New EPA Regulations Will Require Machine Reconfiguring, Add Cost

Final Tier 4: Size & Expense
By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | June 2010 Vol. 65 No. 6
The engine compartment of the Ditch Witch HT300. Final Tier 4 engines will likely be larger, requiring redesign.

In less than six months, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Interim Tier 4 emission standards will go into effect for many types of off-road diesel powered equipment used in underground construction, and equipment owners and operators are devoting increasing attention to the changes they will bring.

On Jan. 1, 2011, engines between 74 and 175 horsepower installed in off-road machines must use “cleaner” diesel fuel and oil and will be equipped with filters requiring maintenance previously not needed on older engines. Ultimately the requirements will increase the cost of new machinery equipped with Tier 4-compliant engines.

Final Tier 4 regulations will begin to be implemented in 2014. They will maintain the high reduction of particulate matter required in intermediate Tier 4, but will mandate a substantial increase in the reduction of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. Engines 175 to 750 horsepower will be affected on Jan. 1, 2014. Those 75 less than 174 horsepower will be affected on Oct. 1, 2014. These are engine build dates.

There are several technologies to accomplish this, but the consensus of engine and OEM manufacturers is that whatever methods are used will add to the cost of new equipment The stricter final Tier standards will bring to off-road equipment requirements already in effect for over-the-road trucks, so experiences with trucks could be an indication of what to expect with off-road machinery.

Representatives of two engine manufacturers and two major underground equipment suppliers recently shared their insight as to what kind of impacts the underground industry might expect when final Tier 4 becomes effective.

John Deere Power Systems, Doug Laudick, manager of product planning: “The purpose of Final Tier 4 emissions regulations is to further reduce NOx. Final Tier 4 regulations will maintain levels of particulate matter (PM) and require an additional 80 percent reduction in NOx compared to Interim tier 4/Stage III B.

“All engines will be affected. The method used to achieve Final Tier 4 standards will depend on the engine power level. John Deere is continuously developing and testing the technologies it will adopt to achieve Final Tier 4/Stage IV emissions regulations.

A John Deere Interim Tier 4 Powertech PVX 4045 engine that will soon be in use.