Mission Emissions

Mission Emissions
Mission Emissions

Emissions 101

Everything you need to know about emissions standards, past, present and future.

Caterpillar’s team of global emissions experts has a very big job: To understand what’s happening around the world (so the rest of us don’t have to). That makes them ideal to provide a high-level look at the emissions landscape — where things stand today, how far we’ve come and where we might be headed. We asked the team to answer some common questions about emissions standards. These are their thoughts.

When did emissions standards come in to play?


For nonroad mobile machinery (wheeled and tracked equipment and mobile gen sets), it was the mid-1990s. The U.S. and Europe led the way, establishing “tiers” or “stages.” Japan adopted comparable standards soon after. In the 2000s, other countries began to implement their own. Many jumped in around U.S. EPA Tier 3 levels and stayed there. Going further requires aftertreatment, which requires the use of ultra-low-sulfur diesel. Many countries don’t have that fuel available nationwide.

Read up on three ways to reduce time, costs and frustration with Caterpillar when it comes to Cat emissions redesigns.

How to overcome obstacles in emissions redesigns.

New stages or tiers of emissions standards require product redesigns to accommodate a new engine. It can be costly, time-consuming and frankly burdensome. But you don’t have to go it alone. With Caterpillar as your engine supplier, we tailor our support to your needs with three levels of consultation services.

  • Level 1. Advice and Expertise
  • Level 2. Design Collaboration
  • Level 3. Complete Design, Installation and Testing

Keep Reading

What do these standards cover?


It differs by country, but generally speaking, nonroad emissions standards cover engines powering nonroad mobile machinery, emergency and non-emergency stationary units, rail applications and marine vessels. They aim to bring down emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx), hydrocarbons (HC), carbon monoxide (CO) and particulate matter (PM).

When it comes to emissions and Diesel Particulate Filters (DPFs), not all diesel regeneration systems are created equal. Three things to know.

Engine aftertreatment: What should you ask?

Good question. Getting the facts about validation, load requirements, installation guidelines and transparency will help you choose the most durable engine option for your equipment. When talking with engine suppliers, there are four more good questions about aftertreatment you’ll want to ask:

  1. Have you done testing in my application?
  2. Is there a minimum duty or load factor required?
  3. What are your installing guidelines?
  4. How transparent is your regeneration?

Find out more

What are the standards today?


EU Stage V standards went into effect in January 2019, making Europe the world leader in stringency. The U.S., Canada, Japan and South Korea are at Tier 4 Final levels. The rest of the world is a mix. Looking at larger countries, Brazil, China, India and Turkey are all at levels comparable to Tier 3. Saudi Arabia is at a Tier 1 level. The majority of other countries are unregulated. Keep in mind this is a general overview — in some cases, different standards apply across different power categories or engine families.

When it comes to emissions and Diesel Particulate Filters (DPFs), not all diesel regeneration systems are created equal. Three things to know.

Not all diesel regeneration systems are created equal. Three things to know.

Spoiler Alert: You’re going to be hearing a lot about Diesel Particular Filters (DPFs). EU Stage V emissions standards are driving the use of such aftertreatment devices, and with many manufacturers aiming to offer one platform globally, you’ll find them in more than just European markets. When weighing your DPF options, there are a few key things to keep in mind:

  1. Not All Regeneration Systems are Created Equal
  2. Choose a System that Favors Operators
  3. Telematics, Genuine Cat Parts and Fluids Matter

Dig In

How far have emissions dropped since the 1960s?


Comparing Tier 1 to Tier 4 Final, there’s been a 96% drop in both NOx and PM. The levels we’re hitting today are very, very low. It’s often said that in terms of PM, the air coming out of a Tier 4 Final engine is cleaner than the air you breathe in some larger cities. Aftertreatment has reduced HC and CO emissions to virtually nothing. Now it’s all about reducing NOx even further — and that will depend on the development of new technology.

Cat Stage V Engines. The most comprehensive range around.

Cat Stage V Engines. The most comprehensive range around.

High performance. Low operating costs. You’ll want to click below for the full scoop on the full lineup of Cat Stage V Engines, but know this: Cat engines are built around customers’ needs to meet emissions standards without ever sacrificing performance. Oh yeah, and they’re all fully supported by your local Cat dealer.

Learn More

What’s next for emissions?

It’s hard to predict the future, for obvious reasons. But that being said, here’s what we estimate right now:

  • U.S. has no plans beyond Tier 4 Final, but new standards are expected back on the agenda at some point.
  • China implemented Nonroad Stage IV standards in 2020.
  • Japan and South Korea are likely to align with Stage V in the next 2-3 years.
  • Turkey has said it will move to Stage IV levels by 2021.
  • India intends to align with Stage V in 2024.
  • Brazil and Chile are expected to move to Tier 4 Final standards in 2023-2024.
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In-person, online, by phone or Carrier Pigeons (no judgment here) – your local Cat dealer is ready to support your total emissions needs. All you have to do is find the one closest to you.

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