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[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]

California to receive additional $153M in final settlement with Volkswagen

July 20, 2017

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) filed a consent decree for its final settlement with the Volkswagen Group of America (VW). The company will be required to pay an additional $153.8 million to California over the company’s use of illegal defeat devices in 2009-2016, 2.0 and 3.0 liter diesel passenger cars. Before today, VW had paid $533 million to California, of which $422 million will flow to the state through a mitigation trust. Volkswagen also is making $800 million in ZEV-related investments in the state.

The additional consent decree was negotiated by attorneys and technical experts from CARB and the California Attorney General’s Office, and is subject to court approval. The overall VW settlement is the largest ever for violations of vehicle air quality rules.

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Mercedes-Benz introduces its mid-size pickup truck: the X-Class leans on diesel

July 19, 2017

Mercedes-Benz has unveiled its new pickup truck—the first from a premium manufacturer—the X-Class. There are three design and equipment variants to choose from as well as four- or six-cylinder engines, rear-wheel drive and engageable or permanent all-wheel drive, a six-speed manual transmission and a seven-speed automatic transmission.

The market launch in Europe is scheduled for November 2017. At the beginning of 2018 South Africa, Australia and New Zealand will follow, and at the beginning of 2019 Argentina and Brazil.

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Daimler launches diesel plan; expands recall to >3M units, accelerating next-gen diesel launch

July 18, 2017

The Daimler Board of Management has approved a comprehensive plan for diesel engines consisting of a substantial expansion of the current service action for vehicles in customers’ hands as well as a rapid market launch of the completely new OM 654 diesel engine family (earlier post).

Since March, Mercedes-Benz has offered its customers of compact-class cars an improvement in NOx emissions for one engine version. Approximately 45% of those cars have since been updated. A voluntary service action is also being carried out for V-Class customers—so far with approximately 75% of the vehicles in Germany. To improve the emissions of additional model series, Daimler has now decided to extend the service action to include more than three million Mercedes-Benz vehicles.

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Volvo D13 turbo compound engine delivers up to 6.5% improvement in fuel efficiency

July 17, 2017

Volvo Trucks North America’s new VNL series delivers up to 7.5% improved fuel efficiency when spec’d with Volvo’s available D13 Turbo Compound engine (D13TC). (Earlier post.) Designed for customers with long-haul, steady-speed operations, the 13-liter Volvo D13TC utilizes turbo compounding technology that recovers energy typically wasted through the exhaust, converting it into useable mechanical energy that is transferred back to the engine.

By employing a secondary exhaust turbine downstream of the main turbocharger, the normally lost energy is routed to the flywheel, recovering as much as 50 hp and helping to improve fuel economy by up to 6.5% when compared with previous GHG14 D13 engine models.

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Study finds PM from biodiesel blends may be 50-80% less toxic per unit PM mass than from petroleum diesel

July 15, 2017

In a study published in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels, a team from the University of Vermont reports that particulate matter from the combustion of biodiesel blends may be 50–80% less toxic per unit PM mass emitted than PM from petroleum diesel, depending on feedstock.

There is growing consensus that PM toxicity is linked to the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) on PM and the subsequent oxidative stress induced in cells. However, the relative toxicity of biodiesel emissions compared to petroleum diesel remains unclear. In the study, the team examined the relationships between biodiesel fuel blend, exhaust particle oxidative potential (OP), and PM composition.

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Study finds modern diesel cars emit fewer carbonaceous particulates than gasoline cars

July 14, 2017

A new study by an international team led by researchers from the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) in Switzerland has found that modern diesel passenger cars equipped with diesel particulate filters (DPFs) emit fewer carbonaceous particulates than gasoline-powered vehicles. The open-access study is published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Carbonaceous PM is made up of black carbon, primary organic aerosol (POA) and—especially—secondary organic aerosol (SOA), which is known to contain harmful reactive oxygen species and can damage lung tissue. The researchers first quantified carbonaceous PM from Euro 5 gasoline and DPF-equipped diesel cars, then constrained the measurements using source apportionment investigations to provide a comprehensive assessment of the current state and future trends in gasoline and diesel vehicular pollution.

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ICCT working paper highlights benefits of current and emerging light-duty diesel technology; “promising pathway for compliance”

July 11, 2017

The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), one of the organizations at the root of uncovering the Volkswagen diesel emission scandal (earlier post), has published a new analysis of developments and trends in advanced diesel engine technology.

The ICCT team—John German and Aaron Isenstadt—concluded that diesels have and will retain two significant advantages over gasoline engines: significantly better fuel economy and cargo hauling and towing ability. Those attributes make diesels a strong option for customers who put a high priority on towing or fuel economy and manufacturers that want to market high fuel economy, they conclude. “Diesels offer a promising pathway for compliance and another option in manufacturers’ toolboxes.

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US charges Audi manager with conspiracy to cheat US emissions tests; sacrificing NOx control for a sound system

July 10, 2017

The US has charged a former Audi manager via criminal complaint for his role in a conspiracy to defraud US regulators and customers by implementing defeat device software in thousands of Audi diesel vehicles to cheat US emissions tests.

Giovanni Pamio, 60, an Italian citizen, is charged with conspiracy to defraud the US, wire fraud, and violation of the Clean Air Act. Pamio was formerly head of Thermodynamics within Audi’s Diesel Engine Development Department in Neckarsulm, Germany. According to the complaint, from in or about 2006 until in or about November 2015, Pamio led a team of engineers responsible for designing emissions control systems to meet emissions standards, including for nitrogen oxides (NOx), for diesel vehicles in the US. The complaint cited a cooperating witness (CW1)—an Audi employee who works in Audi’s Diesel Engine Development Department—as well as contemporaneous documentation in the Statement of Probable Cause.

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ICCT analysis finds 2025 European automotive CO2 standards can be met even if diesel share drops to 15%

July 07, 2017

Diesel has played a major role in the European Union’s efforts to reduce CO2 emissions from the automotive fleet; the market share of fuel-efficient new diesel cars in the European Union has remained above 50% since 2010. However, in the wake of emission control scandals, increasing concern over NOx-baed air-quality problems in city centers and emerging anti-diesel policy measures, the diesel market share is expected to fall significantly.

This projected shift in market share has raised some concerns over the cost of attainting CO2 emission targets. However, a new analysis by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) suggests that the EU could achieve a hypothetical 70 g/km (as measured according to the New European Driving Cycle – NEDC) passenger vehicle CO2 target in 2025 with both lower net cost and reduced NOx emissions, even with a significantly reduced diesel share.

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Hagens Berman files class-action fuel economy and emissions lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler and Cummins over SCR defect in RAM 2500 and 3500 diesels

July 05, 2017

Class-action law firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro has filed a new class-action lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler (FCA) and Cummins charging that the automaker knowingly sold more than 135,000 RAM 2500 and 3500 trucks over the past four model years equipped with a Cummins diesel engine with a defect in the selective catalytic converter (SCR) system used for NOx control. The defect leads to lower fuel economy, non EPA-compliant emissions levels, and costly and frequent vehicle repairs, the complaint charges.

According to the lawsuit, RAM owners report that efforts to fix the faulty emissions system significantly affect engine performance and mileage, with miles per gallon dropping as much as 25%. When the SCR system breaks down, the filter gets clogged, requiring more fuel to be injected to burn it off, according to the complaint. This reduces the truck's fuel economy, according to the complaint.

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European countries struggle to meet emission limits due to emissions from agriculture and transport

July 04, 2017

Eleven EU Member States breached air pollution ceilings in 2015 mostly due to high emissions from agricultural and transport sources, according to new data and a briefing released by the European Environment Agency (EEA). The briefing includes information on countries’ 2015 emissions and national ceilings for different pollutants.

Member States recently reported the first information under the new EU National Emission Ceilings (NEC) Directive (/2284/EU). The EEA briefing NEC Directive reporting status 2017, gives a progress update on how Member States are meeting their emission ceilings under the NEC Directive. The briefing also provides an assessment of the projected emissions reported for 2020 and 2030 in relation to the Member States’ reduction commitments for those years set in the new NEC Directive.

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Lux Research: question is when--not if--a diesel ban will happen

July 03, 2017

Based on its analysis of government responses to the Volkswagen diesel scandal as well as to the ongoing publication of research highlighting the adverse effects of NOx and particulate matter on public health, Lux Research has concluded that the question is when—not if—a diesel ban will happen.

Lux Research compiled a non-exhaustive list of major global cities that have either called for a ban or are introducing restrictions to limit the number of diesel vehicles—a step we believes will eventually move towards a ban. The market research organization ranked each city on the likelihood of an eventual ban on diesel vehicles:

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International Truck ships first on-highway vehicles with A26 engine; up to 9% fuel economy improvement

July 01, 2017

International Truck has started customer shipments of its first International LT Series and International RH Series vehicles with the company’s 12.4-liter engine. The company’s internal testing shows these products are delivering up to nine percent in fuel economy improvement over the comparable models built only a year ago.

Driven by a commitment to deliver customer uptime in the Class 8 market, the A26 was developed through an initiative called Project Alpha.

