Colombia counts on EURO 6/VI

A very important result of VERT retrofit activities 2012-2015

Zurich, 29.07.2019 - After Chile, Colombia as second south American country has introduced the strict European EURO 6/VI emissions standard.  The corresponding law was signed on 18 July. It stipulates that as of January 2023, no vehicles may be sold that do not comply with at least Euro 6/VI concerning limit values and OBD (On-board diagnostics) requirements while emphasizing the elimination of emissions of ultrafine particles harmful to health. It also demands, as a unique feature, that from 2035 onwards no vehicle may be operated in Colombia that does not meet this standard.

These new laws in Chile and Colombia stem from the fact that VERT has been running projects to retrofit buses and construction machinery with particulate filters in Santiago/Chile since 2004 and in Bogotá/Colombia since 2012. Since 2008, the large fleet of public transport buses in Santiago has been equipped with approx. 6,000 particulate filters and in Bogotá, which is particularly vulnerable to emissions due to its altitude (> 2,600 m above sea level), binding rules for retrofitting buses were passed in 2015. The new law, however, now applies nationwide.

Colombia is also planning periodic inspections of the quality of diesel particulate filters, which is a very important conclusion from studies carried out by VERT with partners in Chile, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Belgium (2015-2018) showing that up to ten percent of the tested particulate filters may be defective. 

As part of an initiative by VERT ("New Periodical Technical Inspection", NPTI), new mobile measuring instruments were recently introduced. The new testing procedure makes it possible to determine by a very simple PN-tailpipe measurement at idle speed whether a diesel particulate filter is defective ( Several countries in Europe, including the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany, are now introducing this new particulate filter check. The introduction is planned in other countries.

"We see the law in Colombia as a groundbreaking step to ensure that stricter emission standards also apply in South America," emphasizes Andreas Mayer, Scientific Officer of the Swiss VERT Association (Verification of Emission Control Technology; "It is excellent that the periodic inspections of the filters are also planned. Colombia is thus on par with Europe." VERT is calling on the other countries in South America to follow Colombia's and Chile´s example.

In the VERT Association manufacturers of diesel particulate filters, catalytic converters and measuring instruments are united. VERT is committed to reducing air pollutants using best available technology. VERT member companies retrofit buses, trucks, construction machinery, ships, locomotives, and stationary power generation systems with exhaust reduction technology.

The Euro 6 and Euro VI emission regulations are the standards of the European Union. They apply to vehicles with Diesel and also with gasoline engines. The regulations set limit values for air pollutants such as CO, NOx, particulate matter (PM) and number of particles (PN) that vehicles may emit.  The limit values have now been adopted by Korea and China. They will also come into force in India from January 2020. Latin America, too, is now relying on the European environmental standards for combustion engines, while the U.S.A. has not tightened the limit values by limiting the number of particles and is therefore not forcing particulate filters, Andreas Mayer says. „So Europe is now for the first time ahead of the U.S.A. concerning the emission quality of vehicles.“