Special Coverage

SAE World Congress

DETROIT – French material-supplier Saint-Gobain SA introduces its new SG4 high-porosity diesel particulate filter substrate, which it says can lower initial backpressure and handle increased soot-loading.

John Eubanks, North American account manager, says the SG4 DPF’s silicon carbide structure and asymmetric cell design allows the filter to handle temperatures up to 2,912° F (1,600° C) and operate in nearly any environment.

“It’s the hex design that improves the open frontal area, so we have a larger capacity for ash storage and for soot,” he tells Ward’s at the 2009 SAE World Congress here. “So under the very demanding conditions of heavy-duty trucks and off-road (applications), this is the type of filter you want to have.”

Saint-Gobain makes DPF filters for European commercial and passenger vehicles and is trying to make headway into the U.S. heavy-duty and off-road trucking market.

While business is brisk in diesel-heavy Europe, it’s been slow in the U.S., Eubanks says, noting the company expects growth here with new diesel regulations coming in 2014.

“By 2014, anything with a diesel engine in the U.S. will be required to have a diesel particulate filter,” he says. “Right now, only heavy-duty trucks are required to have them. No off-road or marine (diesel engines) have any type of filtration on them.

“The regulations that are coming require DPFs for things like off-road diggers and trenchers and back hoes. So we’re getting approved for those.”

Despite the dearth of diesel passenger cars in the U.S., Eubanks says his company expects the market to see a 6.5% penetration rate by next year.

Once diesels start to gain popularity here, the SG4 DPF will boost performance and help the vehicles meet strict emissions standards.

“It lowers back pressure, so engine out-performance characteristics are better,” he says. “And it has higher catalyst-loading properties, so you can get better transfer of material and gasses through the filter.”

Saint-Gobain already is at work on the SG6 DPF, which focuses on improved surface texturation, says Damien Mey, research-and-development engineer.

“The benefit is to better spread wash coats and improve durability and aging resistance,” Mey tells Ward’s. “That’s been under development for a good year, but the prototypes need to be validated.”