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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.]

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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Ultra high-strength materials reduce heavy-duty cylinder liner distortion; GOE330 compacted graphite iron

July 20, 2016

Federal-Mogul Powertrain has become the first company to bring ultra high-strength iron cylinder liners into series production. Made of a special form of compacted graphite iron (CGI), the latest formulation—designated GOE330—reduces the typical bore distortion under maximum piston side thrust by up to 27%, compared to existing iron materials. It is used in liner applications between 100 mm and 190 mm bore.

The Young’s Modulus of GOE330 is more than 15% greater than existing high-strength iron liner materials, while at 270 MPa its fatigue strength is approximately one-third higher. Future developments are planned that will achieve even higher levels of strength and stiffness.

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New study finds that ship emissions from HFO and diesel adversely affect pulmonary macrophages

A study by European researchers has found that ship emissions from the combustion of heavy fuel oil (HFO) and diesel fuel (DF) have adverse effects on pulmonary macrophages, from increased cell death to altered metabolic profile, depending upon the aerosol component. Their open access paper is published in the journal PLOS ONE.

Macrophages are white blood cells and are part of the immune system. Often referred to as scavenger cells, they absorb and engulf microorganisms. In addition, the cells destroy tumor cells, remove cell debris, present antigens and promote wound healing. There are four types of pulmonary macrophages: alveolar; interstitial; intravascular; and the dendritic. The alveolar macrophages are the only macrophages in the body which are exposed to air. Located at the interphase between air and lung tissue, they represent the first line of defense against inhaled airborne elements.

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Federal-Mogul Powertrain develops new diesel piston cooling technology

July 07, 2016

Federal-Mogul Powertrain, a division of Federal-Mogul Holdings Corporation, has developed a first in piston cooling technology by creating a sealed-for-life coolant chamber within the crown of its market-leading Monosteel heavy-duty diesel piston.

Branded EnviroKool, the technology allows pistons to run safely at crown temperatures in excess of 100 °C higher than today’s limits, working where appropriate in conjunction with high oxidation resistant steel alloys and protective crown coatings.

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U of I study: synthetic fuels via CO2 conversion and FT not currently economically & environmentally competitive

July 03, 2016

A study by a team at University of Illinois at Urbana−Champaign has found that, with currently achievable performance levels, synthetic fuels produced via the electrochemical reduction of CO2 and the Fischer-Tropsch (FT) process system are not economically and environmentally competitive with using petroleum-based fuel. A paper detailing the study is published in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels.

In their paper, the team investigated an integrated system that converts CO2 released from fossil fuel-burning power plants to synthetic diesel fuel via a combination of the electrochemical reduction of CO2 to CO and the FT process, which uses CO and H2 from electrolysis) as feedstocks.

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Volkswagen & Audi to pay >$14.7B in US to settle 2.0L diesel emissions case; $2B of that to promote ZEVs

June 28, 2016

Under a class action settlement agreement filed today (earlier post), Volkswagen and Audi in the US will pay more than $14.7 billion to settle complaints arising from its cheating on emissions from its 2.0-liter diesel engines. The class settlement creates a funding pool of up to $10.033 billion for affected consumers; companion settlements with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (ARB) call for an additional $4.7 billion for environmental impact. (California’’s share represents one-quarter of the total national mitigation funding of $4.7 billion dollars.)

The class-wide settlement in the Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation will provide owners and lessees of Volkswagen and Audi 2.0-liter diesel vehicles substantial compensation through buybacks and lease terminations, government-approved emissions modifications, and cash payments, while fixing or removing these polluting vehicles from the road.

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First investigation of HCCI combustion of polyoxymethylene dimethyl ether; alternative diesel fuel

June 25, 2016

Researchers at Tsinghua University, along with Professor Rolf Reitz at the Engine Research Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, have investigated for the first time the the characteristics of homogenous charge compression ignition (HCCI) of polyoxymethylene dimethyl ether (PODE).

PODE is a promising alternative fuel for diesel engines, and offers high volatility, high ignitability and high oxygen content. PODE is thus also suited for for blend and dual-fuel combustion—such as reactivity controlled compression ignition (RCCI)—due to the low-temperature chemistry. A paper on their work appears in the journal Fuel.

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Mercedes-Benz Trucks boosts power, lowers emissions and fuel consumption with latest generation OM 470 engine

June 17, 2016

At the upcoming IAA this fall, Mercedes-Benz Trucks will showcase the latest generation of the OM 470 six-cylinder in-line engine, which incorporates numerous new developments to achieve a further reduction in fuel consumption of up to 5%.

Mercedes-Benz is also introducing a new top-of-the-range variant with a power output of 335 kW (456 hp). All the heavy-duty engines benefit from new low-friction engine oils. The Mercedes PowerShift 3 twelve-speed transmissions have been modified for optimum efficiency and the driving strategy of the anticipatory cruise control system Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC) has been refined. The Actros additionally benefits from aerodynamic improvements.

