are increasingly generating a portion of their own electricity to reduce consumption at peak times during business hours — called peak load shaving. Utilities charge commercial customers a premium to meet their needs at peak times. A factory that turns on all its machines precisely at 7 AM pays a higher rate for electricity than one that staggers the startup. Turning on standby generators during these and other peak load times shaves the peaks to cut costs. The generators have the added benefit of providing electricity during power failures.

For these and a multitude of other applications such as powering locomotives, irrigation systems, oilrigs, and aircraft ground power units, diesel engines are hard to beat for their extraordinary performance, fuel efficiency and durability.

Along with EPA and other environmental agencies, the Department of Energy (DOE) is taking aim at improving diesel technology and reducing emissions — namely nitrogen oxides and soot. At the latest DOE-organized diesel Engine Emissions Reduction Conference (DEER) in San Diego, 520 engine makers, industry leaders, scientists and environmental officials reviewed advanced technology to bring diesel engines into EPA compliance by 2007 as well as three years hence when more stringent rules will apply.

Frank DePetrillo, General Manager of Rypos, Inc, briefed conference participants on his company’s active emission control filter now undergoing US Navy tests. He explains, "While futuristic technology such as hydrogen powered cars and fuel cells are promising, the necessary infrastructure won’t be in place for decades. And alternate fuels such as natural gas don’t pack as much power as diesel fuel. In the meantime, diesel engines are numerous, fuel efficient and produce 27 percent less carbon dioxide which is attributed to global warming."

Challenge: maximize efficiency, minimize pollution

Says Klaus Peter, Rypos, Inc. President and founder, whose company developed an active or thinking filter called the Rypos Trap™, "Diesel exhaust emissions can be reduced in several ways. Engines can be de-tuned to run cleaner; but not enough to meet the 2007 EPA regulations. While ceramic filters work, they impede the flow of exhaust by increasing backpressure, which any hot rodder knows decreases horsepower. Passive filters, typically made of a ceramic material, impede the exhaust and sometimes diesel fuel is sprayed directly into the exhaust stream to burn off soot, which is wasteful."

Mr. Peter adds, "The goal is to maximize engine efficiency to achieve greatest power at lowest fuel consumption." To trap fine particles, Rypos developed a filter made of sintered metal — a mesh of high-heat resistant metal fibers that look like steel wool. Since metal is conductive, an electrical current generated by the engine is passed through the metal to heat it and burn off any soot build up. "The electrical control circuitry automatically monitors the process to clean the filter when needed — it’s analogous to a self cleaning oven that knows when to go into its cleaning cycle." Average power consumption is less than one percent of the rated power of the engine.

The RYPOS active filter can also be used in conjunction with a diesel oxidation catalyst to reduce the soluble organic material, hydrocarbons, and carbon monoxide in the exhaust. The filter also replaces the muffler.

Rypos, Inc, based in Medway, Massachusetts is targeting a growing market that includes large diesel engines used for power generation, onboard ships and locomotives, aircraft ground power units, oilrigs and irrigation. The US Navy is eyeing the Rypos Active Filter to retrofit large two-cycle diesel engines on coastal vessels and at Navy bases. A Rypos Active Filter is also in place on one of three diesel generators that produce electricity full-time for a Caterpillar dealership in New Hampshire. The Rypos Active Filter has also been demonstrated with favorable results under a grant from the California Air Resources Board (CARB), whose emission standards typically exceed those of the US EPA. The filter removes up to 90 percent of the soot without horsepower robbing backpressure and regenerates itself automatically to increase reliability.

The potential market for the Rypos Active Filter includes retrofitting existing engines to bring them into 2007 EPA compliance, and licensing its technology to be used in new diesel engines that will also have to meet 2007 standards and more stringent standards slated for 2010.

To drive home the point that today’s diesels are a far cry from those associated with yesterday’s smelly city buses; DEER conference participants drove new diesel powered production and prototype cars at the event. "The advances are phenomenal, " notes Rypos’s DePetrillo, adding, "A decade ago, when VW introduced a diesel powered economy car that got 50 miles to the gallon, buyers stayed away in droves. At this DEER conference, VW showcased a full-size luxury diesel sedan that got better mileage and superb performance. Europeans, who are more comfortable with diesel cars, cite performance and driving pleasure well ahead of fuel economy as reasons for choosing diesel.

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