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Diesel is the world's most efficient internal combustion engine, which provides more power and fuel efficiency than LPG and gasoline. Growing environmental concerns have resulted in the formulation of government regulations, in turn compelling manufacturers to create innovative methods used to meet emission standards. Clean diesel is a novel group of diesels, which contains 97 percent less Sulphur, made up of unconventional engines and effective emission control technology. Clean diesels are used on a large scale in transportation and to power various equipment in the mining, construction, and agriculture sectors. Clean diesels are cleaner, more fuel efficient, and offer more torque than other fuels. The clean diesel market, however, faces major competition from its gasoline, hybrid, and electrical counterparts.

Low diesel prices, government subsidies, stringent environmental regulations are major drivers for growth of the clean diesel market. The major challenge faced by this market is the production of nitrous oxide. Efforts are being made to cope with this issue by the incorporation of advanced   emission control technologies.  One of the most notable downsides is that diesel tends to cost more than gasoline engines.

Clean Diesel Taxonomy

On basis of the three part system components:

  • Fuel
    • Ultra low Sulphur diesel (ULSD)
      • Grade No. 1-D S15
      • Grade No. 2-D S15
  • Engine
    • Electronic controls
    • Common rail fuel injection
      • Electro hydraulic solenoids
      • Piezo crystal electric actuators
      • Hydraulically amplified common rail
      • CRI4
    • Variable injection timing
    • Improved combustion chamber configuration
    • Turbocharging
  • Effective Emission control
    • Diesel oxidation catalyst
    • Exhaust gas recirculation
    • Diesel particulate Filters
    • Selective catalyst reduction

On the basis of end-user

  • Agriculture
  • Transportation
  • Construction
  • Power generation
  • Mining
  • Public Safety
  • Others

Common rail systems supply high injection pressures available at an accumulator, directly to the injector, thus providing better control, reduced emission, and better efficiency. Two ULSD standards are available, namely Grade No. 1-D S15, which is a highly unstable fuel with an lower gelling temperature than regular ULSD and Grade No. 2-D S15, which is regular ULSD.  Companies such as Clean Diesel Technologies (CDTI) develop catalyst technologies and emissions control systems to meet the requirements of increasingly stringent environmental regulations and decrease emissions. 

  • The state-subsidized incorporation of vehicles by means of tax concessions led to a significant increase in the proportion of diesel engines in privately owned vehicles in Europe. Approximately 50 % cars in Europe run on ULSD. Europe has been the frontrunner on regulations for low-sulfur and clean transportation fuels. The use of ULSD combined with the presence of major car manufactures in Europe, are expected to lead to technological advancements in the clean diesel market.
  • Clean diesel fuel containing 97 percent less sulfur has been used for both, on-highway and off-highway diesel engines in the U.S., since 2006. Even though the amount of commercial diesel vehicles used in the U.S. is low, there are wide range of industries such as mining, agriculture, and construction that depend on diesel for their operations. Hence, incorporating efficient use of clean diesel is expected to help boost the clean diesel market in North America.
  • Diesel usage is prevalent particularly in the growing economies of Asia such as China, India, and Southeast Asia. Hong Kong, introduced clean diesel in July 2000, was the first city in Asia to introduce this advanced type of diesel to its local market. Countries such as Japan, Taiwan, China, and India have all begun the use of ULSD. As Asia comprises of a number of developing nations, the clean diesel market has the maximum potential to grow in Asia.
  • Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are frontrunners in the clean diesel project in the Middle East. To fulfil the obligatory sulfur specifications for diesel, Saudi Arabia is spending billions of dollars to construct multiple clean diesel projects. As the Middle East is a major exporter of petroleum products, it is expected to be a major clean diesel producer with the help of technology and capital.
  • In Africa fewer countries have adopted low-sulfur fuel regulations. South Africa plans to initiate Clean Fuels Program 2 (CF2), which is expected to be fully commissioned by 2020, with an aim to develop diesel containing 10 ppm or less amount of sulfur. The clean diesel market in Africa is still developing.
  • As Latin American countries rely heavily on oil export revenues, the drop in fuel prices has affected them greatly. As a result of which, the region does not have enough capital for expansions and upgrades to produce clean diesel.

The three-part clean diesel system enables over 95 percent emission reductions. Lower cost of diesel coupled with its 20 to 40 percent higher fuel efficiency than gasoline, makes clean diesel vehicles an economical option. The recent Volkswagen emissions scandal that was publicly revealed in 2015, has had a negative impact on the clean diesel market, in turn decreasing diesel vehicle sales. Some major clean diesel players include CDTI, Volkswagen, BMW, Ford, Chevrolet, GMC, Nissan, Tetraneft Corporation, Spinelli International Company, Digable traders, and Camarona.

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