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How to Lower Fuel Costs and Reduce Regens

Learn how DCARB’s innovative solutions lower fuel costs and reduce regens.

Episode 180: Fuel costs are at an all-time high and ongoing issues with forced regens continue to cause fleets to have unscheduled downtime. Is there one solution that addresses both issues?

My guest today is Matt Bailey the CEO of DCARB USA, and he talks to us about DCARB’s solution to lower fuel costs in fleets.  

Matt Bailey headshot, and DCARB logo. In this episode, learn how DCARB’s innovative solutions lower fuel costs and reduce regens.

Matt Bailey is a “Passionate ‘diesel-head’, 3rd Generation Diesel Injection and turbocharger professional. He spent the early part of his career as a Mechanical Engineer on large frame diesel generators around the Pacific, Caribbean, and Central America. Moved over to management and now is the CEO of DCARB USA pioneering innovative solutions to alleviate cost, maintenance, and emissions headaches of operating diesel fleets. 

Guest Website: DCARB.com

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Transcript of Episode:

Jamie Irvine:

You are listening to The Heavy-Duty Parts Report. I’m your host, Jamie Irvine. And this is the show where you get expert advice about heavy-duty parts that keeps trucks and trailers on the road longer while lowering cost-per-mile.

Fuel costs are at an all time high. I’m sure you’re personally experiencing that. And of when we think of the commercial trucking industry, there has been ongoing issues with diesel emission systems and we think of trucks and I’ve heard so many people talking about forced regens and all the challenges that go along with the diesel emission service. So is there one solution that would address both of those problems? Is that just too good to be true or we’re gonna find out today? My guest is Matt Bailey, the CEO at DCARB USA. He’s a passionate diesel-head, third generation diesel injection and turbocharger professional. And he spent the early part of his career as a mechanical engineer. So this is the man that we need to talk to. Matt, welcome to The Heavy-Duty Parts Report of so glad to have you here.

Matt Bailey:

Yeah. Thank you so much, Jamie. It’s a pleasure.

Jamie Irvine:

So first of all, what is DCARB? Give us the low down on what that stands for?

Matt Bailey:

Yeah, sure. So, I mean, obviously it stands for decarbonization within the engine itself and so after DCARB products, we actually have a number of different services and we take a very innovative approach in, into how we do things differently. And then obviously we actually package them up in a preventative maintenance program that sort of prescribed by fleet and their requirements.

Jamie Irvine:

All right. So let’s talk a little bit about a couple of the benefits that we were alluding to in our intro, because these are real issues. So let’s start with fuel, how much fuel savings are you able to achieve and how do you get there?

Matt Bailey:

Yeah, sure. So generally speaking, and I mean this really depends on the fleet and particularly the engines application at the moment. And so we typically see much stronger results in applications where they’re stop start and they’re stuck in traffic a lot, garbage trucks, school buses, they will typically see numbers around the 10 to 12%. And then even down to over the road trucking, we usually see numbers in the five to 7% window.

Jamie Irvine:

I mean, that’s not insignificant. I mean, obviously 10 and 12 is better, but even 5% when you’re doing a lot of miles, that’s a lot of diesel that you’re saving. So that does add up. So give us a little more detail of what you’re actually doing for these fleets and how you’re getting those fuel savings.

Matt Bailey:

Sure. And so we sort of package up three really different services and we obviously prescribe how much we do of each based on the fleets requirements. The first one, and I guess the most innovative approach that we take, is that we actually do a lot with hydrogen. And so we’re all aware that diesel is a hydrocarbon and obviously we burn a lot of the hydrogen and most of the carbon, but as we can see anybody who’s opened up an engine or even looked inside an exhaust stack, we’ll see there’s a ton of carbon that still remains within the engine frame. And so we do a couple of different services with the hydrogen. We can produce hydrogen, we call it DCARB as a service. So effectively we flood the engine with hydrogen and that actually will bond with the carbon that’s inside the engine frame and just cause a low energy hydrocarbon that can just simply get burnt off and exit the exhaust as CO2 and H2O, which is really neat.

