Could Bosch’s groundbreaking pollution control system save the diesel engine?

diesel fuel cap
Ronan Glon/Digital Trends

We’ve all read headlines announcing the imminent death of the diesel engine. The frequency of these reports increased significantly in the wake of the 2015 Dieselgate scandal. German components manufacturer Bosch claims it has developed a way to save the diesel engine by making it up to 10 times cleaner than upcoming regulations — the strictest ones yet — require it to be.

The firm explains excessive NOx emissions make some diesel engines bad for the environment. It has developed a number of advancements to reign in emissions, including an air-flow management system that keeps NOx in check regardless of driving style. The system works with an optimized turbocharger that reacts faster than the units currently on the market, and an upgraded exhaust gas recirculation setup. In simple terms, the engine burns fuel more efficiently and dispenses of exhaust gasses in a cleaner manner.

Older diesel-powered cars (like the ones some cities across Europe want to ban) emit considerably more NOx in urban driving, when the engine doesn’t have time to warm up or cool down after spending time in stop-and-go traffic. Bosch’s new thermal management system ensures the engine always stays hot enough to maintain a low level of emissions. The company explains a modern engine reaches that threshold at 392 degrees Fahrenheit.

“NOx emissions can now remain below the legally permitted level in all driving situations, irrespective of whether the vehicle is driven dynamically or slowly, in freezing conditions or in summer temperatures, on the freeway or in congested city traffic,” Bosch wrote in a statement.

The technology is ready for production right away, and it mostly uses off-the-shelf components so it shouldn’t make cars more expensive, but diesel isn’t out of the woods just yet. First, automakers who have spent millions of dollars developing alternative fuels need to adopt Bosch’s solution and implement it across their portfolio of current and upcoming models. Second, and this is especially true in the United States, motorists who now doggedly believe diesel is a byword for evil need to warm up to the idea that it’s possible to make a clean, quiet, and efficient diesel engine without breaking the law.

One thing is certain: Car companies and governments now have a solution to save diesel if they choose to. The announcement is a global one, but a spokesperson for Bosch told Digital Trends the company will speak to customers in all regions.

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