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Technology

Epura : Performance report

By 25 Aug 2023August 28th, 2023No Comments

Introduction

In November 2021, Propulsa Innovations retained the services of Groupe Alphard for technical assistance to carry out an economic and environmental performance study, in addition to a study on the viability of adopting a circular business model used for commercialization. of the two (2) applications of the Épura system, i.e. cabin and engine.

Background

Propulsa Innovations has designed a self-cleaning filtration system called Epura, which has two (2) applications; clean the air in operator cabins and engines. This unique and patented system almost 100% reduces the need to replace the original filters. It should be noted that this system is ideal for vehicles that operate in dusty environments.

Epura technology is installed upstream of the filtration systems supplied by the vehicle manufacturer and has the effect of increasing the lifespan of the filters and therefore of offering both financial and environmental advantages for the user, who will see, among other things, the frequency of replacement of used filters decrease considerably. Under certain conditions, the use of the Epura system completely eliminates the need to change engine filters and cabin filters.

In addition, the system helps extend the life of equipment and the performance of the engines fitted with it. In fact, a clogged filter generates a 10% to 25% increase in fuel consumption, which accentuates the emission of contaminants into the atmosphere, including additional greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.1 This increase fuel consumption is caused by several factors, mainly clogging of the engine and the exhaust pipes.

As for the air filtration system in operator cabins, its use helps maintain healthy working conditions and protects their health. The system allows the operator to monitor the status of the system at all times, while providing them with a dust-free environment thanks to the pressurization of the cabin.

Epura cabin and engine applications are currently being sold to customers. However, in an effort to reduce the environmental footprint associated with the manufacture and operation of these filtration applications, as well as to develop a competitive advantage, in terms of supply and in its niche, Propulsa Innovations is considering a new model which would be based on the sale of the performance in use of the applications of the Epura system, that is to say the filtration function, and not on the sale of the system itself. As a result, Propulsa Innovations could move away from the logic of volumes in order to adopt a differentiated model based on the service-product couple.

It should therefore be noted that the adoption of this model implies that Propulsa Innovations remains the owner of the system applications. The new offer could consist of, but is not limited to, the rental of the filtration service which could be accompanied by other services aimed at improving and maintaining the filtration performance required by the equipment.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

This business model, known as the Functional Economy, would allow Propulsa Innovations to reduce its environmental impact, because:

  • Propulsa Innovations remains the owner of the equipment once sold, the company will be concerned with manufacturing robust, durable, and easily repairable goods, which translates into a reduction in the consumption of resources to create as much or more profit than that obtained by the sales volume model (linear economy).
    There is, therefore, a dematerialization of the company’s activities, and therefore a clear improvement in its environmental impact. It should be noted that the saving in materials and energy translates into a reduction in GHG emissions and the environmental footprint.
  • Propulsa Innovations thus internalizes some of its company’s externalities by adopting this model. As a vendor of the performance service, the company could take over management of end-of-life systems formerly managed by the customer. The reverse logistics model would allow Propulsa Innovations to reuse parts of end-of-life systems to manufacture new equipment to be put into service under this model. Thus, Propulsa Innovations acts on the first two “R” of the 3RV hierarchy, namely Reduction of consumption at source and Reuse / Reuse.

By diversifying its offer with the Usage Performance offer to its customers, Propulsa Innovations adopts the general principles of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR):

  • Sustainable practices : Operational initiatives such as the reduction of the environmental footprint, thanks to energy efficiency or the optimization of processes, as well as the reduction of waste.
  • Strategic transformation : global transformation of a company’s strategy or business model so that social or environmental objectives are integrated into priorities.

Goals

In order to confirm the advantages of the applications of the Epura system, the company Propulsa Innovations wishes, with the support of Groupe Alphard, to evaluate the environmental and economic performance of the said applications of the system. More specifically, here are the hypotheses to be assessed:

  • Reduced consumption of materials and resources, and economic gains:
    • Fuel consumption;
    • Engine and cabin filter cartridges;
    • motor oil;
    • maintenance parts and repairs;
    • Availability of “downtime” equipment;
    • Reduced maintenance costs.
  • Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition, it was agreed to analyze the evolution of telemetry tools (4.0 technology) installed in the Epura system applications in order to estimate that this technology will allow Propulsa Innovations to monitor and ensure the performance and proper use of the system.

Restrictions

Analysis scenario

The study of the performance of the cabin and engine applications is carried out at a Propulsa Innovations client, Rio Tinto. In the scenario chosen to carry out the application performance study, Groupe Alphard analyzed two (2) excavators simultaneously. These applications are installed on a Komatsu PC138 excavator working in port facilities.