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London launches $111M program to upgrade around 5000 older buses to Euro VI emissions standard

June 29, 2017

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, launched a £86.1-million (US$111 million) program to retrofit around 5,000 older buses with a new exhaust system that will upgrade the vehicles to Euro VI emissions standards. By September 2020 the entire bus fleet will be at least Euro VI standard, with the emissions from the retrofitte buses cut by up to 95%.

Transport for London (TfL) will work with bus operators and five chosen suppliers to install the new bespoke exhaust systems which will reduce nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. Diesel Particulate filters will also be installed alongside this Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) equipment to reduce air pollution.

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Study finds Neste renewable diesel significantly reduces PM emissions in off-road mobile machinery; lower number and mass

A study led by researchers at Tampere University of Technology in Finland found that the use of neat Neste MY Renewable Diesel in working machines—a Wille 355B compact utility machine and Wille 855C multi-purpose wheel-loader—efficiently reduces particulate matter emissions compared to EN590 diesel with 7% biodiesel. With renewable diesel, both the number of particles as well as particulate mass were reduced in nearly all of the operating cycles of the working machines.

Both machines were certified to European Stage IIIA standards for non-road mobile machinery (NRMM). The 2009 Wille 355B uses a 36 kW naturally aspirated engine; the 2014 Wille 855C uses a 97 kW common rail turbo with intercooler.

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German researchers develop method to produce diesel-like fuel from biodiesel

June 19, 2017

Researchers from the universities of Kaiserslautern, Bochum, and Rostock have developed a method for producing a petroleum diesel-like fuel from conventional biodiesel (rapeseed oil methyl ester, RME).

Catalyzed by a Pd/Ru system, RME undergoes isomerizing metathesis in a stream of ethylene gas, leading to a defined olefin, monoester, and diester blend. This innovative refining concept requires negligible energy input (60 °C) and no solvents and does not produce waste. The new biofuel fulfills the current EU and US requirements, and can be used undiluted in modern diesel engines or mixed in any ratio with petroleum diesel. The researchers present their work in an open access paper in Science Advances.

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2018 Ford F-150 gains new efficient V6s, 10-speed, diesel

The 2018 Ford F-150 introduces an even smaller, more efficient 3.3-liter V6 that adds dual port and direct-injection technology to deliver more power and torque than the previous 3.5-liter V6, plus improved projected EPA-estimated gas mileage. Aiding in light-weighting, the standard 3.3-liter V6 in the 2018 F-150 is projected to offer a 5% power-to-weight ratio improvement versus the steel-bodied 2014 F-150 equipped with 3.7-liter V6—with better anticipated fuel efficiency and performance.

With advanced dual port and direct-injection technology, the new second-generation 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine delivers a 25 lb-ft increase in torque, and at lower engine speeds compared to a traditional V8. Like the second-generation 3.5-liter EcoBoost that debuted last model year, the 2.7-liter will be paired to a segment-exclusive 10-speed automatic transmission for 2018.

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ARB study compares in-use NOx emissions from diesel, hydraulic hybrid diesel and LNG refuse trucks

June 12, 2017

A team from the California Air Resources Board (ARB), in partnership with the City of Sacramento, has characterized the in-use emissions from model year (MY) 2010 or newer diesel, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and hydraulic hybrid diesel engines during real-world refuse truck operation. A paper on their study is published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.

The team used a portable emissions measurement system (PEMS) to quantify the emissions from five trucks: two diesels equipped with selective catalytic reduction (SCR), two LNG’s equipped with three-way catalyst (TWC) and one hydraulic hybrid diesel equipped with SCR. The engines were certified to the MY 2010 (0.2 g NOx/bhp-hr) or interim MY 2010 (0.5 g NOx/bhp-hr) standard over typical refuse operation.

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US new light-duty diesel sales dropped slightly in 2016 to 280,000 units from 300,000 in 2015

June 07, 2017

The US added more than 280,000 new diesel passenger vehicles across the country in 2016, with Texas, California and Florida having the highest numbers of diesel vehicles, according to a Diesel Technology Forum analysis of the latest Vehicles in Operation (VIO) data compiled by IHS Automotive (December 2016). The number of diesel car, SUV, full-size pickup trucks and vans in operation reached 8 million in 2016.

The 2016 increase in diesel sales was about 6.7% smaller than the some 300,000 added to the US vehicle parc in 2015, but still demonstrated resilience in a market that had 25% fewer model choices available. The 2016 increase in diesel registrations was due to the expanding popularity and increasing number of choices in the light-duty pickup market, DTF said. This more than offset the decrease in diesel car registrations due to the 25% drop in number of choices available on the market.

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Audi’s new 3.0L diesel; ready for 48V mild hybrid system

June 05, 2017

Audi engineers have intensively further developed the new 3.0 TDI diesel engine for the European market. In the new Audi A5 and Q5 models, the V6 diesel outputs 210 kW (286 hp) as well as 620 N·m (457lb-ft) of torque (this engine version is not yet for sale. Since it still lacks an overall type approval, it is not subject to Directive 1999/94/EC), the latter from 1,500 to 3,000 revolutions per minute.

The six-cylinder engine has a displacement of 2,967 cm3 (bore x stroke 83.0 x 91.4 millimeters (3.3 x 3.6 in)). As with all V engines from Audi, its two banks lie at a 90-degree angle from one another. Inside the cylinder crankcase, made of high-strength cast iron with vermicular graphite, a balancer shaft rotates in order to reduce engine vibrations and to improve acoustics. The ignition pressure reaches the 200 bar mark over wide areas of the characteristic map.

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Audi’s mild-hybrid systems: 12V for 4-cylinders, 48V for 6- and 8-cylinders

June 02, 2017

Audi will begin introducing new mild-hybrid drive vehicles (MHEVs) this year. The next generation of luxury sedans, the Audi A8, will have 48V MHEV systems regardless of engine type.

Audi offers the MHEV drives in two variants. For the four-cylinder engines they are based on the familiar 12-volt electrical system. The six-cylinder and eight-cylinder engines, as well as the W12 cylinder units, will receive a new 48-volt system generally serving as the main vehicle electric system. In particular, this technology offers many ways for making driving more efficient, sportier and more comfortable in the future.

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Study finds air quality models significantly underestimate traffic as source of NOx in Europe

June 01, 2017

Traffic contributes more to NOx emissions in Europe than previously thought, according to a new study by a team at the University of Innsbruck. Using urban eddy covariance measurements, the researchers found that traffic-related NOx emissions in current operational air quality models can be significantly underestimated by up to a factor of 4 across countries with a sizeable fraction of diesel-powered cars in their fleet. An open-access paper on their work appears in Scientific Reports.

Large metropolitan areas throughout Europe consistently breach maximum permissible values of NOx; furthermore, this phenomenon appears to be spreading, with many smaller scale cities and towns—including their surrounding rural areas—seeing frequent NO2 concentration violations, the researchers noted.

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Cummins announces compatibility with select 100% paraffinic diesel fuels for B4.5, B6.7, L9 engines

Cummins Inc. announced that the B4.5, B6.7 and L9 engine platforms are compatible with 100% renewable diesel fuels meeting the EN 15940 specification (paraffinic diesel fuel from synthesis or hydrotreatment). Both On-Highway and Off-Highway versions of the B6.7 and L9 platforms and all vintages are approved to use paraffinic diesel fuels in North America.

EN 15940 establishes requirements and test methods for marketed and delivered paraffinic diesel fuel containing a level of up to 7% fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) for use in diesel engines. EN 15940 was approved by CEN, the European Committee for Standardization, in April 2016.

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CPT, TU Wien study finds 48V mild diesel hybrid cuts engine-out NOx 9%, 4.5% fuel economy improvement

May 31, 2017

A joint study by Controlled Power Technologies (CPT) and Austria’s Technische Universität Wien (TU Wien) into 48V diesel mild hybrid technology verified a 9% reduction of NOxin raw engine-out emissions, while retaining the fuel economy and CO2 benefits of diesel engine technology.

The cost effectiveness of this approach is further underscored by its impact on lean NOx trap (LNT) and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) aftertreatment systems, which have less raw NOx emissions to process, potentially allowing for a reduction in exhaust system cost and complexity, and a longer service life.

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Study finds POMDME-diesel blends cut soot up to 34% with no NOx increase

A study by a team from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Aerothermochemistry and Combustion Systems Laboratory and the University of Kaiserslautern (Germany) has found that blends comprising poly (oxymethylene) dimethyl ethers (POMDME) and diesel show a significant reduction in soot emissions of up to to 34% with no significant increase in NOx.

The team examined blends of 5% and 10% POMDME in diesel in a single-cylinder heavy-duty diesel engine to gain an overview of the blend’s impact on engine performance and exhaust emissions. A paper on their work appears in the journal Fuel.

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Loughborough team develops novel system to enhance SCR operation to reduce NOx further

Researchers at Loughborough University in the UK have developed a novel system that enhances SCR operation to further reduce NOx emissions and improve diesel engine efficiency.

