Could European research redefine trucking in Australia?

Trucks are the lifeblood of many Australian industries. If it needs to be shipped somewhere, chances are it'll be put in a trailer and hauled off by these giants of the road. 

Australia has even managed to create a whole sector of trucking unique to its shores, with b-trains stretching the truck and trailer concept to its absolute limit. 

While these vehicles are many things to people across the country, their reliance on diesel means they aren't quite as efficient as they could be. They could be a good platform for electric engines in the future, but those are still being perfected in cars. 

Fleet managers with their eye on the environment will be pleased to note that new research has found a way to make these engines more efficient, so trucks can keep the same amount of power and torque with produce fewer harmful emissions. 

European research cuts diesel emissions

According to recent findings from Frost & Sullivan, the key to reducing the impact of diesel engines on the environment lies in changing the exhaust systems. This will be good news for manufacturers, preventing a total redesign of the current engines. 

In fact, Frost & Sullivan believe that changes to selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology could cut nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 90 per cent. 

However, the technology is still in its infancy. Only 8 per cent of diesel vehicles across Europe currently possess it, but this is expected to grow to 34 per cent by 2021. 

How will this affect Australia?

The Australian Bureau of Statistics found there were over 300,000 heavy trucks registered in Australia, resulting in massive amounts of fuel consumption

If the technology described above is to make its way to Australia, it could prompt changes in emissions restrictions. Currently Europe has much stricter standards for diesel vehicles, which could make their way down under if SCR systems are make a noticeable difference to emissions. 

Since 1986, all vehicles in Australia require a catalytic converter in their exhaust system to reduce harmful emissions. Based on these changes in the past, it's feasible that an update could be issued. However, Frost & Sullivan Automotive and Transportation Research Analyst Arvind Noel Xavier Leo said it depends on manufacturer and government support. 

"Reducing overall production costs will enable SCR system OEMs to offer affordable products to end users," he said.

"Along with this, creating user awareness on the benefits of SCR technology and government incentives will play a huge role in fuelling adoption rates."