In order to obtain more reliable results, this study could have considered other types of equipment, and included more than one customer from more than one industry. However, this would have increased the costs of the study and required the cooperation of more parties. The study conditions are considered acceptable.

Fuel consumption

The initial objective of this study included the quantification of the impact of the use of Epura filters on the fuel consumption.

The constraints of access to vehicle operating parameters, fuel quantity measurement precision and data confidentiality were encountered during the study. In addition, the evaluation of fuel consumption requires controlled conditions in order to isolate the various variables, such as ambient temperature, level and type of dust, driving style and use of equipment, condition of the vehicle being tested. Conditions favorable to this evaluation were not found in the scenario and client chosen.

The result is that this quantification of the impacts of filtration technology on fuel consumption could not be carried out. A more detailed quantification which would be the subject of another study is envisaged by Propulsa Innovations.

Telemetry

The use of a telemetry system would allow Propulsa Innovations to ensure the performance and proper use of the installed applications. This system can be used in particular to collect and analyze fuel consumption data and thus quantify in real time the reductions in consumption and GHG emissions related to the Epura system.

Propulsa Innovations currently uses a data storage system to compile and analyze its data. The company is in the process of selecting an efficient telemetry system, which should be operational within a year. Propulsa Innovations is currently in sale mode for its Epura system.

The performance and monitoring and maintenance put option, in which Propulsa Innovations would retain ownership of the system, is in the company’s plans.

Data analysis

In this section, data related to resource consumption, economic gains and GHG emissions will be analyzed.

Reduced resource consumption and economic gains

The use of Epura system applications has an impact on the consumption of three (3) major categories of materials and resources, namely fuel, filter cartridges, and engine oil. As mentioned previously, fuel consumption will not be analyzed in this study.

A fourth category of materials and resources will include other miscellaneous costs related to the use of the Epura system. These costs include maintenance parts for repair, costs of subcontracting work, and costs of lost boat time (demurrage).

Engine and cabin filter cartridges

Using the Epura system on a Komatsu PC138 excavator has shown significant savings in engine and cabin filter cartridges. In addition, it reduces the use of maintenance labor, inventory management, purchasing management, and disposal. This excavator is used to load material into a ship’s hold.
The following table presents the annual savings for engine and cabin by category :

Annual savings related to engine and cabin filter changes
Annual savings on filter changes when using Epura engine and cabin

Since the use of Epura systems avoids having to change the filters during the year, all the above costs can be saved on an annual basis, for a total of $60,560 per year. More detailed tables of costs associated with engine and cabin filters are presented in the end.

Motor oil

Changing engine filters also includes labor costs and fees related to engine oil, which will also be saved with the use of the Epura system. These costs include the following categories :

Annual savings related to motor oil
Annual savings related to motor oil when using Epura engine and cabin

Other costs

The time dedicated to replacing the filters of the engine and the cabin of the excavator generates a nonnegligible indirect cost for Rio Tinto, namely the costs of demurrage linked to the unloading of the boats. The number of hours lost per vessel is three (3) hours during the year, for a total annual cost of $60,000. Since the use of the Epura system avoids this loss of time, the costs of demurrage are saved.

Second, cabin filters usually cause premature wear of the air conditioner due to dust accumulation. The costs related to the repair of the air conditioner, including the subcontracting of the work, the management costs and the loss of time of the machine add up to $2,540 per year.

In total, the use of the Epura system on a Komatsu PC138 excavator generates an annual saving of $126,785, including the avoidance of several hours of loss of machine time and management and maintenance manpower. The consumption of engine filters, cabin filters and engine oil is also eliminated.

Reduction in greenhouse gas emissions

The data available during this performance study does not allow us to perform a detailed calculation of the reduction of GHG emissions related to the Epura system. However, it is possible state that the system will actually reduce GHG emissions. Since the intake restriction is less, the engine can run more efficiently and generate fewer air emissions. In fact, as mentioned above, the use of the Epura system avoids engine fouling, which in turn avoids overconsumption of fuel by 10% to 25%.

Other environmental benefits

In addition, the overall environmental impact is reduced when using the Epura system. This avoids changing engine filters and cabin filters, in addition to reducing engine oil consumption, thus generating less residual materials. The Epura system itself is made of aluminum and is 100% recyclable.

Total annual engine filter costs

Annual engine filter cost for a Komatsu PC138

Total annual cabin filter costs

Interested in learning more about our Epura systems? Please contact us for more information.