The Ammonia Creation and Conversion Technology (ACCT) created by academics from the University’s School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering effectively increases the capacity of existing on-engine aftertreatment systems.

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International team uncovers mechanisms of VW, Fiat software defeat device code

May 24, 2017

An international team of researchers has uncovered the mechanisms of two families of software defeat devices for diesel engines: one used by the Volkswagen Group to pass emissions tests in the US and Europe, and a second found in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. To carry out the analysis, the team developed new static analysis firmware forensics techniques necessary automatically to identify defeat devices and confirm their function.

After testing some 900 firmware images, the researchers were able to detect a potential defeat device in more than 400 firmware images spanning eight years. Both the Volkswagen and Fiat vehicles use the EDC17 diesel ECU manufactured by Bosch, the researchers noted. Using a combination of manual reverse engineering of binary firmware images and insights obtained from manufacturer technical documentation traded in the performance tuner community, the researchers identified the defeat devices used, how the devices inferred when the vehicle was under test, and how that inference was used to change engine behavior. “Notably,” the team wrote in a paper presented at the 38th IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy this week, “we find strong evidence that both defeat devices were created by Bosch and then enabled by Volkswagen and Fiat for their respective vehicles.

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US sues Fiat Chrysler over diesel emissions

May 23, 2017

The Environmental and Natural Resources Division of the US Department of Justice (DOJ-ENRD) has filed a lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler for using software defeat devices in nearly 104,000 Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles (Model Years 2014-2016) with 3.0-liter diesel engines.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had issued a notice of violation (NOV) to FCA over the alleged violations of the Clean Air Act in January 2017. (Earlier post.) The undisclosed engine management software results in increased NOx emissions from the vehicles, EPA said. Since then, FCA US has been working with the EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB), including extensive testing of the vehicles, to clarify issues related to the emissions control technology.

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Researchers show mechanism by which diesel exhaust particles trigger respiratory “flare-ups”

Researchers at Imperial College London, working with colleagues from King’s College London and University of British Columbia, have demonstrated a mechanism by which diesel exhaust particles directly affect the lungs to initiate symptoms such as a tightening of the airways and cough. These triggered respiratory reflexes can potentially worsen underlying conditions, such as asthma.

Previous research has shown a strong association between urban air pollution and respiratory symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath, but the underlying mechanism has been unclear. In the study, published as an open-access paper in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, the team showed that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the exhaust particles directly stimulate nerves in the lungs, causing a reflex response in the airways.

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European Commission opens infringement procedure against Italy over insufficient action on Fiat Chrysler emission control strategies

May 18, 2017

The European Commission has launched an infringement procedure against Italy for failure to fulfil its obligations under EU vehicle type-approval legislation with regards to Fiat Chrysler (FCA) automobiles. The Commission sent a letter of formal notice asking Italy to respond to concerns about insufficient action taken regarding the emission control strategies employed by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles group (FCA).

Under current EU law, national authorities are responsible for checking that a car type meets all EU standards before individual cars can be sold on the Single Market. When a car manufacturer breaches the legal requirements, national authorities must take corrective action (such as ordering a recall) and apply effective, dissuasive and proportionate penalties laid out in national legislation.

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Federal court approves $225M settlement in VW 3.0L diesel case; California receives $66M plus two new VW ZEV models

The Volkswagen Group will pay $225 million, including $66 million to California, for harm resulting from the sale of its 3.0-liter diesel passenger cars that included emissions control “defeat devices,” under partial Consent Decrees (earlier post) approved by a Federal court.

In addition, VW will contribute to California’s ZEV market by introducing two new ZEV models, plus the electric e-Golf, or its replacement, by 2019. One of those new vehicles must be an electric SUV. The company will also introduce a second SUV by 2020. It must collectively sell at least 35,000 of these various ZEV models between 2019 and 2025.

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FEV study finds optimizing engine for renewable diesel use reduces fuel consumption and emissions

May 17, 2017

A recent study conducted by engineering company FEV, commissioned by Neste Corporation, a leading global producer of renewable diesel, shows that modifying and optimizing engine control parameters to work optimally with pure HVO-type (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil) renewable diesel—such as Neste MY Renewable Diesel—offers as-yet untapped potential to reduce fuel consumption, CO2 and other regulated emissions.

Neste Renewable Diesel has already been shown to be able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90% on a full lifecycle basis compared to conventional fossil diesel. The FEV study showed that depending on the test cycle, optimizing engine control parameters for pure Neste MY Renewable Diesel can result in:

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New international study finds lab testing of diesel NOx emissions underestimates real-world levels by up to 50%

May 15, 2017

A new international study has found that laboratory tests of nitrogen oxide emissions from diesel vehicles significantly underestimate the real-world emissions by as much as 50%. A paper on the work is published in the journal Nature.

The research, led by the International Council on Clean Transportation and Environmental Health Analytics, LLC., in collaboration with scientists at the University of York’s Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI); University of Colorado; and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, assessed 30 studies of vehicle emissions under real-world driving conditions in 11 major vehicle markets representing 80% of new diesel vehicle sales in 2015. Those markets include Australia; Brazil; Canada; China; the European Union; India; Japan; Mexico; Russia; South Korea; and the United States.

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TM4 and Cummins jointly developing range-extended electric plug-in powertrain for Class 7/8 buses

May 11, 2017

TM4 and Cummins are jointly developing a plug-in hybrid powertrain for Class 7/8 transit buses that can reduce fuel consumption by at least 50% compared to conventional hybrid buses. The project aims to provide transit authorities with a flexible, more efficient drivetrain and a longer range zero-tailpipe-emission capability for inner-city routes.

The range-extended electric drive system comprises a gen-set (Cummins’ Euro 2019 B4.5 diesel engine coupled with TM4’s LSG130 electric generator); an external 450 kW ultrafast charging infrastructure; a power collector; a 111 kWh onboard Li-ion battery; a TM4 SUMO electric motor directly connected to the differential; a small fuel tank and power electronics.

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IAV develops new close-coupled diesel exhaust gas aftertreatment system for improved emissions reduction

May 08, 2017

IAV has developed a particularly closed-coupled diesel exhaust gas aftertreatment (EAT) system. The design allows the diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC) and particular filter/selective catalytic reduction (DPF/SCR) units to reach optimum working temperature more quickly which, even when driving in the low-load range, significantly cuts emissions.

Under the EU6 standard, diesel engines are still allowed to emit up to 80 mg NOx/km milligrams of nitrogen oxides per kilometer—not only under the legal framework in the cycle but also in respect of increasingly tighter RDE requirements. Future diesel powertrains will need to be capable of meeting limit values that are even tighter than EU6.

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US EPA settles with three trucking companies over California diesel rule; $201K in penalties

May 05, 2017

The Environmental Protection Agency announced settlements with three companies totaling $201,000 in penalties for violating California’s Truck and Bus Regulation. The companies either failed to install particulate filters on their own heavy-duty diesel trucks or failed to verify that trucks they hired for use in California complied with the state rule.

The California Truck and Bus Regulation was adopted into federal Clean Air Act plan requirements in 2012 and applies to diesel trucks and buses operating in California. (Earlier post.) The rule requires trucking companies to upgrade vehicles they own to meet specific NOx and particulate matter performance standards and also requires trucking companies to verify compliance of vehicles they hire or dispatch. Heavy-duty diesel trucks in California must meet 2010 engine emissions levels or use diesel particulate filters that can reduce the emissions of diesel particulates into the atmosphere by 85% or more.

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Blue Bird first to offer school buses with Allison Transmission’s FuelSense 2.0 to optimize fuel economy

May 02, 2017

Blue Bird Corporation is offering a new product for their new buses ordered on or after 1 May 2017 with Allison transmissions: FuelSense 2.0, featuring DynActive Shifting. This is a software upgrade to the previous FuelSense offering, which allows fleets to optimize fuel economy and performance to their specific needs.

FuelSense 2.0 has packages tailored to different driving conditions that Blue Bird school buses face daily. The new FuelSense 2.0 technology uses DynActive Shifting to provide an infinitely variable combination of shift points, and uses a learning algorithm to continuously find the ideal balance of fuel economy and performance. It provides maximum value for applications with heavy start-stop needs, such as school buses.

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Continental showcases “Super Clean Electrified” connected, optimized 48V mild hybrid diesel; post-Eu6d

April 25, 2017

At the 38th International Vienna Motor Symposium this week, Continental is showcasing a 48-volt hybrid diesel vehicle which meets very stringent RDE (real driving emissions) limits on CO2 and NOx. The Continental Super-Clean Electrified Diesel combines electrification-based engine optimization and an electrically heated catalyst integrated in the exhaust aftertreatment system to achieve a 60% reduction in real-world NONOxx emissions and a simultaneous 2% reduction in CO2 emissions measured against the baseline Euro 6b vehicle.

The first 48-volt diesel hybrid has already gone into production in Europe, and a second production launch is already in the pipeline for 2017.

