TREM Stage-IV: How India’s New Emission Standards are Impacting the Off-highway space

TREM Stage-IV: How India’s New Emission Standards are Impacting the Off-highway space

TREM Stage-IV: How India’s New Emission Standards are Impacting the Off-highway space

Jan 20, 2023
Posted by Sreehari Kumar, Senior Manager, Commercial Engine Oils (India & Middle East)

The commercial vehicle sector in India is set for a rapid change, driven by two very significant pieces of legislation:
• Existing emission standards of Bharat Stage (BS) VI in 2020
• TREM Stage IV & V emission standards, which impact the off-highway sector

In India, the commercial vehicle engine oil business contributes almost 60% to the total automotive engine oil demand, and so the above-mentioned changes will have a considerable impact on the overall engine lubricant performance quality requirements.

The introduction of India’s new off-highway emission norms stretches wider than it first appears. To meet these new emissions regulations, vehicles operating in India will undergo a step change with respect to engine oil quality.

Following in the footsteps of Bharat Stage (BS) VI emission standards for on-highway vehicles, the Indian government’s commitment to improving air quality has led to the adoption of stricter emission standards for construction equipment vehicles, agricultural tractors, and combine harvesters. 

Emission standards for non-road vehicles were first introduced in India in 1999. The latest, TREM Stage-IV, was introduced on Jan. 1, 2023 ([F. No. RT-11028/22/2016-MVL]). TREM Stage-V is expected to be introduced in April 2024, although the date is yet to be finalized. These new emission standards include stringent limits on particulate matter (PM), nitrogen oxide (NOx), hydrocarbon (HC), and carbon monoxide (CO). This reinforces the government’s commitment to significantly reduce new diesel engine non-road equipment emissions.

TREM Stage-IV emission standard will affect engines above 50 horsepower (hp) rating. From a tractor standpoint, 7-8% of sales have engine capacities above this threshold. Having said that, as per a recent report from ICRA, it is expected that this transition to new emission norms will lead to a market adjustment in tractors hp-wise. This possibility will lead to aligning the portfolio, with tractors offering higher torque at lower HP being added to the portfolio. This would mean basically 41-50 hp segment gaining share.

A similar legislation impact was seen in the construction equipment sector through the adoption of CEV Stage-IV, however, unlike tractors, the majority in the CEV segment is likely to be over 50 hp.

To meet the new TREM Stage-IV emission standard, farm tractor original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) would need to make changes in a number of different ways across the powertrain, and emission control techniques to improve system efficiency and compliance. These hardware changes will result in engines working under relatively higher stress, which leads to higher operating temperatures and pressures, all of which will have an impact on the engine lubricant as a component.

For the TREM Stage V emission standard, proposed for introduction in 2024, the fitting of diesel particulate filters (DPFs) is expected as the way to meet the stricter PM limits, alongside alternative after-treatment devices such as Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) in combination with EGR systems. These changes will again have an impact on the engine lubricant.

Table 1: TREM Stage IV Applicable emission limit for Non-Road Steady Cycle (NRSC) and Non-Road Transient Cycle (NRTC test cycle) 

Table 1 TREM Stage IV

Table 2: TREM Stage V Applicable emission limit for Non-Road Steady Cycle (NRSC) and Non-Road Transient Cycle (NRTC test cycle) 

Table 2 TREM Stage V

Source: Government of India: Ministry of Road Transport and Highways 

Our View

The adoption of the new generation TREM Stage-IV and proposed TREM Stage-V emission standards, coupled with the challenging operating conditions in India, will require higher-performance lubricants. 

TREM Stage-IV norms present a unique opportunity to move to higher performance, higher value lubricants and represent an opportunity for oil marketers to differentiate and grow value, driving changes in the majority of India’s new farm tractor and construction equipment vehicles. The drive to lower emissions and higher efficiencies means the engine lubricant will be required to deliver significantly greater levels of performance than it does today.

Lastly, there is a continuous focus on increasing the fuel efficiency and it will not be long before we see legislation mandating fuel economy in the off-highway sector. Engine oils act as an enabler in this era of efficiency, with the right technology supporting hardware upgrades without compromising on durability.

In the next article, we discuss how the TREM Stage IV and V emission standards impact the engine lubricant's performance requirements.

For more information, contact your Lubrizol Representative. 

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