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Scripps research ship fueled by 100% NEXBTL renewable diesel for 1 year; emissions analysis

June 14, 2016

In 2014, Scripps Institution of Oceanography received a grant from the US Department of Transportation to test the use of biofuel on the research vessel Robert Gordon Sproul for more than a year. Spearheaded by Scripps Associate Director Bruce Appelgate and co-led by Scripps atmospheric scientist Lynn Russell, the biofuel project investigated the viability of using hydrotreated renewable diesel fuel (HRD) on a long-term basis.

The Scripps researchers originally wanted to test renewable biodiesel produced from algae, but no manufacturers made algal biodiesel in the volume needed. Appelgate was able to take advantage of a newly-established reliable supply chain for another type of biodiesel, a hydrogenation-derived renewable diesel (HDRD) —purchased from Neste Oil Corporation: NEXBTL Renewable Diesel.

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Ricardo: achieving light-duty diesel RDE NOx compliance in urban driving is possible, at a price

June 11, 2016

A range of aftertreatment technology options are available to automakers seeking to achieve compliance with the impending EU Real Driving Emissions (RDE) regulations, according to the results of a Ricardo research project presented recently at the SIA Powertrain international conference and exhibition in Rouen, France. The SIA conference was focused on clean compression-ignition engines of the future.

Future RDE emissions legislation and fleet average CO2 targets represent a challenge for automakers wishing to provide cost-effective light duty diesel vehicles. But while the costs of implementation can be significant, a range of technologies is available which, applied in a combination and manner appropriate to needs of the vehicle, can deliver compliant performance in terms of both NOx and CO2.

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Germany’s KBA greenlights diesel emissions fix for 1.1M more VW Group cars; 2.5M in total

June 08, 2016

Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) has given the go-ahead for the modification of around 1.1 million more Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and Audi vehicles. The KBA has thus so far approved more than 2.5 million Group vehicles for the modification to correct the diesel emissions cheating issue.

The approval includes the Volkswagen Tiguan; Caddy from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles; and a series of A4, A5, A6 and Q5 vehicles, all fitted with EA 189 2.0-liter TDI engines.

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KBA approves software solution for VW 2.0L EA 189 diesels; more than 800K units to be retrofitted

June 03, 2016

Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) has approved the technical solutions proposed by Volkswagen for the Volkswagen Passat, CC and Eos models with 2.0l TDI EA 189 engines. (Earlier post.)

More than 800,000 vehicles affected by the diesel compliance issue are now to be recalled as soon as possible. The affected owners will receive letters from Volkswagen and can then arrange a service appointment. This is a continuation of the retrofit campaign for affected vehicles started by Volkswagen early this year. (Earlier post.)

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New 3-step process for conversion of kraft lignin from black liquor into green diesel

June 01, 2016

Researchers in Sweden and Spain have devised a three-step process for the conversion of precipitated kraft lignin from black liquor into green diesel. Their paper appears in the journal ChemSusChem.

The kraft process converts wood into wood pulp for paper production. The process produces a toxic byproduct referred to as black liquor—a primarily liquid mixture of pulping residues (such as lignin and hemicellulose) and inorganic chemicals from the Kraft process (sodium hydroxide and sodium sulfide, for example). For every ton of pulp produced, the kraft pulping process produces about 10 tons of weak black liquor or about 1.5 tons of black liquor dry solids.

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Mercedes-Benz investing ~€3B in new engine technology; new diesel family, particulate filters for gasoline engines

May 27, 2016

Mercedes-Benz is investing about €3 billion (US$3.4 billion) in engine technology to ensure further improvements in fuel consumption and emissions in gasoline and diesel engines in current as well as current vehicles, according to Prof. Dr. Thomas Weber, Daimler Board of Management Member for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development.

With the new E 220d, Mercedes-Benz introduced the completely newly developed four-cylinder diesel engine OM 654 (earlier post)—the first of a modular new diesel engine family that fulfills future RDE emissions requirements and that will be applied throughout the entire portfolios of Mercedes-Benz Cars and also at Mercedes-Benz Vans.

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ULEMCo delivers first hydrogen-diesel dual-fuel refuse trucks to Fife Council in Scotland

May 23, 2016

ULEMCo, the developer of a hydrogen-diesel dual fuel conversion system for commercial vehicles, has delivered its first hydrogen dual-fuel refuse vehicles to Fife Council in Scotland. The trucks, which deliver reduced CO2 emissions as well as improving air quality for the local community, are planned for use in densely populated urban areas, where improving air quality is a major concern.

The dual-fuel engines are equipped with hydrogen injection and a separate ECU control system. A diesel pilot injection initiates combustion of the hydrogen, which is stored onboard at 350 bar. CO2 emissions under dual fuel mode are approximately 70% less than a comparable diesel vehicle, according to the company.

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Cummins unveils SmartEfficiency initiative for transit buses; diesel, hybrid and near-zero NOx engines

May 20, 2016

Cummins Inc. unveiled the SmartEfficiency initiative for transit buses, which focuses on improved uptime and reliability. As part of the SmartEfficiency initiative, Cummins revealed the 2017 L9 diesel and 2017 B6.7 hybrid engine systems; the ISL G Near Zero (NZ) NOx natural gas engine (earlier post); the isolated engine coolant loop system for the 2017 L9 and ISL G; and a new SmartSupport service program.

