Diesel-powered vehicles are the backbones of all industry in the U.S.A. today making diesel emissions control a very important consideration of industry. Not unlike gasoline burning engines in cars, the diesel engine industry is also under regulatory action for diesel emissions control. The primary ingredient in the thick, black diesel exhaust is what we know as particulate matter (PM10) or commonly known as diesel soot.
Common diesel emissions control concerns are chemicals like nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, aldehydes, primarily formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and acrolein and various hydrocarbons particles. In addition, present in diesel exhaust is carbon monoxide. More important is that the higher the combustion temperature of a diesel engine the higher the emissions of nitrogen oxides. This means that a diesel engine can and normally does emit more oxides of nitrogen pollutants than a gasoline engine
Particulate matter is a serious health issue along with being an aesthetic concern. Because it is in such a small form, particulate matter is easily inhaled into the lungs where it causes damage. Particulate matter is also known to carry chemicals that can exacerbate asthma and emphysema. Some negative health effects from the exposure to diesel exhaust are immediate, whereas others take being exposed for numerous years to show. Sulfur dioxide can cause respiratory distress.
Aldehydes cause eye, nose and throat irritation. Causes of cancer in laboratory studies come from formaldehyde and hydrocarbons in diesel exhaust and may cause cancer when humans are exposed to it after several years. In workers exposed to diesel exhaust over ten to twenty years Lung cancer has developed. Lung cancer has also been found in laboratory studies of the exposure to diesel exhaust over a lifetime. Other chemicals determined to be known carcinogenic chemicals like benzo[a]pyrene are also present in diesel exhaust gasses.
Particulates are also known to soil and discolour building surfaces they come in contact with as they leave their soot deposits behind.
With most construction equipment being powered by diesel engines, more construction equipment is retrofitted with diesel emissions control devices every day. Although, the retrofitting installation can be quite involved it is only in its infancy at this time. All newly manufactured non-road or construction diesel equipment built after 2011 must be designed with diesel emissions control devices as standard equipment. The law that will govern the diesel equipment manufacturing industry requiring all diesel equipment to have diesel emissions control devices as standard equipment is building a huge new market place for the economy.
Numerous after-market manufacturers offer a variety of particulate filters with various coatings and design needs, depending on the specific application and duty cycle. These particulate filters may be retrofitted on diesel equipment ad are a very effective way of limiting particulate matter from diesel engines.