Executive Hire News › Archives › June 2019 › Executive Report : Stage fright
Executive Report : Stage fright
Complying with new emissions regulations might bring unexpected challenges to hirers and operators of larger power generation equipment. Alan Guthrie reports from a conference organised by the manufacturer, Himoinsa, in Spain.
Held in May at the manufacturer’s headquarters at San Javier in Spain’s Murcia region, Himoinsa’s Rental Power Workshop was attended by representatives of approximately 40 hire organisations from throughout Europe involved in power generation equipment hire. The aim was to provide an update on Himoinsa’s latest models designed to meet the new EU Stage V emissions regulations applying to engines fitted to non-road mobile machinery, and to explain implications of their operation and maintenance - which could be significant, particularly on higher-capacity generators.
What makes Stage V important? As EHN’s Forum article exactly a year ago explained, from 1 January 2019 all newly manufactured engines in the ranges of up to 56kW and those above 130kW must now comply; for engines between 56kW and 130kW, the requirements come into effect on 1 January 2020. Particulate matter (PM) pollution limits have been reduced by 90% compared to the previous Stage IIIa regulations, with a new limit on the number of emitted particles (PN).
In many cases, diesel engines above 19kW now require a diesel particulate filter (DPF) and, perhaps, other technological solutions in the combustion and after-treatment processes. There is a transition period, but manufacturers could only make engines to a previous Stage’s standards until the end of 2018 for engines of up to 56kW and for those above 130kW, and by the end of 2019 for those of 56kW to 130kW.
Engines made before 1 January 2019 to the previous standard can be fitted into newly manufactured equipment up to 24 months following the introduction of Stage V. The OEM equipment from 2019 for use as mobile machinery applications by the hirer must meet Stage V, and this also applies to used machinery fitted with engines produced from 2019. In very general terms, for machines up to 20kW capacity, Stage V implications are minimal because the technology needed on smaller machines is less complex. And many hirers do not offer generators beyond 6kVA or 10kVA, so they will see few changes. Equipment buyers have, therefore, faced a choice of either buying new Stage V models (with a higher price tag), or trying to replace or refurbish existing machines for as long as they can until the old engines are no longer available.
Like other manufacturers, Himoinsa chooses the most appropriate engines from a number of suppliers across its ranges, and representatives from several of these explained their Stage V approaches. Ronald van der Lubbe, Senior Area Manager with Yanmar, said that his company’s latest intercooled turbo diesel series models required no after-combustion treatment such as AdBlue (urea) and that, in typical usage, no scheduled maintenance of the DPF would be required for up to 6,000 hours.
The need for AdBlue
Similarly, Simone Volpe, Power Generation Key Account Manager with FPT explained that on the company’s engines typically used in generators of 30kVA to 400kVA, after-combustion measures were crucial to reduce emissions, using technology developed for Euro 6 trucks for Iveco and other manufacturers, including a patented HI-eSCR2 system to reduce emissions through reaction with AdBlue, together with a diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC) and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) on the filter. These are monitored by sensors in an engine control unit (ECU) that issues alerts if necessary.
Luis Mayor, Sales Manager I&M Engines with Scania, pointed out that AdBlue required careful management. It could freeze at low temperatures (from minus 11°C) and needed to be kept warm for optimum performance, so feed pumps were heated in operation.
And the implications that AdBlue has for hirers and users could be considerable. It was suggested that a larger generator could consume AdBlue at a rate of up to approximately 8% of the diesel used; on a 200kVA machine running for 24 hours at 100% capacity (admittedly an extreme scenario) up to 86 litres of AdBlue could be consumed. Himoinsa says its AdBlue tanks’ capacities are typically 10% of the diesel tank, and so in such a case the AdBlue would need to be topped up daily, or perhaps even more frequently (and larger external tanks have to be approved by the engine manufacturer).
Given that AdBlue can be corrosive to metal and requires careful handling, the training and operational procedures for site managers could be considerable. Engines would shut down if levels were not maintained and the use of any other liquids in the tank would be detected by the ECU.
Carlos Ibanez, Himoinsa’s Operations Director, told the conference that Stage V technology necessitated the use of diesel with low sulphur content, lubricants that avoided ash deposits and that running an engine for prolonged periods below 30% of its capacity could lead to the DPF clogging. Also, while larger generators are often connected to external fuel tanks for longer running times, this is currently not practical for AdBlue, which can crystallise and can cause injector faults if misfuelling occurs. Himoinsa has launched its S5 range of meet Stage V, spanning 9kVA to 550kVA and being phased in from Q4 of 2019. They are designed for low noise and have new control panels to monitor AdBlue levels.
During the Workshop, EHN spoke to a number of hirers and the consensus was that Stage V represents a significant challenge in educating customers about the need to maintain the generators and to train operators. Himoinsa is currently trialling a remote monitoring system, Fleet Manager, which will track machine status via various mobile devices.
However, another striking recent development is Himoinsa’s recent launch of generators running on LPG or natural gas. These are claimed to exceed Stage V emissions requirements as they
produce virtually zero emissions. Himoinsa’s Gas Product Manager, Manuel Aguilera, explained that four models have been introduced with capacities of 25kVA, 40kVA, 70kVA and 110kVA. Power comes from three gas cylinders housed in the bottom of the machine, giving 450 litres of usable gas. These can be filled in ten minutes and machines can be refuelled at a filling station if on a road-tow trailer, or replenished on site. Running times of up to 45 hours are said to be achievable. An external supply (LPG or natural gas) can also be used, but these need to be approved by the fuel supplier.
LPG generator models
The machines use a Ford factory-approved modified LPG/natural gas RSG862 engine and the quoted service intervals are every 400 hours - and no AdBlue would be needed, which could be very attractive long-term for the hirer to avoid further emission reductions, although hirers and users would need to manage gas supplies and deliveries. Overall running costs are said to be much lower than a Stage V diesel set when considering lower maintenance and guaranteed clean fuel supply.
Clive Dix, MD of Himoinsa Power Solutions UK, told EHN that an LPG generator has been on trial
for several months at the company’s base in Crewe, and that Himoinsa is discussing the logistic of
on-site gas supplies with key providers. One hirer in The Netherlands is already running LPG models and Clive Dix said he received orders for machines immediately after the Workshop.
Himoinsa’s conference certainly helped raise awareness of Stage V and it showed there are challenges ahead in meeting the new regulations’ requirements. •