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EEA: Fuel efficiency improvements of new cars in Europe slowed in 2016

April 20, 2017

The fuel efficiency of new cars sold in the European Union (EU) continued to improve last year but at a slower rate, according to provisional data from the European Environment Agency. The 1.4 g of CO2/km reduction (-1.2%) compared to 2015 constitutes the smallest annual improvement recorded over the last decade.

Official emissions have decreased by a total of more than 22 g CO2/km (-16%) since 2010, when an updated monitoring system started under the current EU legislation. The EU remains well below its target of 130 g CO2/km set for 2015; however, compared to 2016, annual improvements in vehicle efficiency need to increase significantly in each of the coming five years in order to achieve the second average emissions target of 95 g CO2/km by 2021.

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New Mercedes-Benz S-Class to offer upgraded PHEV, new 48V mild hybrid models; advances in autonomy

April 19, 2017

Mercedes-Benz chose Auto Shanghai 2017 as the venue for the world première of the new S-Class. Among the highlights is new efficient engine range and a series of new technologies for electrification of the powertrain. Several new engines are planned for the new S-Class: in-line six cylinder diesel and gasoline engines as well as a new V-8 biturbo gasoline engine.

In addition, Mercedes-Benz plans a plug-in hybrid with an electric range of about 50 kilometers (31 miles). Technologies such as the 48-volt Integrated Starter Alternator and the electric booster compressor celebrate their world première in the lineup as well. The market launch of the new S-Class starts in the European markets in July.

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Greyrock, Tsinhua U, DRI to assess potential of synthetic diesel to improve air quality in China

March 17, 2017

Greyrock Energy, a developer of a gas-to-liquids (GTL) process that produces synthetic diesel, will participate with Tsinghua University of Beijing, China and the Desert Research Institute (DRI) of Reno, Nevada to quantify the positive impact on air quality from the use of synthetic diesel fuels as compared with petroleum derived diesel fuels. Beijing was chosen as the initial focus of this study given the concerns abount air quality.

Greyrock’s GTL process produces synthetic diesel fuels that meet or exceed diesel fuel specifications established by ASTM D975. The improved characteristics of the Greyrock synthetic diesel over petroleum based alternatives include higher cetane, virtually no sulfur or aromatics, and excellent lubricity.

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California ARB releases four new LCFS pathways for renewable diesel; 20.28 - 53.86 gCO2e/MJ

March 13, 2017

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) staff has released for public comment four new Tier 2 renewable diesel (RD) pathways using soy oil, used cooking oil, tallow, and corn oil at the Diamond Green facility in St. Charles, Louisiana.

Diamond Green Diesel (DGD) uses the UOP Ecofining Process to produce RD from Used Cooking Oil (UCO), tallow, corn oil, and soybean oil. The Ecofining Process hydrogenates triglycerides and free fatty acid feedstocks which are then isomerized to create a high-quality hydrocarbon fuel. DGD has integrated operations with an adjacent oil refinery (Valero) to reduce the energy consumption and maximize the use of co-products and surplus energy.

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Study links PM2.5 pollution with millions of preterm births globally

February 19, 2017

A new study, led by a team from The Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) at the University of York, has found that in 2010, about 2.7 million preterm births globally—or 18% of all pre-term births—were associated with outdoor exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5).The open-access study is published in the journal Environment International.

There are many known risk factors for preterm birth—from the mother’s age, to illness, to poverty and other social factors. Recent research has suggested that exposure to air pollution could also be a risk factor. The researchers combined national, population-weighted, annual average ambient PM2.5 concentration, preterm birth rate and number of livebirths to calculate the number of PM2.5-associated preterm births in 2010 for 183 countries.

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Chevrolet 2017 Cruze Diesel EPA-rated at 52 mpg highway, 37 mpg combined; Tier 3 Bin 125

February 13, 2017

The 2017 Cruze Diesel Sedan (earlier post) fitted with the six-speed manual transmission offers an EPA-estimated highway mileage of 52 mpg (4.52 liters/100 km)—the highest highway fuel economy of any non-hybrid/non-EV in the US. The six-speed manual model returns an EPA-estimated city mileage of 30 mpg (7.83 l/100 km), resulting in 37 mpg (6.35 l/100 km) combined. Cruze Diesel with the nine-speed automatic achieves an EPA-estimated highway economy of up to 47 mpg and 31 city mpg, which results in 37 mpg combined.

The 2017 Cruze Diesel Sedan, due to go on sale this spring, features a new B20-capable Ecotec 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine—already proven in Europe and other global markets—offering an SAE-certified 137 horsepower (102 kW) and 240 lb-ft of torque (325 N·m). Cruze Diesel passed all stringent US environmental standards and validation, including Tier 3 Bin 125 emissions standards.

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Dearman doubling size of tech center for engine powered by liquid nitrogen

February 10, 2017

Dearman, the clean cold technology company, will double the size of its technology center ahead of further trials of its engine powered by liquid nitrogen. The Dearman Engine is zero emission, emitting no NOx or particulate matter (PM), and delivering significant carbon dioxide savings compared to diesel. (Earlier post.)

The first application of the technology is a zero-emission alternative to diesel powered transport refrigeration units (TRUs). (Earlier post.) The Dearman transport refrigeration system is currently undergoing advanced road trials with Sainsbury’s, and further international trials are set to begin later this year.

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Study finds “markedly” high levels of diesel exhaust present in commuter trains powered by locomotives in pull-mode

February 09, 2017

Diesel-powered commuter trains may expose their passengers to elevated levels of certain black carbon and ultrafine particles, especially in the coach directly behind the locomotive, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Toronto. A paper on the study is published in the journal Atmospheric Environment.

Professor Greg Evans (ChemE), director of the Southern Ontario Centre for Atmospheric Aerosol Research (SOCAAR) and Dr. Cheol-Heon Jeong, a senior research associate at SOCAAR, measured the ultrafine particle (UFP), black carbon (BC) and lung deposited surface area (LDSA) concentrations during 42 trips on diesel-powered commuter trains. When the passenger coaches were pulled by a locomotive, the geometric mean concentrations of UFP, LDSA, and BC were 18, 10, and 6 times higher than the exposure levels when the locomotive pushed the coaches, respectively. UFP, LDSA, and BC concentrations in pull-trains were 5, 3, and 4 times higher than concentrations measured while walking on city sidewalks, respectively.

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Bosch reaches $327.5M settlement agreement for 2.0L and 3.0L VW diesels in US

February 01, 2017

Bosch has entered into a settlement agreement with private claimants in the US in order to settle the most substantial part of the civil law proceedings pending in connection with Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche diesel vehicles that were sold in the US.

The agreement would settle the claims of consumers and dealers of used vehicles against Robert Bosch GmbH, its affiliates, employees, and directors concerning Volkswagen and Audi diesel vehicles with 2.0L engines for model years 2009 through 2015 and Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche diesel vehicles with 3.0L engines for model years 2009 through 2016. For this purpose, Bosch will pay a total amount of US$327.5 million (approx. €304 million). By entering into the settlement, Bosch neither acknowledges the facts as alleged by the plaintiffs nor does Bosch accept any liability.

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Volkswagen reaches settlement agreements with private plaintiffs and US Federal Trade Commission on 3.0L TDI V6 vehicles in US

Volkswagen AG and Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (together, Volkswagen) has reached proposed agreements to resolve outstanding civil claims regarding approximately 78,000 affected 3.0L TDI V6 diesel engine vehicles in the United States.

Volkswagen submitted two agreements to the Court for approval: (1) a proposed class settlement with private plaintiffs represented by a Court-appointed Plaintiffs' Steering Committee (PSC) on behalf of a nationwide class of current and certain former owners and lessees of eligible 3.0L TDI V6 vehicles; and (2) a proposed Consent Order submitted by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

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Torotrak shifting strategic focus in response to electrification trend; focus on KERS, away from V-Charge

January 31, 2017

UK-based Torotrak, a developer and supplier of emissions reduction and fuel efficiency technology for vehicles, is refocusing its strategy based on its understanding of how the priorities for many players in the European passenger car market—Torotrak’s customers—have profoundly changed in recent months.

The Torotrak Group has three main product lines: Flybrid flywheel-based kinetic energy recovery (KERS); Torotrak variable drive transmissions for use in powertrains and auxiliary devices; and V-Charge, a supercharging product containing Torotrak variable drive technology. Torotrak has been in commercial discussions with passenger car Tier 1s and OEMs as they seek to understand the full capability of V-Charge—Torotrak’s variable-drive mechanical supercharger that can enable ambitious engine downsizing (earlier post).

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KPMG Survey: execs say connected car generates 10x revenue than a conventional vehicle; market share based on units “outdated”; BEVs #1 trend

January 24, 2017

Advancements such as connectivity, big data, autonomous vehicles and artificial intelligence are driving new economic models for automakers, and most see tremendous revenue potential and consumer value in leveraging driver and vehicle data to offer mobility services, according to the 2017 KPMG Global Automotive Executive Study.

The KPMG research, which polled nearly 1,000 executives with the world’s leading automotive companies, found that 76% say one connected car generates more revenue streams than 10 conventional cars. In fact, expectations for data-driven revenue are so great that 71% say measuring OEM market share based on units sold is outdated.

