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CK Power Discusses Tier 4 Standards for Dredges

Rendering of the CK Power 140-215hp Final Tier 4 Enclosed Power Unit.

Rendering of the CK Power 140-215hp Final Tier 4 Enclosed Power Unit.

In 2015, final Tier 4 standards for regulating diesel engine emission standards went into effect. The standards affect all diesel engine applications, including dredges, and Tier 4 requirements should be fully implemented as of the end of 2015 for most applications.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has long concluded that long-term diesel engine exhaust fumes pose a serious threat to human health. Nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) are contributors to the formation of ground-level ozone and the presence of harmful airborne pollutants. Nitrogen oxides are known to aggravate respiratory difficulties and they tend to react with volatile organic compounds and sunlight to form ozone. Particulate matter is a byproduct of diesel exhaust and is also known to have harmful effects on human health.

EPA introduced the tiered system for regulating diesel engine emissions in 1996. Since then, the criteria for determining what engine applications are required to meet the standards has broadened significantly. In 1998, the EPA decided that nonroad applications should be included under the standards. In 2004, EPA introduced the stricter Tier 4 engine standards, which were phased in started in 2008. (For more information about Tier 4 engines, read CK Power’s visual guide at visual-guide-to-regulations-for-final-tier-4-engines.)

Since 1998, the standards have affected dredges, said Clayton Costello, operations manager for CK Power. The company manufactures power solutions for a variety of markets and customers, including dredges.

Under the EPA regulation, dredging machinery falls under the category of a nonroad diesel engine acting as a prime power source for utility equipment. Also, most equipment used on a dredging site will be affected by these regulations.

All new equipment should meet the Tier 4 engine standards, but not old equipment. Equipment that satisfied all emission standards in the year it was produced is considered legacy equipment and can continue to be used without penalty.

The new standards may be challenging for dredging operations, Costello said. For many, the biggest hurdle dredge manufacturers must overcome is the cost. “With dredges, like other OEM pieces of equipment, there’s a lot of cost in that engine,” Costello said. “With the final Tier 4, the cost has gone up substantially.” He also said CK Power works with its clients to absorb that cost elsewhere in the design.

For reducing emissions in engines, selective catalytic reduction and diesel particulate filters are two methods. Costello said the extra components required by most emission-reduction strategies make for a larger engine, which can also pose a significant challenge for current dredge designs and will require significant redesigns to fit in Tier 4 engines. It can certainly be done cost effectively, Costello said, but for manufacturers, “it can be a hard pill to swallow upfront,” and will require “clever engineering solutions.”

One of the strategies by diesel engine manufacturers to reduce emissions involves a practice known as regeneration. “Regeneration is where the engine loses a percentage of its power to burn off the particulate matter,” Costello said. If the dredge operator can afford to have downtime on-site for an hour or two, then, regeneration is not an issue. If the operation cannot afford the downtime, there are engine applications that offer no regeneration.

In addition to the cost increases and space constraints, dredge manufacturers should be prepared for an education curve on the design and purchasing process.

“Many manufacturers had grown comfortable with their buying process. It was easy. Lay out the application and horsepower requirements and receive a product that’s dropped into the application and ready to go,” Costello said. “Final Tier 4 requirements are changing the game. He also noted, when it comes to price quotes, makes sure the total includes all the components necessary for satisfying the criteria, and the price should reflect whether or not the engine comes already assembled with all the necessary parts. Costello said a qualified engineering and support staff is necessary to pinpoint the right product and the right design, under the new standards.

“CK Power has the resources and capabilities to help make customers transition to Final Tier 4 as cost effective and as smooth as possible,” Costello said. For more information and guidance on Tier 4 regulations, visit www.ckpower. com.


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