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Many smaller machines have emission-free – often electric – alternative models. Larger machinery often doesn’t have this option yet. In those cases, there are Stage V diesel alternatives that significantly reduce emissions. The question many people ask today is whether it still makes any sense to use a machine with this diesel engine. To answer that question, Boels has listed 5 facts and 5 fables for you:
- Stage V engines will be mandatory
Yes, it has been mandatory since 1 January 2020 for engine manufacturers in the NRMM (non-road mobile machinery) industry to install cleaner diesel engines in their machines in order to significantly reduce harmful emissions. Stage V is the highest emission standard in this respect. The requirement applies to machines sold in the European Community. New machines in North America need to have Tier 4 Final engines.
- Stage V is more expensive to buy and to operate
True. Because of their complex exhaust technology, machines with Stage V diesel engines are generally a little more expensive to buy than their predecessors. The first models burned more fuel in the process. The latest generation has been tuned to reduce consumption even further. Moreover, practically all machines require the addition of AdBlue. This mixture of demineralised water and urea is injected into the exhaust gases, converting most of the harmful NOx into nitrogen and water vapour. Generators and compressors in particular consume a lot of AdBlue.
- Stage V is the last emission stage
Yes. For diesel engines, Stage V is currently the last stage of emission and nobody is really talking about introducing Stage VI. That’s because of the rapid developments in alternative fuels, such as HVO100, and new machines that pollute even less! Just think of all the electric engines that run on batteries or use hydrogen as fuel.
- Working with older diesel engines is still allowed
Although machines with Stage IIIb and Stage IV diesel engines are no longer allowed to be sold in Europe, using them still isn’t prohibited for understandable economic reasons. This means that older machines that are only used occasionally or are properly maintained will still be fine for the coming years. But this does depend in part on the strict environmental requirements that many customers might impose.
- Customers can make Stage V a requirement
Yes. We’re seeing more and more customers – especially municipalities and government departments – stating in tenders that companies must work according to lower emission standards or use no harmful emissions at all. Machines – including generators and compressors – with Stage V diesel engines are still widely used, but will be replaced by even cleaner drive units in the medium to long term. The government’s roadmap aims to ensure all construction sites are completely emission-free by 2033 at the latest.
- Stage V is mandatory for everyone
No. Stage V isn’t mandatory (yet) for end users, who are also allowed to deploy machines without Stage V engines. The idea is that this older machinery will almost organically be phased out in the years to come. That situation is very different for manufacturers of construction machinery: under Europe’s emissions rules, they are no longer allowed to install older, ‘dirtier’ engines after 2020.
- Diesel engines are still polluting
Yes and no. Emissions in Stage V diesel engines are minimal, but still not zero. When Stage I was introduced in 1999, the standard for particulate matter was 0.54 g/kWh. Stage V engine these days only emit 0.015 g/kWh, an impressive 97% reduction thanks mostly to the incredibly fine particulate filter! It is becoming increasingly clear, though, that the soot particles that are still released into the air contain elements that can cause cancer and other diseases. Emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) have fallen by a hefty 96%: from 9.2 g/kWh to 0.4 g/kWh. This makes a current non-road machine almost as clean in operation as a modern truck with a Euro 6 diesel engine.
- Stage V is the same as Euro 6
No, it’s not. Euro 6 is the emission standard for road transport. Stage V is the European standard for non-road mobile machinery (NRMM), i.e. construction equipment and generators, as well as (inland) vessels. North America has its own name: Tier 4 Final, where Tier stands for Transcript Individual Engine Regulations. Tier 4 Final is very similar to Stage V in many ways, which means that machines can move between the two continents without too many modifications.
- Electric is better than Stage V
Yes and no. Electric engines have zero direct emissions and, when recharged with green electricity, are friendlier for the environment than Stage V diesel engines. Electrically powered machines meet all requirements of the emission-free construction site. However, since not every electric machine has an electric version at this point, especially when it comes to heavy machinery, a Stage V diesel is still the cleanest solution. Especially if you use a biodiesel such as HVO100.
- Stage V is more expensive than electric
No, electric machinery is still considerably more expensive to buy than comparable machines with a Stage V diesel engine. In terms of running costs and maintenance, electric machines score better in the longer term. That being said, charging infrastructure is still a concern. Stage V diesel engines are therefore the more interesting option for now, as it takes less time and effort to refuel them and thus allows for longer continuous operation.
Renting stage V equipment
The fact that new machines with Stage V diesel engines have a relatively high purchase price doesn’t always mean that buying should be your first option. A lot depends on the number of hours, days and weeks the machine is needed for. From an economic point of view, hiring can often be an attractive solution. Boels has an extensive fleet of small machines and heavy machinery with a clean Stage V diesel engine.