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POSTECH, Hyundai team develops new more thermally robust catalyst for NOx reduction with diesel engines

January 23, 2017

A team from Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) in S. Korea, with colleagues from Hyundai Motors’s R&D group and the University of St. Andrews in the UK has developed a new, more thermally robust catalyst for NOx aftertreatment systems for diesel engines. A paper on their work is published in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

The catalyst—divalent copper ions fully exchanged into high-silica LTA zeolites(Cu-LTA)—demonstrated excellent maintenance of activity for NOx reduction with NH3 under vehicle-simulated conditions even after hydrothermal aging at 900 °C, a critical temperature that the current commercial Cu-SSZ-13 catalyst cannot overcome owing to thermal deactivation.

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GM expands B20 biodiesel lineup with new cars, crossovers and trucks

January 18, 2017

General Motors is expanding its portfolio of B20-capable vehicles to include cars and crossovers, and will field the industry’s most expansive lineup of diesel-powered vehicles in 2017, John Schwegman, director of commercial product and medium duty for GM Fleet, announced at the National Biodiesel Conference.

Chevrolet offers the industry’s broadest lineup of B20-capable diesel propulsion for fleet, commercial and retail customers, including: Express full-size vans; Silverado HD full-size pickups; the Colorado mid-size pickup; the Low Cab Forward commercial truck; the 2017 Cruze compact car and the 2018 Equinox compact crossover.

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Neste launches Neste MY Renewable Diesel made 100% from waste and residues in Finland; initial customers

January 16, 2017

Neste recently launched a renewable diesel made entirely from waste and residues under the brand name Neste MY Renewable Diesel at select service stations in the Helsinki region today, 9 January 2017. The product enables up to 90% lower greenhouse gas emissions throughout the life cycle of the fuel compared to conventional fossil diesel.

Production of Neste MY Renewable Diesel is based on Neste’s proprietary NEXBTL technology which can be used for producing premium-quality renewable diesel and other renewable products from almost any waste fat or vegetable oil. The feedstock selection available for Neste’s renewable diesel has been successfully expanded to more than 10 raw materials. The company is engaged in continuous development work to further expand the raw material base.

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Achates Power building 2.7L opposed-piston light-duty engine; exceeding CAFE 2025, Tier 3 targets at lower cost

January 13, 2017

Stemming from a major project partially funded with a $9-million grant from the Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) to develop an opposed-piston two-stroke gasoline compression ignition engine (OPGCI) (earlier post), Achates Power announced it is developing a 2.7-liter, 3-cylinder (i.e., six-piston) light-duty version of its opposed piston engine (OPE) in both diesel- and gasoline-fueled versions. Achates will demonstrate the engine in 2018 in a driveable light-duty truck.

The 2.7-liter compression-ignition OPE will will be 30-50% more fuel efficient than comparable diesel and gasoline direct injection engines, reduce emissions and cost less than alternative technologies under development for meeting 2025 CAFE fuel economy and Tier 3 emission targets.

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ICCT: New RDE regulations not enough to control diesel car NOx fully; additional actions required

Real-world NOx emissions from new diesel cars could still exceed the Euro 6 emission limit of 80 mg/km by a factor of three or more, even after the new Real-Driving Emissions (RDE) regulation takes effect, according to a new white paper released by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). However, taking specific actions beyond those mandated in the regulation—such as introducing spot checks for randomly selected vehicles and expanding the range of driving conditions covered by RDE testing—could reduce new diesel car NOx emissions to 96 mg/km—just 1.2 times the Euro 6 limit—by 2022.

For the study, the team analyzed an extensive set of diesel car emissions data using modeling of the boundary conditions of the RDE regulation. The researchers also examined the impact of ICCT’s proposed modifications.

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EPA and CARB charge Fiat-Chrysler with using undeclared emission control devices in 3.0L diesels

January 12, 2017

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a notice of violation (NOV) to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. and FCA US LLC (collectively FCA) for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act for installing and failing to disclose at least eight auxiliary emissions control devices (AECDs) in light-duty model year 2014-2016 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Ram 1500 trucks with 3.0-liter diesel engines sold in the United States. The undisclosed engine management software results in increased emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from the vehicles, the agencies said. The allegations cover roughly 104,000 vehicles.

EPA is working in coordination with the California Air Resources Board (CARB), which has also issued a notice of violation to FCA. There are about 14,000 of the affected vehicles on the road in California. EPA and CARB have both initiated investigations based on FCA’s alleged actions.

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Volkswagen AG agrees to plead guilty and pay $4.3B in criminal and civil penalties; 6 execs and employees indicted

January 11, 2017

Volkswagen AG has agreed with the US government to resolve criminal and federal environmental and other civil claims against the company relating to the diesel emissions cheating débâcle. As part of the resolution, Volkswagen has agreed to plead guilty to three criminal felony counts, to pay penalties and fines totaling $4.3 billion, and to a series of measures to further strengthen its compliance and control systems, including the appointment of an independent monitor for a period of three years.

In addition, a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Michigan returned an indictment charging six VW executives and employees for their roles in the nearly 10-year conspiracy.

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2018 Ford F-150 features new engine line-up, with all-new 3L diesel; start-stop standard; more ADAS

January 08, 2017

Three years after first introducing the high-strength, military-grade, aluminum-alloy-bodied Ford F-150, Ford is presenting the new 2018 F-150. The best-selling pick-up features new front and rear styling, advanced driver assistance technologies—including available Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection—and improved engines. The new engines include an all-new 3.0-liter Power Stroke V6 turbo diesel and enhanced V6 and V8 gasoline engines.

Ford is previewing the new truck on Sunday during the FOX NFL Wildcard Pregame Show and will reveal it on Monday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

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EPA and CARB approve emissions modification for Gen 3 VW 2.0 liter diesel vehicles

January 06, 2017

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) approveda remedy proposed by Volkswagen that will reduce the excess NOx emissions from the Generation 3 (MY 2015) diesel 2.0 liter vehicles. With the approval, VW can offer vehicle owners the choice to keep and fix their car, or to have it bought back.

This modification will reduce excess emissions from the affected vehicles by 80-90%. The test data and technical information VW submitted to EPA and CARB demonstrated that the emissions modification being approved will not affect vehicle fuel economy, reliability, or durability. EPA and CARB confirmed those conclusions through independent testing and analysis at their own laboratories.

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ICCT: real-world NOx from Euro 6 diesel passenger cars more than 2x Euro VI diesel trucks

In Europe, the average amount of NOx present in exhaust emissions from modern diesel passenger cars under real-world conditions is more than double the levels from modern trucks and buses, according to a new briefing paper released by the independent research organization International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT).

The ICCT paper shows data for 24 Euro VI buses and trucks, some tested on a chassis dynamometer by the Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT), and others tested on-road using portable emissions testing equipment by the German type-approval agency KBA. On average, NOx emissions of the heavy-duty vehicles tested were approximately 210 mg/km. Currently, NOx emissions of Euro 6 diesel passenger cars under real-world driving conditions are approximately 500 mg/km, as determined by testing carried out by KBA and other European type-approval agencies. In addition, the average conformity factor—the ratio of the test result to the regulatory limit—for the heavy-duty engines was less than 1, meaning that on-road emissions stayed below the Euro VI engine type-approval test limits.

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DOE awards LanzaTech $4M for low-carbon jet & diesel demo plant; 3M gpy; Audi evaluating fuel properties

December 30, 2016

LanzaTech has been selected by the Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) to receive a $4-million award to design and plan a demonstration-scale facility using industrial off gases to produce 3 million gallons/year of low-carbon jet and diesel fuels. The LanzaTech award was one of six totaling $12.9 million. (Earlier post.)

The LanzaTech facility will recycle industrial waste gases from steel manufacturing to produce a low cost ethanol intermediate: “Lanzanol.” Both Lanzanol and cellulosic ethanol will then be converted to jet fuel via the Alcohol-to-Jet" (ATJ) process developed by LanzaTech and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). (Earlier post.)

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Volkswagen Group receives all approvals from KBA for NOx fixes for EA189 TDI engines

December 22, 2016

The Volkswagen Group has now received all necessary official approvals within the remit of the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) for the modification of diesel vehicles with type EA189 engines. (Earlier post.) In close consultation with the relevant authorities, the Group brands concerned will successively notify European and international vehicle owners in the weeks ahead. All customers will then be able to make an appointment in the short term to have their vehicles modified at an authorized service center of their choice.

In Germany, customers are being notified in a two-step process. In the first step, all affected owners received a letter agreed with the authorities back in spring, notifying them that their vehicles are affected by the modification. Now that the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) has approved the technical solutions for all models, customers are to be requested with a second letter to arrange an appointment with a partner workshop of their choice.

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Volkswagen reaches agreement with US and California on 3.0L diesels; $225M to environmental remediation, $25M to CA ZEV

December 20, 2016

Volkswagen AG and Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. reached an agreement with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the State of California, by and through the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the California Attorney General, to resolve civil claims regarding approximately 83,000 affected 3.0L TDI V6 diesel engine vehicles in the United States (almost 15,000 of them in California).

