Pollution Caused by Emissions


An air pollutant is a substance in the air that can have adverse effects on humans and the ecosystem. The substance can be solid particles, liquid droplets, or gases. A pollutant can be of natural origin or man-made. There are multiple elements of pollution. The main elements of pollution caused by emissions from transportation include:

  • Nitrogen Oxides (NOx): A pollutant that causes smog and acid rain. It can harm humans and vegetation when the concentrations are sufficiently high. It may cause lung damage and the degradation of breathing passages and lungs. It’s created when nitrogen molecules combine with oxygen in the presence of extreme heat.
  • Particulate Matter (PM): Contributes to smog formation and has been found to be carcinogenic. It causes nose and throat irritation, as well as lung damage. It’s caused by incomplete combustion (too much fuel, not enough heat, and not enough oxygen). This is the major thing a DPF catches.
  • Hydrocarbons (HC): A pollutant that can reduce the ability of blood to deliver oxygen to vital tissues. It is known to impact the cardiovascular and nervous systems. It’s caused by incomplete combustion.
  • Carbon Monoxide (CO): Poisonous, carcinogenic, and contributes to smog formation. It’s caused by incomplete combustion.
  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2): A nontoxic gas caused by the combustion of fossil fuels such as gasoline and diesel to transport people and goods. It is by far the most emitted form of human caused air pollution. Transportation is the second largest source of CO2 emissions. Itis constantly being exchanged among the atmosphere, ocean, and land surface as it is both produced and absorbed by many microorganisms, plants, and animals. However, emissions and removal of CO2 by these natural processes needs to be in balance.

The TGA Transportation Division can help reduce emissions significantly while simultaneously saving money.

Diesel Terminology

What Is Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM)?


Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM) is un-burnt fuel that is released into the exhaust. It is a result of incomplete combustion of the fuel, producing soot (black carbon) particles, a complex mixture that makes up Diesel Exhaust (DE). This component of DE includes soot particles made up primarily of carbon, ash, metallic abrasion particles, sulfates and silicates. Most diesel engines only burn an average 50-55% of the fuel injected into them. 

As a solution to reducing the DPM the Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) was introduced and was required to be added to all diesel engines in 2007. As the exhaust gases pass through this filter, emissions of particulate matter (PM), carbon monoxide (CO), and hydrocarbons (HC) are trapped.

How can the amount of DPM be reduced?

TGA can increase the amount of fuel that is utilized resulting in less DPM and other pollutants entering the DPF filter and the atmosphere.

What Is a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF)?


Diesel Particulate Filters (DPF's) are required to reduce exhaust emissions on virtually all diesel engines. Whether you have an over-the-road truck or industrial equipment, you likely have a DPF attached to the exhaust system. 

A DPF is designed to remove/trap Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM or soot) from the exhaust gas of a diesel engine. Over time the trapped soot builds up inside the filter and clogs it, causing the engine to go into a Regeneration (Regen) cycle.

A DPF was designed for long life, but eventually the accumulated ash must be removed by special cleaning equipment. The typical cycle for the DPF before it needs to be cleaned varies by the use of a vehicle. Idling or stop and go driving may require monthly maintenance, whereas over the road driving manufacturer estimates range from 100,000 to 150,000 miles. On vehicles that do a lot of stop-and-go driving (school buses, coach buses, garbage trucks, ambulances, fire engines, etc.) maintenance and replacement may be required monthly or even multiple times per week. Every engine is different even if it is made by the same manufacturer.

There are many types of DPF filters, for varying applications. They are all time consuming to replace and require downtime of the equipment.

Replacing the DPF is not cheap regardless of the type (+/-$3,500 or more plus installation for many) and could result in performance problems and cost issues incurred by downtime for the repair. It is important that drivers are aware of regen lights and what their diesel requires. If the driver ignores the warning light and waits too long to operate the vehicle above 40 miles per hour (64 km/h), the DPF may not regenerate properly, and continued operation past that point may spoil the DPF completely so it must be replaced.

How can DPF maintenance be reduced?

  1. Fuel - Use a low sulfur diesel fuel (bad fuel = more soot). The dirtier the fuel the more DEF used.
  2. CJ-4 oil - Use Diesel Emission Fluid (DEF) that was designed for 2007 and newer diesel engines with a DPF. Using older CI-4 oil may contribute to the clogging of the DPF and may void an engines warranty.
  3. Change Oil - Oil changes should be done at recommended intervals.