So, I remember being quite the skeptic when I first came to the company a couple of years ago, you see so many problems with DPFs and, you know, particularly the whole aftertreatment system. And even in some instances, you’ll see some issues with the carbon buildup on the intake side, but there’s so little thought and consideration given to the actual carbon buildup that inside the engine frame itself. And it’s been exacerbated so much by low NOx. You know that chasing of low NOx has meant that cylinder temperatures are lower, that cylinder pressures are lower. And as a result, these carbons allowed to really build up and it impacts things like piston ring lands, and therefore you get more blow by and a loss of efficiency. It impacts things like your intake valves and exhaust valves and the airflow.

It also impacts the nozzles and the atomization and the fuel around the cylinder. So it doesn’t take long, like it’s very much compounding issue that creates within the engine frame itself. And so by doing that particular service, and then we usually bundle that up in a preventative maintenance program with a whole aftertreatment system, like a, basically a refurbish, we go back and basically remanufacture that whole system so that we know now that the exhaust system is completely clean to carbon and it’s flowing properly and it’s doing what it’s meant to do. But then also the engine frame is now free of carbon. It’s now performing better. It’s now breathing better. It’s now itemizing better. It’s producing less particulate in the first place. So there’s less for the DPF to do and those two things start compounding and spiraling up and we start seeing some pretty significant results for our clients.

Jamie Irvine:

Let’s talk a little bit more about that diesel emissions system component, because we’ve talked a lot about that on this show, and we’ve had many people come and share their expertise. But one thing that I have heard repeatedly is that the DPF is often just the thing that’s signaling what’s going on somewhere else in the system. And it sounds to me like by addressing the engine and the aftertreatment system, we’re getting rid of all those upstream problems. Is that how you’re helping fleets reduce like the situation where there’s a forced regen?

Matt Bailey:

Yeah. Massively, it’s a real bug bear of mine. Like I’m a super practical sort of guy, and I’m also really passionate about diesel and the way in which the fleet operators have been impacted by this stuff, it’s really quite significant. And I’m also passionate about environment and emission standards. So I think it’s sort of something that was necessary, but I think as we’ve sort of 10 years down the path now we’ve seen, you know, we originally started with a diesel combustion engine frame, right. And then we added exhaust gas circulation, and then we added oxidization catalysts and then we added a DPF and then we added an SCR and all of these things, they’re independent systems that act independent of each other. And they’re basically a bandaid solution slapped on top of another, on top of another, on top of another and our solution because we’re utilizing the hydrogen, we’re really hitting it more at the combustion level. Like we’re talking, chemistry here really, and we’re impacting that at a root cause rather than trying to slap bandaids and deal with the solutions later on.

Jamie Irvine:

We’re gonna do take a quick break. We’ll be right back. Don’t have a heavy-duty part number and need to look up a part? Go to parts.diesellaptops.com or download the app on Apple or Android to create your free account. Looking for high-quality fuel injection for heavy duty applications? Having one supplier for fuel injection allows you to better serve customers by providing them with a complete line, which increases your sales and profitability. Learn more at ambacinternational.com/aftermarket. We’re back from our break. And before the break, we were talking about decarbonization and the solution that’s offered by DCARB USA and some of the benefits that fleets have been enjoying, including lower fuel consumption, and also avoiding problems with the diesel emission system. I’d like to talk more on the maintenance side of things. So like what mistakes are you seeing fleets make with their maintenance programs and how do we avoid those mistakes?

Matt Bailey:

Look, I think the biggest thing is that there is a lack of data. There’s a lot of fleet owners out there that they will try certain things, but there there’s a lack of data that’s backing up and supporting that evidence. And I think one thing that we’re really pushing towards is that data analytically approach, so that we are dealing with the solutions, we’re doing tests, and then we’re doing a very strong comparative, and we’re basically, you know, getting a strong before and after to validate the results. And, and so when we think about the overall solution for the fleets, I mean, obviously the market’s becoming exceptionally competitive. We’re entering a really destabilized time where fuel prices are soaring already, and it’s only sort of been 24 hours. And so these types of things are going to be more and more important as things move on in the progressing months. And so from our point of view, data is absolutely the one thing that we see the least of in the marketplace.