The agreement, in the form of a proposed Consent Decree (national version, California version), is subject to the approval of Judge Charles R. Breyer of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, who presides over federal Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) proceedings related to the diesel matter in the United States. The proposed agreement would allow Volkswagen to recall more than 75% of affected 3.0L TDI V6 vehicles (approximately 63,000) to bring them into compliance with the emissions standards to which they were certified, if appropriate modifications are approved by EPA and CARB.

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Faurecia acquires Amminex to accelerate efficient NOx reduction for passenger and commercial vehicles

December 14, 2016

Faurecia has increased its participation in the Danish company Amminex to 91.5% through a share purchase. (Earlier post.) Amminex has developed an Ammonia Storage and Delivery System (ASDS) which has demonstrated its efficiency to almost completely eliminate nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollutants from diesel engines. (Earlier post.)

Faurecia has worked closely with Amminex since mid-2009 and previously owned 42% of the company. At the recent Paris Motor Show, Faurecia showed the Amminex solution for commercial vehicles, as well as an ASDS system in a new format for passenger cars. In increasing its participation to 91.5%, Faurecia expects to intensify the development of this technology for both commercial vehicles and passenger cars.

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Audi TT 2.0 TDI diesel now also available with quattro all-wheel-drive

December 08, 2016

Audi is introducing a quattro all-wheel-drive version of its diesel Audi TT 2.0. (Earlier post.) The new model is now on sale in Europe, and will be available for delivery from the beginning of 2007. Coupled to the S tronic six-speed dual-clutch transmission, the sporty TT diesel quattro Coupé delivers fuel consumption of 5.2 l/100 km (45.2 US mpg) according to the NEDC measuring method, which equates to 137 grams of CO2 per kilometer (220.5 g/mi). The TT Roadster figures are 5.4 l/100 km (43.6 US mpg) and 142 g CO2 per kilometer (228.5 g/mi).

Audi said that one in two Audi TTs sold worldwide is a quattro. The quattro drive uses an electro-hydraulic multi-plate clutch to distribute the torque to both axles. In many everyday driving situations, it will direct the engine’s power predominantly to the front wheels. Should traction decrease there, the clutch continuously redirects the torque to the rear within a few milliseconds.

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Some Volkswagen strategists see battery-electric, diesel cost lines crossing by 2023-2025; TRANSFORM 2025+

November 22, 2016

The increasing stringency of global emissions standards, both current and projected, is driving up the cost for internal combustion engines to meet those standards, although numerous technology pathways exist. (Earlier post.)

In a conversation with Green Car Congress at AutoMobility LA last week, Dr. Matthias Erb, Executive Vice President of the NA Engineering and Planning Center, Volkswagen Group of America, said that, as a result of those pressures, some strategists in the Volkswagen Group project that the cost lines between battery-electric vehicles and diesel will cross within the coming decade.

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Mazda unveils new CX-5 crossover; diesel engine version coming to NA in 2H 2017

November 17, 2016

Mazda Motor Corporation unveiled the all-new Mazda CX-5 crossover SUV. The fully redesigned model, on display at AutoMobility LA, will be launched in Japan in February before being rolled out to global markets.

The global powertrain lineup comprises the SKYACTIV-G 2.0 and 2.5 gasoline, and SKYACTIV-D 2.2 diesel engines. Mazda announced it will offer the SKYACTIV-D diesel in North America from the second half of 2017. This will be Mazda’s first diesel engine model in the North American market. The CX-5 also adopts G-Vectoring Control, the first of the SKYACTIV-VEHICLE DYNAMICS vehicle motion control technologies. (Earlier post.)

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MAN Diesel & Turbo wins first order for HyProp ECO hybrid propulsion system

November 05, 2016

MAN Diesel & Turbo has won the order for a complete propulsion package for a chemical tanker. As a world-first, the package features a full HyProp ECO system with PTO/PTH (Power Take Off/Power Take Home); HyProp ECO is a hybrid propulsion system.

The system will be employed aboard a 7,500-dwt stainless-steel chemical tanker ordered and operated by IÇDAŞ Çelik Enerji Tersane Ve Ulaşim Sanayi AŞ in Turkey. The propulsion package also features a MAN 6L32/44CR common-rail main engine, a MAN Alpha Kappel propeller and a MAN SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) system capable of operating on MGO (marine gas oil), MDO (marine diesel oil) and HFO (heavy fuel oil). A delivery date for the newbuilding has been scheduled for September 2017.

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Mercedes-Benz powering ahead with €3B strategic engine initiative; increasing electrification, 48V; diesel and gasoline; cylinder deactivation

October 30, 2016

Following the launch of the new Mercedes-Benz four-cylinder OM 654 diesel engine in spring 2016 in the E 220d (earlier post), 2017 will see the addition of four more members to the all-new family of engines: six-cylinder in-line engines in both diesel (OM 656) and gasoline (M 256) versions; a new four-cylinder gasoline engine (M 264); and a new biturbo V8 (M 176) with cylinder deactivation. Mercedes-Benz is investing a total of around €3 billion (US$3.3 billion) in its strategic engine initiative.

The scaling of state-of-the-art technologies and electrification options from 12 V to 48 V to high-voltage plug-in applications makes it possible to configure the appropriate powertrain for every vehicle. There will be world premieres for new advanced technologies, such as the Integrated Starter-Alternator (ISG); the 48 V electrical system; and the electric auxiliary compressor (eZV).

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Mercedes-Benz Vans shows pickup truck concepts; market launch in late 2017; diesel V6

October 25, 2016

Mercedes-Benz Vans unveiled two design variants of the Concept X-CLASS, previewing the coming X-Class pickup, in Stockholm. The introduction of the one-ton pickup with seating for up to 5 people will make Mercedes-Benz the first premium manufacturer to account for the changing customer requirements in the global segment of mid-size pickups.

With the pickup, Mercedes-Benz Vans will also expand its product range with a fourth model series. Daimler AG will make investments in the high nine figures (euro) in the new model series by the time of the market launch. The pickup will be launched in late 2017 in Europe under the name Mercedes-Benz X-Class. The key markets will be Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Australia with New Zealand, and Europe.

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Argonne LCA finds renewable diesel from algae fractionation has 63-68% lower GHG than petroleum diesel

October 22, 2016

A new analysis from Argonne National Laboratory, funded by the US Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO), shows the potential of an algae fractionation process to produce renewable diesel fuel with 63%–68% lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than conventional diesel. The study is published in the journal Algal Research.

In some algal biofuel production methods, lipids are extracted from algae and converted to renewable diesel, while the non-lipid components of the algae are converted to biogas. The biogas is used for renewable heat and electricity to power the conversion process of the lipids to renewable diesel.

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ICL study of 39 new Euro-6 diesels finds huge variability in NOx emissions with an average 4.5x the type approval limit

October 21, 2016

A new study by researchers from Imperial College London(ICL) of 39 new Euro 6 diesel passenger cars has foundhuge variability” in the on-road NOx emissions of Euro 6 diesel passenger cars, with results ranging from 1 to 22 times the type approval limit. All but 2 exhibited higher NOx than the limit.

The average NOx emission from the test cars of 0.36 g km-1 equates to 4.5 times the type approval limit; this rose to 5.4 times for urban driving. They attributed the increase in urban cycle NOx emissions in part to more frequent acceleration events. (Urban driving emissions could be reduced by more effective management of traffic flows (e.g., earlier post), easing of congestion and promotion of eco-driving, though further work is required to confirm this, they suggested.)

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BMW unveils Gen7 5 Series; more efficient gasoline and diesel units; plug-in hybrid 530e in 2017

October 13, 2016

BMW has unveiled the seventh generation of the BMW 5 Series Sedan, which will go on-sale in markets around the world in February 2017. The 5 Series has been a major hit for BMW, selling 7.6 million units since its first introduction in 1972. Further enhanced dynamics, assistance systems, connectivity and a new and innovative operating system are important new features in the latest generation, in addition to the new, more efficient powertrains.

The new 5 Series features TwinPower Turbo gasoline and diesel engines from the modular BMW EfficientDynamics family of power units. Two diesel engines and two gasoline variants will be available from launch, working in tandem with either rear-wheel drive or BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive. In March 2017, a BMW 5 Series Sedan with plug-in hybrid drive system—the BMW 530e iPerformance—will join the line-up, offering extremely low CO2 emissions of just 46 g/km (2.0 l/100 km), based on the EU test cycle. System output is 185 kW/252 hp.

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Ford used Convergent Science advanced modeling tool for EcoBlue diesel

October 10, 2016

The global automaker Ford used the combustion modelling tool CONVERGE CFD software package from Convergent Science for the development of its new EcoBlue range of high-efficiency diesel engines.

Dr. Werner Willems, Ford technical specialist for combustion systems, said that the Ford team used CONVERGE to refine a number of features on the EcoBlue, including the shape of the combustion chamber, the piston bowl geometry and the fuel injection parameters.

