Daimler halts truck engine deliveries on emissions concerns

Daimler is under scrutiny over how its diesel car engines use a urea nitrate additive called AdBlue, to neutralize emissions of nitrogen oxide, which can contribute to the formation of harmful smog and ozone. (Reuters)
Updated 08 July 2018
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Daimler halts truck engine deliveries on emissions concerns

FRANKFURT: Germany’s Daimler has temporarily halted deliveries of a truck engine after finding that, in certain driving conditions, its emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) could exceed legal limits, the company said on Sunday.
Stuttgart-based Daimler, responding to a report in the Bild am Sonntag newspaper, said it had informed Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority of the issue last month and was in a “constructive” dialogue.
German automakers have been under intense scrutiny since the “Dieselgate” scandal of 2015, in which Volkswagen admitted to using illegal software steering its diesel engines to cheat emissions tests.
Volkswagen reached a multi-billion-dollar settlement in the United States, but the scandal continues to reverberate in Germany where the head of its Audi unit, Rupert Stadler, has been arrested in a separate investigation.
Daimler is also under scrutiny over how its diesel car engines use a urea nitrate additive, called AdBlue, to neutralize emissions of nitrogen oxide, which can contribute to the formation of harmful smog and ozone.
Germany’s Transport Ministry said last month that 774,000 Mercedes-Benz vehicles in Europe had been found to contain unauthorized “defeat” devices and ordered Daimler to recall 238,000 cars in Germany.
In the latest case, Bild am Sonntag reported that Daimler had found during internal checks that software running the OM 501 truck engine would, in certain circumstances, stop the injection of AdBlue.
In a statement, Daimler said the report was misleading and that the engine’s on-board diagnosis system was designed to switch off the flow of AdBlue in unusual circumstances such as when the engine was running on biodiesel.
This would prevent excessive injections of AdBlue leading to the release of ammonia, which in high concentrations can act as a respiratory irritant.
“In the course of regulator tests, Daimler AG found isolated situations when a six-cylinder heavy-truck engine of the Euro V standard slightly exceeded the relevant NOx limits,” the company said.
Daimler said it had undertaken a detailed analysis of the findings and informed the Federal Motor Transport Authority at the end of June.
The motor was sold in Mercedes-Benz trucks in Europe until 2013, and is currently on sale only outside Europe. “Until the technical issues are clarified, the company has taken a precautionary decision no longer to deliver this engine,” Daimler said.


Davos organizer WEF warns of growing risk of cyberattacks in Gulf

Updated 16 January 2019
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Davos organizer WEF warns of growing risk of cyberattacks in Gulf

  • Critical infrastructure such as power centers and water plants at particular risk, says expert
  • Report finds that unemployment is a major concern in Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, Oman and Tunisia

LONDON: The World Economic Forum (WEF) has warned of the growing possibility of cyberattacks in the Gulf — with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar particularly vulnerable.

Cyberattacks were ranked as the second most important risk — after an “energy shock” — in the three Gulf states, according to the WEF’s flagship Global Risks Report 2019.

The report was released ahead of the WEF’s annual forum in Davos, Switzerland, which starts on Tuesday.

In an interview with Arab News, John Drzik, president of global risk and digital at professional services firm Marsh & McLennan said: “The risk of cyberattacks on critical infrastructure such as power centers and water plants is moving up the agenda in the Middle East, and in the Gulf in particular.”

Drzik was speaking on the sidelines of a London summit where WEF unveiled the report, which was compiled in partnership with Marsh and Zurich Insurance.

“Cyberattacks are a growing concern as the regional economy becomes more sophisticated,” he said.

“Critical infrastructure means centers where disablement could affect an entire society — for instance an attack on an electric grid.”

Countries needed to “upgrade to reflect the change in the cyber risk environment,” he added.

The WEF report incorporated the results of a survey taken from about 1,000 experts and decision makers.

The top three risks for the Middle East and Africa as a whole were found to be an energy price shock, unemployment or underemployment, and terrorist attacks.

Worries about an oil price shock were said to be particularly pronounced in countries where government spending was rising, said WEF. This group includes Saudi Arabia, which the IMF estimated in May 2018 had seen its fiscal breakeven price for oil — that is, the price required to balance the national budget — rise to $88 a barrel, 26 percent above the IMF’s October 2017 estimate, and also higher than the country’s medium-term oil-price target of $70–$80.

But that disclosure needed to be balanced with the fact that risk of “fiscal crises” dropped sharply in the WEF survey rankings, from first position last year to fifth in 2018.

The report said: “Oil prices increased substantially between our 2017 and 2018 surveys, from around $50 to $75. This represents a significant fillip for the fiscal position of the region’s oil producers, with the IMF estimating that each $10 increase in oil prices should feed through to an improvement on the fiscal balance of 3 percentage points of GDP.”

At national level, this risk of “unemployment and underemployment” ranked highly in Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, Oman and Tunisia.
“Unemployment is a pressing issue in the region, particularly for the rapidly expanding young population: Youth unemployment averages around 25 percent and is close to 50 percent in Oman,” said the report.

Other countries attaching high prominence to domestic and regional fractures in the survey were Tunisia, with “profound
social instability” ranked first, and Algeria, where respondents ranked “failure of regional and global governance” first.

Looking at the global picture, WEF warned that weakened international co-operation was damaging the collective will to confront key issues such as climate change and environmental degradation.