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DPF: Diesel Particulate Filter or Dangerous Potential Fire?

A device that reduces 99% of pollution from diesel engine exhaust has been under scrutiny for causing spontaneous truck fires. Diesel particulate filters (DPF), thought of as an environmental asset, have even been required by the state of California since 2007. However, for the second time, a group of California trucking companies has filed a lawsuit against the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The truckers claim that the so-called pollution preventer is causing dangerous truck fires.

Fire on All Cylinders

Approximately one million trucks in the state of California have a DPF, and those trucks travel all over the nation. One of those trucks used to belong to Kieth Daniels, but this time last year, he watched his 2009 Peterbilt truck burn to the frame in only eight minutes. Just moments before it spontaneously erupted into flames, Daniels pulled into a truck stop to use the restroom. As he walked back, he saw his beloved truck go up in flames.

Courtesy of NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit

“I feel fortunate I was out of it and didn’t get burned,” said Daniels. “I could’ve been in the sleeper taking a nap and then taken over by smoke.”

It is suspected that the truck fires start during the DPF’s regeneration process. This cleaning process burns all the captured soot in the filter into a fine ash. However, the exact cause of the fires is difficult to isolate because all evidence is consumed by the heat of the exhaust.

Where There’s Smoke…

The Chief of Enforcement at the California Air Resources Board, Todd Sax, claims that the agency is positive that DPFs are safe. However, warranty claims data from the California Air Resources Board showed a high failure rate for DPFs made between the years of 2007 and 2011. Failure rates range from 40% in 2007 to 4% percent in 2011.

According to Sax, manufacturers have not taken corrective action, and faulty parts can still be found on trucks today. These filters are not only potentially hazardous for truck drivers, but for those who share the road with them. In one instance, a filter fire erupted into a 5,000 acre Monastery fire that destroyed 29 homes in Washington.

DPF: Friend or Foe?

As stated earlier, DPFs have been proven to prevent 99% of the harmful soot and pollution produced by diesel engines from being released into the atmosphere. Preventing pollution is a positive thing, since the pollution from diesel exhaust has been shown to cause lung cancer, asthma, premature death, and other health problems. However, since these devices are potentially linked to dangerous truck fires, DPFs are obviously not the best option with regards to pollution prevention.

As a safe, environmentally friendly alternative, use a combustion catalyst fuel additive. AXI International’s AFC allows fuel to be combusted fully, therefore preventing pollution, in the form of unburned fuel, from being released into the atmosphere. Additionally, AFC will improve fuel economy, increase horsepower, add engine lubricity, and extend DEF and UREA lifespan. To learn more about AFC, give AXI International a call today.