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Detroit Diesel to pay $28.5M to settle MY 2010 diesel emissions complaint from EPA and DOJ

October 07, 2016

Detroit Diesel will pay $28.5 million in a settlement with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Department of Justice (DOJ) to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Air Act for selling heavy-duty diesel engines that were not certified by EPA and did not meet applicable emission standards. Under the settlement, Detroit Diesel will spend $14.5 million on projects to reduce nitrogen oxide and other pollutants, including replacing high-polluting diesel school buses and locomotive engines with models that meet current emissions standards. Detroit Diesel will also pay a $14 million civil penalty.

The government’s complaint, filed along with the settlement, alleges that Detroit Diesel violated the Clean Air Act by introducing into commerce 7,786 heavy-duty diesel engines for use in trucks and buses in model year 2010 without a valid EPA-issued certificate of conformity demonstrating conformance with Clean Air Act standards to control nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. The complaint also alleges that the engines did not conform to emission standards applicable to model year 2010 engines.

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T&E: VW sells least polluting Euro 6 diesels in Europe; no brand meets Euro 6 in real-world driving; loopholes & defeat strategies

September 26, 2016

A new study by Transport & Environment (T&E) shows that Volkswagen is currently selling the least polluting (Euro 6) diesel vehicles. However, the report “Dieselgate: Who? What? How?” also found that no brand in Europe complies with the latest Euro 6 air pollution limits for diesel cars and vans in real-world driving.

For the in-house analysis, T&E analyzed emissions test data from around 230 diesel car models. Data were taken from the investigations conducted by the British, French and German governments, as well as a large public database. The carmakers’ ranking was built with on-road performance figures mostly measured in real world driving. Among the real-world findings per car brand:

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New 1.6L diesel in 2018 Chevrolet Equinox related to Opel’s 1.6L CDTi Whisper Diesel

September 24, 2016

The new 1.6-liter diesel engine to be offered in the US in the 2018 Equinox (earlier post) is similar to Opel’s 1.6L CDTi Whisper Diesel (earlier post) in Europe, and is derived from a common Italian-German-American medium diesel engine design, according to GM. The first application of the 1.6L CDTi was unveiled in 2013 at the Geneva Motor Show in the Zafira Tourer. (Earlier post.)

Maximum power for the Equinox engine is estimated at 136 hp (101 kW), with 320 N·m torque. The engine has a bore x stroke of 79.7 mm x 80.1 mm and a compression ratio of 16.0:1. Fuel pressure is 2000 bar (29,000 psi).

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Chevrolet introduces 2018 Equinox SUV with turbo diesel option in N. America

September 23, 2016

Chevrolet has introduced the all-new 2018 Equinox compact SUV with a choice of three turbocharged engines—including the segment’s first turbo-diesel in North America. The choices are a 1.5L turbo, a 2.0L turbo—matched with GM’s new nine-speed automatic transmission—and a 1.6L turbo-diesel.

The new Equinox is the first Chevrolet model in North America to use an all-turbocharged, multi-engine powertrain lineup. The 2018 Equinox goes on sale in the first quarter of 2017 in North America and rolls out to approximately 115 additional global markets later in the year.

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DEKRA-certified tests: Mercedes-Benz HD trucks cut fuel consumption 22% in 20 years while meeting more stringent emissions rules; VECTO

September 22, 2016

Despite drastically more stringent emission standards for nitrogen oxides and particulates, the fuel consumption of Mercedes-Benz heavy trucks has been reduced by 22% over the last 20 years, according to the results of a comparative test drive certified by the test organization DEKRA.

The August 2016 testing by commercial vehicle magazine Lastauto Omnibus (LaO) compared the latest generation of the Mercedes-Benz Actros long-distance truck compared to the basic model of 1996—a Mercedes-Benz from the SK model series and therefore one of the last representatives of the pre-Actros era. The model 1844 was certified according to the Euro II standard valid in 1996, and was therefore allowed to emit 7 grams of NOx per kilowatt hour (kWh) while staying within the limiting value of 0.15 g/kWh for particulate matter. The number and size of the soot and other particles was not prescribed.

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Cummins introduces next-gen X-series Euro 6 engines; up to 605 hp

At the IAA Show in Germany, Cummins Inc. revealed the next generation X Series for heavy-duty truck applications with 15-liter and 12-liter displacements to meet Euro 6 (VI) and equivalent emissions standards as they become globally adopted from 2019 onward.

Across a broad 350 hp to 605 hp (260-451 kW) range, the X Series introduces an innovative approach to duty-cycle optimization with a medium-bore X12 engine and two big-bore configurations, available as the X15 Efficiency Series and the X15 Performance Series.

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Bentley introduces its first diesel: Bentayga Diesel with 48V system & electric supercharger

Bentley Motors has introduced its first diesel model: the Bentayga Diesel SUV. At its core is an all-new, technologically advanced, triple-charged, 4.0-liter, 32-valve V8 engine. Developing 435 PS (429 bhp) and 900 N·m (664 lb. ft.) of torque, the Bentayga Diesel hits a top speed of 270 km/h (168 mph) and can accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 4.8 seconds (0-60 mph in 4.6 seconds). Peak torque is available from very early in the rev range (just 1,000 rpm).

The Bentayga Diesel, equipped with a start-stop system, has the lowest CO2 emissions of any Bentley (210 g/km), as well as a range of more than 1,000 km (621 miles)—allowing owners to, for example, drive from London to Verbier, Bordeaux or the Scottish Highlands on a single tank.

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Ford showcases Transit line-up powered by new Ford EcoBlue diesel at Hannover; 6-speed auto, AWD and SYNC 3

September 21, 2016

Ford is showcasing the latest Transit and Transit Custom line-up powered by the Ford EcoBlue diesel engine (earlier post) at 2016 IAA Hannover Commercial Vehicle Show.

The 2.0-liter Ford EcoBlue engine powers every vehicle displayed on Ford’s Hannover stand, and provides commercial vehicle operators with fuel efficiency improved by up to 13% compared with the outgoing 2.2-liter TDCi engine, with CO2 emissions from 157 g/km. EcoBlue also delivers significant improvements in low-rpm torque for enhanced driveability.

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California Governor signs new super-pollutants legislation into law; black carbon, fluorinated gases and methane

September 20, 2016

California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed SB 1383, establishing the nation’s toughest restrictions on super pollutants including black carbon, fluorinated gases and methane. The law is in addition to California’s existing raft of climate legislation.

SB 1383 reduces the emission of super pollutants (also known as short-lived climate pollutants) and promotes renewable gas by requiring a 50% reduction in black carbon and 40% reduction in methane and hydrofluorocarbon from 2013 levels by 2030. Sources of these super pollutants include petroleum-based transportation fuels, agriculture, waste disposal and synthetic gases used in refrigeration, air conditioning and aerosol products.

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Final testing confirms ADEPT 48V diesel hybrid reduces fuel consumption 10-12% at low incremental cost

September 13, 2016

The three-year ADEPT (advanced diesel-electric powertrain) project (earlier post) in the UK set the target of developing and validating a range of advanced mild hybrid technologies with 48V “intelligent electrification” utilizing an advanced lead carbon battery. These have been applied to a Ford Focus project demonstrator which, for the first time, will be made available for public ride and drive evaluation by delegates at the Low Carbon Vehicle event (LCV2016), at Millbrook, UK.

Final testing has confirmed ADEPT’s key achievement of 10-12% reduction in fuel consumption (NEDC)—equivalent to sub-80g/km of CO2 emissions. According to the latest updated analysis of the potential cost of production implementation of ADEPT—conducted independently by Ricardo—the system would represent an incremental cost of in the region of €60 per gram/km of CO2 reduction. This is a result that makes the ADEPT powertrain architecture very competitive with other fuel economy solutions such as full hybridization, where costs of implementation can be significantly higher.

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Ricardo and Quanchai to collaborate on new diesel engine development; Twin Vortex Combustion System

September 07, 2016

Ricardo recently signed an agreement with Anhui Quanchai Engine Co., Ltd.—one of China’s largest diesel engine makers—to support the development of a new generation common rail diesel engine platform for commercial applications.

Under the terms of the agreement, Ricardo will support Quanchai in the design and development and calibration of a new diesel engine family, of sizes ranging from 2.5- to 3-litres and to be deployed in both on- and off-highway applications. The engines will be developed to the latest applicable China6 Heavy Duty and China Stage4 Off-Highway regulations, and will employ the Ricardo patented low-soot Twin Vortex Combustion System TVCS. (Earlier post.)

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Peugeot brings BlueHDi diesel engines to Boxer commercial vans; 6-speed manual, Stop & Start

September 05, 2016

Peugeot is completing the roll-out of its range of Euro 6 engines with the large van segment. The Peugeot Boxer will now be available with a new range of 2.0 BlueHDi diesel engines (earlier post), designed and produced by the PSA Group.

BlueHDi technology has been tried and tested in Peugeot saloons and SUVs since 2013, treating up to 90% of NOx and 99.9% of even the finest particulates. The new range of Peugeot Boxer 2.0 L BlueHDi engines offers 3 power levels for the core market:

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KCL study finds London air pollution from traffic improving, but continues to exceed limits in many parts of city

New research by scientists at King’s College London suggests that air pollution from London’s roads is improving overall but more work may be needed to tackle some sources of traffic pollution, which continue to breach limits in many parts of the city.

