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Myth #4: The introduction of EU Stage V emission standards means Electric is the only option

Rear view of a Calor LPG fueled Forklift truck

Andy Kellett, FLT Specialist at Calor, talks about the Introduction of EU Stage V emission standards and the myth around Electric being the only option. 

From the beginning of January 2019, diesel and LPG FLTs will need to comply with the EU Stage V standards for non-road mobile machinery.

For LPG FLTs, emissions of particulate matter are not a problem under the new standards. However, nitrous oxides will need to be eliminated via a three-way catalytic converter. The good news is that these are inexpensive, require minimal maintenance and do not have to undergo the lengthy regeneration processes associated with diesel particulate filters (DPF).

In contrast, many diesel engines will be affected in a big way. With the introduction of these new standards, more advanced DPF cleaning systems and operating regimes will be required to comply. For less sophisticated diesel engines, this will result in longer periods of downtime and greater expense.

One approach the industry has taken to overcome this issue is by lowering the combustion temperature using cooled exhaust gas, which dilutes the amount of oxygen in the combustion chamber. Yet this results in increased soot, meaning the engine requires a DPF to prevent the soot from being emitted.

This DPF, however, needs to be recharged at regular intervals, which is a lengthy process that has to be performed once or twice a week. This requires an FLT to be taken out of service and the engine to be revved at full engine RPM for between 20 minutes to half an hour, in order to burn the soot that has collected in the particulate filter. Large amounts of fuel are used during this process, and then there is the downtime and inconvenience of the time-consuming and repetitive process – not to mention the associated costs with burning the extra fuel as part of this.

So, is electric the way to go? Not necessarily. While electric FLTs are beginning to edge out from solely being used in warehouses and into rugged heavy-duty equipment too, the adoption of electric as a mass-market solution for these heavy-duty applications is still a long way off. Furthermore, the high initial purchase price is a big barrier for many organisations.

With LPG models able to cope easily with the recently-introduced EU Stage V standards via an inexpensive three-way catalytic converter, LPG is a solution that is available now – and long into the future – for FLT fleets. Many diesel models will struggle with the EU Stage V standards that have come into force, but LPG’s reliability and cost-effectiveness when compared with electric models will ensure it remains a popular choice for fleet managers.

Calor is now offering BioLPG to FLT customers, providing all the benefits of LPG with a green and renewable fuel that is in line with sustainability targets. For more information on BioLPG for FLT fleets, please visit www.calor.co.uk/flt.

To find out more about LPG and BioLPG fuelled FLTs, head over to our FLT page.