Jamie Irvine:

This will be published later, but we’re recording this on February 24th. And of course, Russia has just invaded the Ukraine today and we’re seeing, that’s just a terrible situation. And yes, it is destabilizing everything globally. So by the time this airs, we will see what the full impact of that is going to be on, on the global economy, on geopolitics and all of those kinds of things. But certainly as we look to the future, I like the idea of using data because I go back to one of those old adages, you can’t manage what you don’t measure. And so throwing parts at the problem, and I think that’s been the, one of the big frustrations, but for a lot of commercial vehicle owners is for years now, they’ve been replacing DPFs. They’ve been replacing diesel emission system components and that’s that stuff’s not cheap. And they’re just throwing parts at the problem and not really getting to the root cause and not addressing those root causes. So what you’re saying is that by bringing in a lot more analytics, you’re able to actually measure what you’re doing and see whether or not it’s making any kind of measurable improvement.

Matt Bailey:

Absolutely. I think, you know, data is one of our core values here at our company, but I think it transcends everything. I mean, ultimately if you can measure it, you can validate what you’ve done one way or the other. And it could be, you know, a whole raft of different activities rather than just what we are doing. For example, such as driver behavior and so forth, all of that stuff. If you’ve got the right data, you can be making very, very well informed decisions on how you’re impacting your behavior to improve your operation and ultimately bottom line. Right. That’s what it’s all about.

Jamie Irvine:

Yeah. Well, let’s talk about that for a minute, because one of the things that a lot of companies, they will focus on features and benefits of their products and services. And they’ll talk about the benefits and they’ll show kind of the economics of that. But what about doing nothing? What’s the economics of doing nothing, because I’ve got a big concern when I look at fleets and they aren’t being proactive in this regard or in other places with their maintenance program, it’s having a cost, but it’s just not necessarily registering in the same way as like for example, the purchase price of a product or service.

Matt Bailey:

Yeah. It’s one of those things where the benefits of what we’re doing. I mean, one of the main things that we sell is really the fuel of economy benefits, because that’s the biggest thing most people are concerned about. That’s something that they’re chasing, but ultimately the other two main side effects that we have is that we improve up time significantly. I mean a lot of people would be doing DPF and aftertreatment systems on a 12 month cycle. But if we can get to the root cause we can actually extend that out for 24 or even 36 months. So that’s quite, you know, when you’re talking at least 24 hour turnaround on a DPF, you know, you’re talking about an uptime improvement of at least two days right there. But then of course, because the diff is flowing better, there’s less particulate in the first place.

There’s less forced regens. There’s less regens in general. So you’re not parking on the side of the road and doing that 45 minute thing where the fumes and everything are going all over the place. It’s not a very nice environment to have to be in. And then on the other side is obviously the maintenance benefits and cost benefits. So it’s yes, it’s fuel economy for sure. But then it’s also the improved uptime in the vehicle and it’s also reduced maintenance costs on the back end of it. So realistically speaking, the fuel economy is the easiest to validate. And so that’s what we chase when we do our client stuff. But obviously when we’re doing the data, we’re obviously also trying to build up the total business case for what we’re trying to do. And I think when you start looking at that total business case, you start making quite a significant impact. I mean, obviously not that 10% reduction for a city truck is insignificant. I mean, it’s very significant, but then when you start compounding all the other benefits on top as well, you start getting to some very big cost-per-mile differences and you don’t want to be on the wrong side of that ledger if your competitors are playing in that space.

Jamie Irvine:

Total cost-per-mile and lowering the total cost of operation is the name of the game. You’ve been listening to The Heavy-Duty Parts Report. I’m your host, Jamie Irvine. We’ve been speaking with Matt Bailey, the CEO of DCARB USA. To learn more about DCARB USA, visit decarb.com. Links are in the show notes. Matt, thank you for being on The Heavy-Duty Parts Report and helping us challenge the status quo in the trucking industry.

Matt Bailey:

Absolutely a pleasure. Thanks for having me.

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