The study, published as an open-access paper in the journal Environmental Pollution, examined trends in air pollution over a ten-year period spanning 2005 to 2014, using data collected from 65 roads. Researchers looked at changes in a number of pollutants including nitrogen dioxide (NO2 ), particulate matter as fine (PM2.5) and coarser (PM10) particles, carbon dioxide (CO2) and black carbon.

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Cummins and Peterbilt to team up on SuperTruck II

September 01, 2016

Cummins will partner with Peterbilt Motors Company, a division of PACCAR to develop and demonstrate technologies under the US Department of Energy (DOE) SuperTruck II program. (Earlier post.)

For SuperTruck II, the Cummins–Peterbilt team will focus on breakthrough advances in Class 8 vehicle freight efficiency technologies that are cost-effective enough to be used in everyday real-world applications. Building on the solid foundation of SuperTruck I, Cummins will develop and demonstrate 55% or greater engine Brake Thermal Efficiency (BTE) at a 65 mph cruise condition and the full team will demonstrate a greater than 100% improvement in vehicle Freight-Ton Economy (FTE) over the 2009 baseline vehicle.

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XL Hybrids awarded DOE Small Business Vouchers Pilot; testing of first diesel/XL3 combo at Argonne

August 30, 2016

XL Hybrids, Inc. has been awarded test funding from the US Department of Energy (DOE) Small Business Vouchers Pilot (SBV). Testing validation and analysis of its XL3 Hybrid Electric Drive System for Reach walk-in commercial vans will be performed at Argonne National Laboratory. The goal of the SBV-funded project is to overcome specific technical challenges, the company said.

The Reach van from Utilimaster is a high-roof Class 3 delivery van that comes with a standard 151.4 inch wheelbase and the high efficiency 3.0L, 150 hp, Isuzu DOHC I-4 diesel engine. The XL3 hybrid system is available on the Reach van with 2,500 pounds payload capacity with the XL3 system installed. (Hybrid system weight is 385 lbs / 175 kg.)

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Researchers clarify role of cetane number and aromaticity in soot-NOx tradeoff

August 22, 2016

A study by researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology has found that the “persistent diesel dogma” of “the higher the cetane number (CN) the better” relative to the soot-NOx trade-off is valid in neither conventional or low temperature combustion operation. The open-access study, published in the journal Fuel also reported that a second piece of conventional wisdom—“the lower the aromaticity the better”— is valid in both combustion modes.

The researchers also devised a new, dimensionless parameter—Π—that holds distinct values for the various combustion modes. This can predict either a positive, neutral or negative impact of high CN and low aromaticity on the soot-NOx trade-off based on a given set of engine operating conditions.

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Study shows renewable diesel from crude tall oil is a high quality drop-in fuel for off-road engines

August 20, 2016

A team from the University of Vaasa (Finland) and UPM-Kymmene Corporation has examined how the blends of fossil and renewable diesel produced from crude tall oil (CTO) affect the performance and exhaust emissions of the modern common-rail off-road diesel engine.

The study, published in the journal Fuel, used four different fuel blends of low-sulfur fossil diesel fuel oil and CTO renewable fuel, UPM BioVerno (HB): HB10, HB20, HB50, and HB100. UPM BioVerno renewable diesel is produced from wood-based tall oil. (Earlier post.)

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2017 Range Rover Sport gains new Ingenium 2.0L diesel as option; semi-autonomous driving tech

August 17, 2016

For the 2017 Model Year, Range Rover Sport will debut the new 2.0-liter four-cylinder Ingenium diesel engine (earlier post), manufactured at Jaguar Land Rover’s own engine plant in Wolverhampton, UK. Already available on both Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque models, Ingenium is Jaguar Land Rover’s new breed of engine designed for performance, refinement and efficiency.

The 2017 Model Year Range Rover Sport is the first full-sized Land Rover SUV to feature a four-cylinder diesel engine. The all-aluminium 2.0-liter SD4 Ingenium produces 240 hp and 500 N·m (369 lb-ft) of torque, and is capable of returning (38 mpg US, 6.2 l/100 km) on the EU combined cycle with emissions of 164 g/km (manufacturer’s estimated data).

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KBA approves Volkswagen’s fix for 1.2-liter EA189 TDI diesel engine

August 14, 2016

Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) has approved the technical emissions-control solution—a software update—for vehicles with the 1.2-liter EA189 TDI diesel engine. The KBA approval applies to 460,000 vehicles of affected Group brands, including the Volkswagen Polo and SEAT Ibiza models.

The software update can now be promptly carried out on the first vehicles of the second affected engine-size category. The owners of these models are being successively informed and can then make an early appointment with an authorised workshop to have the update done.

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ORNL team further characterizes PM from RCCI combustion; possible different PM formation process than conventional diesel

August 04, 2016

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have been working for years to advance reactivity-controlled compression ignition (RCCI) technology (e.g., earlier post, earlier post). The work includes not only advancing the combustion technology itself, but also characterizing and analyzing the emissions from RCCI (earlier post).

In a new open-access paper published in the International Journal of Engine Research, the Oak Ridge team summarizes its research to date on characterizing the nature, chemistry and aftertreatment considerations of RCCI particulate matter (PM) and presents new research highlighting the importance of injection strategy and reactive and unreactive fuel compositions on RCCI PM formation.

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Ford’s new Dagenham Diesel EcoBlue engine production line reduces energy and water use by more than 50%

The new Ford EcoBlue diesel engine production line at Dagenham Engine Plant will reduce water and energy consumption by more than 50%. Dagenham Engine Plant is Ford’s largest diesel engine production facility globally, and produced the first EcoBlue diesel engine (earlier post) in April this year. Water usage per engine will be among the lowest at any Ford manufacturing facility worldwide, delivering an anticipated annual saving of 17.5 million liters of water compared with 2011—enough to fill seven Olympic-size swimming pools.

The reduction in the volume of coolant pumped around the facility also helps to significantly reduce energy usage. Three smaller coolant systems require around 70% less energy, and contribute to reducing energy use per engine from 188 kWh in 2011 to 92 kWh in 2016—the energy saved is roughly enough to power an average house for a week.

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Federal-Mogul Powertrain develops upgraded coating for heavy-duty piston rings

August 03, 2016

Federal-Mogul Powertrain has developed an upgrade to its GOETZE Diamond Coating (GDC) for piston rings, a technology that has been meeting heavy-duty diesel engine requirements for more than a decade. The new coating, GDC60, features higher diamond content than the established GDC50 to further reduce wear and has demonstrated lower friction and greater scuff resistance during testing.

The upgraded coating will be shown this September alongside other Federal-Mogul heavy-duty technologies at IAA Commercial Vehicles in Hanover.

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Penn State, U Mich team characterizes soot generated by low-temperature diesel combustion

July 29, 2016

Researchers from Penn State and the University of Michigan have characterized the nanostructure and oxidative reactivity of soot generated by a light-duty turbodiesel engine operating under a dilute, low-temperature combustion process referred to as high-efficiency clean combustion (HECC). Their paper appears in the International Journal of Engine Research.

Earlier work by members of the team (Gregory Lilik and André Boehman) had shown that high cetane number fuel with HECC leads to reductions in all primary pollutant emissions—i.e., THC and CO as well as NOx and PM. (Earlier post.) Less established, however, is how well such dilute combustion processes influence soot formation.

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BMW unveils latest Efficient Dynamics 3- and 4-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines

At its Innovation Days 2016 event in Munich, BMW unveiled new versions of its three and four- cylinder gasoline and diesel engines. Like their predecessors, the new power units are based on the modular system that enables the application of consistent design principles, a shared architecture and matching components.

The key elements of the standardized concept include the in-line engine’s basic design principle; an aluminium crankcase with uniform positioning of the intake and exhaust sides; a cylinder displacement of around 500 cubic centimeters per combustion chamber; as well as the arrangement of timing chains and ancillary units. In addition to this, the full line-up of gasoline and diesel engines feature BMW TwinPower Turbo technology.

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EPA finds moderate or severe corrosion in majority of diesel fuel underground storage tank systems studied

July 26, 2016

In a report released recently on corrosion inside diesel fuel underground storage tanks (USTs), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found moderate or severe corrosion that could affect metal components inside both steel and fiberglass underground tank systems. Corrosion inside USTs can cause equipment failure by preventing proper operation of release detection and prevention equipment. If left unchecked, corrosion could cause UST system failures and releases, which could lead to groundwater contamination.

Beginning around 2007, UST owners reported to servicing companies new incidents of severe and rapid corrosion of internal metal components of tanks storing diesel fuel. These reports usually described severe corrosion of equipment in upper portions of UST systems in the regions generally not submerged in fuel. Prior to 2007, a corrosion risk in diesel fuel tanks was considered minor and, if it occurred, appeared in the wetted, or lower, portion of the tank.

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