Contact TGA - TGA can help fuel burn cleaner. A cleaner burning fuel results in less soot and improved efficiency. It drastically reduces the frequency of regen cycles, cleaning of, damage to and replacement of DPF filters, reduced use of DEF fluid and reduced use of fuel.

What Is Diesel Regeneration (Regen)?


Diesel Regeneration is a process started in 2007 to help reduce pollution. A Diesel engine that does excessive idling or in town driving is more prone to having the DPF filter get clogged. A Regen warning light goes off when the DPF filter tells the computer it is full. When it is full it can create a back pressure causing the engine to run poorly and use much more fuel. 

All on-board active systems use extra fuel, whether through burning to heat the DPF, or providing extra power to the DPF's electrical system. 

All regeneration methods are designed to increase the temperature inside the DPF to the point where the emissions will combust and burn up. The different methods have different impacts on the engine that can decrease the life of the engine. The method used is normally determined by the engine manufacturer since it requires knowledge of engine details and access to the engine control unit. 

The process is initiated by the ECM to burn off pollution (the soot and ash that comes from the pollutants build up in your DPF filter). On average a Diesel engine only burns 55% of the fuel injected into it, meaning 45% results in pollution.

There are three main types of Diesel Regeneration cycles:

  1. Passive regeneration takes place automatically on a highway or fast road runs when the exhaust temperature gets high enough. It can only be used with engines that are run at a steady pace. Because many vehicles don't get this sort of use the manufacturers have had to design in 'active' regeneration where the engine management computer (ECU) takes control of the process.
  2. Active Regeneration has to be used for equipment when the engine does not operate at a steady pace (starts, stops and idles) which does not allow the exhaust to stay hot enough to burn up the filtered emissions. Unfortunately, virtually all active regen methods result in additional wear and tear on the engine, reduced fuel economy, and reduced power. The ECU will initiate the regen when the filter reaches a set limit (about 45%) to increase the exhaust temperature and trigger a regen.
  3. Some newer diesel engines, namely those installed in combination vehicles, can also perform what is called a Parked Regeneration, where the engine increases RPM to around 1400-1700 while parked, to increase the temperature of the exhaust and clean the DPF.

How can regens be reduced?

Contact TGA -  TGA can help clean up the fuel resulting in reduced regens, among other benefits.



Cleaning DPF Filters and Other Parts

Regeneration is not cleaning. Not properly maintaining and cleaning the DPF filter can result in significant engine damage regardless of what type of regeneration is used. Regeneration is simply the process of burning up the emissions the filter has trapped which leaves behind ash and soot. Over time, this will clog the filter and create a significant amount of back pressure in the exhaust system. This can lead to a number of problems including:

  • Damage to the DPF, Exhaust System, and/or Engine
  • Reduced fuel economy
  • Loss of engine power

Considering the cost of fixing or replacing the DPF exhaust system can climb over $7,000, you must have your DPF cleaned on a regular basis. “Regular” is a very subjective term since it really depends on how often the equipment is run and whether or not the DPF is allowed to regenerate often enough. Vehicles that are only operated for “in-town” routes that rarely reach highway speeds may never undergo regeneration. Maintenance lapses on industrial equipment may prevent the filter from undergoing regeneration. Diesel engines that aren’t running efficiently may be expelling higher emissions than the filter is designed to handle. All of this can require the filter to be cleaned more often. Check with your equipment’s manufacturer to determine the recommended cleaning frequency.

Cleaning a DPF is a required part of periodic maintenance and it must be done carefully to avoid damaging the filter. Conventional cleaning is done by placing a DPF into an oven at 1100 degrees to loosen and remove the soot. At least 20% of the DPF efficiency is lost after the typical burning cleaning process. TGA is redefining what it means to clean the DPF, in method, cost, filter longevity and equipment downtime.

How can a fleet manager reduce cleaning intervals and stop damage caused during cleaning?

Contact TGA - Other lower cost solutions are also available that don't cause any damage to the filter and reduce downtime from traditional cleaning methods.

Contact Us

The Green Alliance, Inc.

1795 N. Fry Rd. Ste. 261
Katy, TX 77449

(866) 252-6702