The plans for a new emission standard are making waves. Engine expert thomas koch criticizes the eu for ignoring technology experts and explains why an electric car produces similar nitrogen oxide emissions per kilometer as a diesel.
threatens the end of the combustion engine? This is how the latest proposals of the pan-european "advisory board on vehicle emission vehicles standards" could be described (AGVES) interpret. In addition to renowned developers and the Technical University of Graz, it also includes a Finnish state-owned company and two branches of the University of Thessaloniki. What was hatched there has the potential to explode industrial policy . In an interview, Professor thomas koch of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) urges us to be realistic in our approach – not least so as not to damage the european idea.
FOCUS onlineProfessor koch, how do you classify the proposals of the expert panel on the EU-7 standard??
They oppose any tightening?
Not at all. I welcome the general revision and refinement of the euro 6d standard, which is already excellent, to eliminate a few weaknesses. This would be, firstly, the inclusion of two further emission components, namely nitrous oxide and ammonia, simply in order to achieve a comprehensive consideration. Secondly, the implementation of the tests should be simplified. Today, these standards are far too complex and are no longer comprehensible.
And thirdly, in the interests of continuous tightening, the usual emissions, which are already at the lowest level, should also be reduced again in line with the latest technology, which is also sensible and feasible.
Where are the problems then?
The challenges do not lie in the fulfillment of individual requirements. It is also good to achieve another homeopathic improvement, I welcome that. But the specification calls for multiple overlays of stringent boundary conditions – with no relevant benefit for typical city air. That is pure wantonness.
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What does this mean in practice??
Let’s take the famous nitrogen oxide. Euro 6d-temp vehicles had to comply with a real-world measurement value of 168 milligrams per kilometer at 3°C in a field test, EURO 6d-final vehicles have to comply with 114 milligrams per kilometer even at 0°celsius, and 183 milligrams per kilometer at -7°C. The challenge here has already been that every car can do this even after 160.000 kilometers – regardless of its history – which is generally to be welcomed.
However, the statistics of the big numbers is the challenge. To be on the safe side, vehicles are therefore already emitting around 5 to 30 mg/km under normal marginal conditions. But now even the millionth vehicle with 197,000 kilometers, in winter, at full throttle with a cold engine and with a caravan on the hook, is supposed to comply with 30 mg/km, a value that is lower than the analyzed measurement accuracy. This is not feasible. Not even as a plug-in hybrid.
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So it boils down to pure E-mobility?
E-mobility can and will make a partial contribution to improving the drive mix. However, the demand is arbitrary to reach the value zero with the combustor. With the German power mix, the nitrogen oxide emissions of an electric car are 80 to 100 milligrams per kilometer, while the most modern diesel contribution is significantly lower. This is so low that, even on busy roads, it only results in total emissions of approx. 1 microgram per cubic meter leads to. This is homeopathy! EU officials have also emphasized that it is no longer a question of air quality, but only of the principle of "zero" in the case of combustion vehicles. But if you really want to set nitrogen oxide emissions to zero, you would have to ban the electric fleet immediately, which of course doesn’t make sense either.
Have a solution?
In terms of nitrogen oxide emissions, the modern combustion engine even has a clear advantage over the electric car. And finally, after the last few years, we are devoting ourselves intensively to the subject of CO2. Here, all electrification technologies – fuel cell, BEV or hybrid vehicles – have challenges in terms of production, service life and disposal, but also potentials that must be exploited.
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VW has also just emphasized that large batteries for long ranges are not a sensible solution. In the long term, CO2 emissions from the internal combustion engine can be reduced to zero. The problem is today’s fossil fuel, which must be replaced bit by bit by biogenic and synthetic fuel. There is a lot going on in europe, but the federal environment ministry of all people is blocking progress for the benefit of the environment. And, unfortunately, with partly specious arguments.
In the implementation of the renewable energy directive, the german ministry of the environment, even in its second attempt after massive pressure, is only proposing a 14 percent creditable share of synthetic fuels on CO2 emissions. Why don’t we start the race with an ambitious 20 to 30 percent in 2030, as called for by the national platform for the future of mobility (NPM)?? If we really take CO2 reduction seriously, we can’t use it as a stirrup holder for highly one-sided technology specifications and thus damage all alternative technologies.
Unfortunately, the CO2 potential of regenerative synthesized fuels, for example R33 fuels, is still not recognized in their use. But our 13-year-old passat, for example, has been running on it for years without a hitch.
Why is it blocked?
It has already been confirmed to me that they are afraid that the battery-electric car will run out of arguments if synthetic fuels become available in time. That is why they are now trying with all their might to exclude these re-fuels from individual mobility in the medium and long term. In the deeply ideological debate, which unfortunately now resembles a conflict of beliefs, all tricks are being used to ensure that the internal combustion engine dies at all costs.
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The reasonable argument that there are application-specific different solutions is attacked in the strongest possible terms. Car manufacturers, on the other hand, are currently afraid that their billion-dollar investments in electric cars will not generate any revenue. They also take great care to communicate in a politically correct manner. If we really take the issue of sustainability and the IPCC’s CO2 residual budget admonition seriously, the entire technology discussion would have to be conducted differently.
What could synthetic fuel cost?? And is the poor efficiency not an argument against it??
As far as costs are concerned, depending on the location, 90 cents to 1.30 euros per liter is feasible, while petroleum-based fuel costs 60 to 70 cents. Don’t forget that this will allow people to continue to drive their good, proven cars on a CO2-neutral basis in the long term. A not valid argument against re-fuels is that of the efficiency chain. First of all, the efficiency indicates how far one can drive with the electrical energy generated, either directly in the BEV or via the detour of an "electrically generated" fuel. The route via BEVs does in fact initially permit a three times longer driving distance on average. However, we will not produce the fuel with the help of wind, water and sun in europe, but in many much more suitable regions of the world. In addition to electrical energy, only air components are needed as feedstocks. However, because there is no power cable from australia or south america to idar-oberstein, the fuel is not produced in europe. Thus, the comparison of efficiency does not arise at all. Energy is available in abundance worldwide. But we have an energy storage problem, which will also be solved in this way.
How do you assess the discussion in an international comparison??
We europeans are currently playing a special role in this respect. Economically, some europeans are developing more passion for damaging euro-league primus germany instead of trying to counter world cup winner china. Asia, as the world’s largest economic zone, continues to rely heavily on the internal combustion engine, along with other solutions, because an ecological and economic overall view is taken there. And in north america, and even more so in south america and africa, it will be around for a very long time to come. almost all over the world, internal combustion engines are part of the strategy. But if we want to ban it at all costs, this will of course have an impact on society as well.
They think about the loss of jobs?
artificially maintaining a technology just for the sake of jobs would be wrong, of course, and would mean expensive subsidies in the long term. However, the opposite is the case with the internal combustion engine. With the fight of many politicians against the combustion engine, we are experiencing something else: the centuries-old dream of mankind of individual – automotive, i.e. self-moving – mobility for everyone is being destroyed in secret. the ideologically charged discussion will drive a wedge into society as soon as people realize that range mobility will only be affordable for higher earners. Of course, one can be of the opinion that individual mobility should be massively restricted or banned. But then we should say so openly, and then society can have a fact-based discussion about it.