Will diesel engines still be popular in the future?

Diesel engines already play such a vital role in many sectors, with agriculture and transport being the two main ones, ensuring they will remain popular into the future.

The only factor of concern as the world faces the challenges of building a more sustainable future is fuel. However, there are huge advancements being made to create improved diesel and fuel blends that will take the diesel engine into the future.

The developed world has already mandated that low-sulfur diesel is used. High-sulfur diesel containing 5,000 parts per million (PPM) generates more particulates, creating air pollution and acid rain. Ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) contains 15 PPM or less, reducing effects on the environment.

Renewable diesel is now available. This is a type of biofuel that is made from renewable sources, such as vegetable oils, animal fats and recycled cooking oils. The fuel can be used alone or as a blend with diesel fuel, runs cleaner than ULSD, and reduces emissions and reliance on fossil fuel.

Synthetic fuels are another type of renewable and are derived from biomass, agricultural waste or algae. The great advantage of synthetic fuels is that they can be used in a diesel engine without the need for any modifications, making them a great replacement option. They offer better lubrication, improved combustion efficiency and generate lower emissions.

In December 2022, DEUTZ have approved its entire TCD diesel engine portfolio for use with alternative diesel fuels. This means that alternatives such as hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) can now be used to run all DEUTZ engines that meet the EU Stage V emissions standard. HVO is an innovative biofuel produced from biological waste, manure, and used cooking oils and fats and thus does not compete with food production. The use of HVO fuels reduces the carbon footprint of DEUTZ’s diesel engines by up to 95 percent.

By combining diesel fuel with biodiesel or synthetic fuel a sustainable diesel blend is created which offers environmental benefits. Pollution is reduced, air quality is improved, greater efficiency is achieved all round and existing equipment and infrastructure is still viable, which reduces waste.

A different approach is using diesel additives, which have undergone developments that generate greater fuel efficiency by optimising combustion. Additives increase lubrication in the engine which reduces wear and tear, prevents corrosion, and enhances engine cleanliness. Keeping an engine running at optimum efficiency leads to reduced emissions.

DEUTZ is also dedicated to environmental protection. Our diesel engine particle emissions have decreased by 97 percent since 1999. In 2021, 69.9 per cent of DEUTZ engines were EU STAGE V and US EPA T4 certified.

DEUTZ has also developed a hydrogen engine which will go into production in 2024. It is carbon-neutral and has passed all the bench tests. Initial uses of this engine will be stationery equipment and generators.

Research into fuels is ongoing and options are being explored. Balancing the needs of diesel engine users with those of a sustainable future looks promising. The type of power provided by a diesel engine is going to be required for a long time yet.