Recent figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) reveal that seven million people die annually from the effects of air pollution.
A collaboration between a German filtration specialist and Deutsche Post DHL with its subsidiary, StreetScooter, has resulted in the first emission-neutral delivery vehicles.
The WHO statistics measured air pollution in 108 countries around the world and a growing number of cities are beginning to monitor their air quality. Emissions from vehicles play a big part in the air pollution problem and even electric vehicles release particulate matter into the atmosphere due to tyre, brake, and road abrasion, so are not entirely free of emissions. Preventing pollution Fine dust particle filter German filtration specialist MANN+HUMMEL, has now developed a fine dust particle filter to address the problem. Following successful completion of the test phase, the filter will be installed in over 5,000 StreetScooter delivery vehicles in use by the Deutsche Post DHL Group and will prevent considerable quantities of harmful particles from entering the environment. Speaking at the presentation of the first emission-neutral vehicle, Alfred Weber, former CEO at Mann+Hummel, described the need for action: "More and more people at our locations ranging from Ludwigsburg to Bangalore and Shanghai are suffering from the consequences of air pollution.” He also went on to add that filtration experts are best placed to find a solution to the problem. In his talk addressed to policy makers, Weber said that, in his view, legislators should concentrate on prescribing limit values and checking for compliance. Scientific and industrial representatives and their developers should be allowed the space to solve the problem of how the limit values can be met. According to Weber, too many rules restrict the creativity of the developers. Speaking of the collaboration of the Deutsche Post DHL Group, its subsidiary StreetScooter, and Mann+Hummel, he said, “The coming together of the biggest logistics provider, the biggest producer of electric commercial vehicles in Germany and the global filtration expert has made driving and delivery operations in city centres neutral in terms of emissions." Filtering particulates The filter modules were initially fitted to five StreetScooter test vehicles which entered service with Deutsche Post DHL in five German city centres. The vehicles are completely neutral in terms of emissions during driving operations. This means that there is no carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, noise or particulates created by the running of the vehicles. The fine dust particle filter is equipped with an active filter system. Blowers are fitted behind these filters which direct ambient air to the filters. As a result, even when the vehicle is at a standstill it is still able to filter particulate matter from the ambient air. The installation position of the filter on the underbody at the height of the rear axle is practical for two reasons. Firstly, it does not use up any valuable loading space and secondly, this is precisely the location where the highest concentration of particulates is to be found near to the vehicle. All particle filters are equipped with sensors which allow the online monitoring of the efficiency of the systems. Here, Mann+Hummel records information on the filtration performance, the amount of cleaned air, the concentration of particulate matter and the weather data. The data is then sent to the cloud, visualised through a web interface and then evaluated by filtration experts. Test results According to the test results, the fine dust particle filter meets Mann+Hummel’s self-imposed targets and its findings from the simulation. This same is true of the brake dust particle filter. The closer they are to the source of fine dust, the more effective the systems are. In terms of the particle filter, the company’s analyses have shown that the fine dust particle filter filters even more fine dust from the air in city traffic than a vehicle with a modern combustion engine emits through the exhaust system. The fine dust particle filter achieves the target separation efficiency of 80% of PM10 fine dust. Depending on the driving speed, the system filters even more fine dust from the air. Downhill tests and tests in the wind tunnel on the brake dust particle filter were successfully completed. According to current test results, Mann+Hummel believes that it will achieve a separation efficiency of 80%. The service interval, as with brake lining replacement, can also be achieved according to current results. Separation sucess Finally, in terms of the stationary filtration column, the loading of the filter element is as the company expected with more than 90% of fine dust particles separated. This successful conclusion of the test will lead to the series implementation of the particle filter and the StreetScooter becoming the first series car which is almost free of emissions. Achim Kampker, CEO of StreetScooter, subsidiary of the Deutsche Post DHL Group, praises the further improvement of the ecological balance thanks to these vehicles. “With these new fine dust particle filters from Mann+Hummel, we can further improve the environmental performance of our StreetScooters. We are pleased to participate in this field trial and to pioneer what will become a major trend.” Werner Spec, mayor of Ludwigsburg, is also happy about the positive effects this will have on his city. "Our activities towards sustainability are varied and have already been recognised with the award as Germany's most sustainable medium-sized city in 2014." In the opinion of the mayor, the project presented by the three co-operation partners is a measure which is considerably more effective than a driving ban.