Alfa Laval helps China "Winning the blue sky war"

Trucks featuring a new twist on de Laval’s original milk separator can help China win its fight against air pollution.

DATE 2023-11-28 AUTHOR David Landes PHOTO Dukai

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More than a century after Gustaf de Laval’s famed milk separator revolutionized the dairy industry in the 1880s, a new application of the same technology is playing a key role in China’s efforts to meet ambitious climate targets.

Originally used to separate milk from cream, de Laval’s centrifugal separation technology has stood the test of time, proving effective in several other applications such as brewing, microbiology, and water treatment.

The technology is now also found in millions of diesel engines, thanks to Alfdex crankcase separators, considered the industry standard for helping reduce harmful emissions from heavy trucks.

Alfdex crankcases’ rotating conical disc stacks separate oil and soot from dirty crankcase gases, helping optimize performance while also preventing dirty gases with harmful particles from being emitted into the atmosphere. And reducing the amount of dirty gases in the atmosphere has become a top priority in China, which is both the world’s largest market for heavy trucks, and the planet’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, accounting for nearly 30 percent of global carbon emissions.

The country’s air quality – especially in dense urban areas – has suffered, so in July 2018 the government launched a new three-year action plan for “Winning the Blue Sky War” by tackling the country’s emissions problem and improving air quality.

Reducing emissions from diesel-fuelled heavy trucks is one of many measures spelled out in the action plan, which aims to cut harmful sulphur and nitrogen emissions by at least 15 percent from 2015 levels.

New regulations that took effect on July 1, 2019 are expected to result in the replacement of roughly one million heavy trucks that fail to comply with the higher standards. While some trucks with Alfdex separators can already be found on China’s roads, that number is expected to increase rapidly to meet a growing demand for cleaner diesel engines. And doing so will put de Laval’s original innovation on the frontline of China’s blue sky war.

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PRODUCT - Centrifugal separation

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The centrifugal separator was the technology on which Alfa Laval was originally founded in 1883. After first revolutionizing the dairy industry by separating cream form milk, the technology was introduced to the marine industry in 1917 to separate oil from water. By 1945, centrifugal separators were used in dozens of industries and in scientific research. Since then, Alfa Laval separator technology have been developed even further to separate particles and liquid droplets from gas and can now be found in millions of diesel truck engines around the world. And now the technology is set to play an important role in fighting air pollution China. 

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