Flanders tackles truck emission fraud
The Flemish Environment Department (VDO) has purchased a new controlling device for the emission reduction systems aboard large trucks. Special software is detecting if these systems are manipulated, causing a huge increase in the emission of toxic gases.
The problem is widely known throughout Europe. It has already been denounced several times, the last time by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. Meanwhile, the authorities have tried to detect and sconce such fraud, but it is all going very slowly.
SCR and AdBlue
The diesel engines of trucks that fulfill the Euro 5 and Euro 6 requirements have to be equipped with a particulate filter and an SCR system (Selective Catalytic Reduction). The latter uses an additive, AdBlue, to reduce over 90% of the emission of nitrogen oxides.
But using the additive costs money and sometimes slightly reduces the power of the engine. That’s why a lot of transport firms or truck drivers are bypassing the systems or giving them the wrong information so that they don’t work correctly.
Emission measurements in 2019 by the VDO showed that 10% of the Euro 5 trucks manipulated the systems, or those were simply broken. For Euro 6 trucks, this was still 5%. A manipulated Euro 5 truck emits 3,5 times more toxic gases than a normal one; in the case of Euro 6, the difference is 15 times.
Estimations are that without this expanding fraud, the total emissions of trucks in Europe would immediately decrease by 20% in the case of Euro 5 types and by 40% for Euro 6 vehicles. At the moment, there is a €2 500 fine for fraud.
To encourage transporters to buy more modern and less polluting trucks as soon as possible, the kilometer tax is lower for Euro 5 and especially Euro 6. So, transporters or truck drivers manipulating the exhaust system are also committing tax fraud.
New controlling device
The new device to control if there is possible fraud has sophisticated software that makes contact with the onboard control systems. That way, it can read what has happened/is happening with the emission reduction systems.