When fuel is combusted in a diesel engine, this gives rise not only to gaseous emissions, but especially also to soot particles. The smaller these soot particles are, the easier it is for them to pass through our lungs and on into our bloodstream and other organs. High concentrations of particulate matter (PM) caused among other things by soot emissions from diesel engines are known to represent a particular health hazard. Studies carried out by the World Health Organisation (WHO) have shown that PM-
contaminated air shortens average life expectancy in Germany by around ten months. This means that lowering the emissions of soot particles from diesel engines is very important in terms of human health and the environment.
Systematic use of diesel particulate filters makes it possible for such soot particles to be eliminated and for vehicles and machinery alike to be operated free of soot emissions. This is where the SMF® sintered metal filter from HJS plays an important role.
The low emission zones (LEZs) that have been introduced in 50-plus cities across Germany are of considerable importance in this respect. Other cities are set to follow this example. Retrofitting enables private car owners and fleet operators alike to reobtain unrestricted access to these low emission zones. Public transport authorities put cleaner buses on the city roads and so live up to the expectations they awake as role models.
Companies that modernise their fleets and fit particle filters to their trucks benefit truck toll changes introduced on 1 January 2009 in Germany. This is an incentive to keep the fleet clean and allow only vehicles with low emission levels to take to the roads.