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Vehicle manufacturers under pressure to cut carbon emissions
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SA goes for cleaner diesel
Diesel goes one step better

Diesel goes one step better

- by Garth Cambray

Many of us remember the diesel fuel vehicles of old - slow, stinky vehicles that spewed black smoke as they rattled and shook along. Since the early 1990's this has all changed with the gradual replacement of the diesel fleet with newer technology turbo-charged diesel engine vehicles. New turbo-charged diesel engine vehicles offer the low revolution tractor like-torque (that is why diesels are renowned for their trailer and caravan towing ability) and now have increased power to match their petrol-powered rivals at higher revs.

This advance in engine technology drove a need for advances in diesel fuel technology. Sulphur, which is a harmful component in diesel fuel, has for many years been present at high concentrations in South African diesel fuel. For South African consumers this has changed. Sasol Oil (Pty) Ltd, the subsidiary in the Sasol group responsible for the marketing of a wide range of modern fuels and lubricants, has introduced Sasol TurboDiesel™ into the South African fuel market.

New regulations in South Africa require an 80% reduction of sulphur content in diesel as compared against pre 2002 diesel sulphur levels. As fuel market leaders, Sasol has launched its new Sasol TurboDiesel™ brand. This diesel fuel exceeds even international performance requirements and is a first for the South African market. Sasol TurboDiesel™ has gone beyond the new South African legislative requirements of 0.3% sulphur content enforced from 1 January 2002, by guaranteeing a diesel with a maximum sulphur content of only 0.05%.

Sulphur in diesel contributes towards the formation of the acid rain causing and lung-damaging pollutant, sulphur dioxide. It is also directly related to the amount of soot formation in a diesel engine and hence also the amount of particulates introduced into the atmosphere. In addition to polluting the atmosphere, these chemicals pollute the vehicle's engine itself: causing changes in the lubricating oil composition as well as the poisoning of the exhaust treatment catalysts, degrading their performance. In the long term, these chemical changes reduce the efficiency of the oil, meaning a need for frequent oil changes. Low sulphur fuels, such as Sasol TurboDiesel™ extend the life-span of the oil as it is not degraded as quickly. Longer oil-change intervals translate to direct savings of time and resources.

Sasol TurboDiesel™ will bring immediate improvement in the gaseous exhaust emissions from diesel engines and the effect will be particularly important in vehicle applications such as school buses, city buses, under-ground mines and refuse removal. Sasol TurboDiesel™ ensures a 45 - 70% reduction in potentially harmful exhaust emissions and an 80% reduction in sulphur dioxide, a primary cause of breathing difficulties. This decrease in sulphur content also translates into increased efficiency of exhaust treatment catalysts, which in turn translates into a cleaner atmosphere and hence less health-related costs.

This reduction will be noticed by vehicle drivers and pedestrians alike who will benefit from a cleaner environment.

Sasol TurboDiesel™ is dyed purple for ease of identification. This unique new diesel product has been designed and developed to benefit all categories of diesel users - from a new generation, hi-performance turbo-charged diesel passenger car, to sports utility vehicles, light delivery vehicles (bakkies), trucks and earth moving machines.

Future advances in diesel engine technology are being made possible by low sulphur fuels and Sasol TurboDiesel™ is making it possible for South African consumers to benefits from these advances. Products of sulphur formed during the combustion of fuel are either problematic foulants or corrosive. Advances in exhaust gas treatment technology have given us the catalytic converter for petrol vehicles. Such technologies are not yet available in most diesel vehicles due among other reasons to fouling problems. Promising technologies developed for chimney stacks have revolved around ceramic particulate filters and catalytic systems. A major stumbling block in the development of these technologies to complement diesel engines has been the high levels of sulphur and of sooty particulates which rapidly foul emission reduction systems. To reduce the particulates one has to reduce their causes, the major being fuel sulphur content. The provision of low sulphur fuels by market leaders such as Sasol, paves the way for the development of Africa relevant emission reduction systems.


Editorial: As diesel vehicle owners we are pleased to note the following list of benefits of the new Sasol TurboDiesel™

-improved engine performance;
-longer engine life;
-extended oil change intervals;
-and a cleaner environment.

The savings resulting from using better fuel will save a pickup truck/bakkie owner about R4500 (US$370) every 30000km. The use of low sulphur fuel in combination with a used oil monitoring programme increases the oil change interval from 7500km to 15000km (For vehicle's still under warrantee the marketer must be consulted before drain intervals are extended). For a small business with one vehicle, this represents a 50% reduction in days lost to vehicle maintenance.

In some ways this new fuel will be like a better bottle of wine for a car - it causes less wear and tear than plonk, the headache will be much lighter than with plonk, the mood better and the bouquet terrific.

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