Available in 2017, the L9 for transit applications will continue to use the modular aftertreatment architecture. A SmartEfficiency-driven improvement is the isolated coolant loop for transit buses using an L9 or ISL G powertrain, which improves reliability and reduces downtime.

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BMW introducing new quad-turbo 6-cylinder diesel in 7 Series; engine output up 5%, average fuel consumption down 11%

May 17, 2016

BMW is introducing its new quad-turbo, six-cylinder diesel, described several weeks ago at the Vienna Motor Symposium, in the BMW 750d xDrive and BMW 750Ld xDrive. The new diesel—billed by BMW as the world’s most powerful six cylinder diesel, generates maximum output of 294 kW/400 hp and peak torque of 760 N·m (560 lb-ft).

The 14 kW/19 hp (i.e. 5%) increase in output and peak torque up by 20 N·m (15 lb-ft) are accompanied by a 11% reduction in average fuel consumption and emissions over the predecessor model. Combined cycle fuel consumption is 5.9 – 5.7 l/100 km (39.8 – 41.2 mpg US); the corresponding CO2 emissions are 154 – 149 g/km. The engine comes standard with intelligent all-wheel drive.

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Sandia team develops autoignition model designed for efficient, accurate engine simulations

May 12, 2016

Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have developed a model for how diesel engines autoignite. Understanding the fundamental processes that produce autoignition can lead to designs that improve engine efficiency and reduce emissions by optimizing the timing and location of ignition.

Sandia postdoctoral researcher Layal Hakim, working with mentors and Sandia principal investigators Guilhem Lacaze and Joe Oefelein, designed and implemented an optimized chemical model that describes autoignition of a diesel fuel surrogate and quantifies the degree of uncertainty in the model.

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Volvo Trucks introduces new one-box aftertreatment system

May 06, 2016

Volvo Trucks North America recently introduced a new one-box design for its Exhaust Aftertreatment System (EATS), resulting in increased flexibility, increased fuel capacity and a more aerodynamic vehicle. Standard with Volvo D11- and Volvo D13-equipped vehicles, the one-box EATS offers greater flexibility with the vehicle.

The smaller packaging benefits Volvo’s on-highway lineup—VNM, VNL and VAH models—with increased frame rail space for additional fuel capacity or to mount APUs or any other frame-mounted accessories. On the vocational side, the one-box system provides the Volvo VHD better back-of-cab clearance and up to 12 inches of frame rail space to provide body builders greater flexibility for equipment installation.

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Volkswagen brings new 3.0L diesels to Amarok pickup

May 02, 2016

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is fitting its premium pick-up, the Amarok, with the latest generation of Volkswagen V6 diesel engines. The top performing 3.0-liter unit will deliver 550 N·m (406 lb-ft) of torque at 1,500 rpm; 224 PS (221 hp, 165 kW); and meet the Euro 6 emissions standard. At 550 N·m, this maximum torque is 130 N·m higher than in the previous model.

The highest gear’s long gear ratio in the manual or 8-speed automatic gearbox reduces revs and fuel consumption during consistently fast driving, and thus helps reduce noise levels and CO2 emissions. The combined NEDC fuel consumption of the new Amarok with 224 PS and 8-speed automatic gearbox is expected to be 7.6 liters/100 km (around 31 mpg US). This corresponds to a new top level of 199 grams CO2/km.

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Ford introduces new 2.0L EcoBlue diesel; fuel consumption cut by up to 13%

April 26, 2016

In Europe, Ford revealed the all-new 2.0-liter EcoBlue diesel engine—the first in a new range of diesels that will offer optimized fuel efficiency and reduced CO2 and NOx emissions. Building on the performance and technology of Ford’s award-winning EcoBoost gasoline engines, the EcoBlue diesel range will deliver power outputs ranging from 100 PS to 240 PS (99 to 237 hp).

The four-cylinder 2.0-liter Ford EcoBlue debuts in the new Transit and Transit Custom commercial vehicles, increasing fuel efficiency by more than 10%. Drivability is enhanced with 20% more torque at 1,250 rpm compared with the outgoing equivalent power 2.2-liter TDCi diesel engine. The new engine also delivers passenger car refinement to the commercial segment, reducing radiated noise by 4 decibels at idle.

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Volkswagen AG decides not to release interim report on diesel emissions investigation; cites current negotiations with US authorities

April 23, 2016

On Friday, Volkswagen AG announced that the Supervisory Board and the Management Board of Volkswagen have decided not to release the interim results of the investigation into the diesel emission cheating as originally planned. Disclosure of interim results at this point in time would “present unacceptable risks for Volkswagen” they company said and, therefore, cannot take place now.

The decision was based on the assessment of the US law firms retained by Volkswagen (Sullivan & Cromwell and Jones Day), which have both strongly advised against such a disclosure independently of each other.

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German report on VW diesel scandal finds large gap between lab and real-world NOx emissions for German automakers; 630K vehicles in voluntary recall

April 22, 2016

A German inquiry launched as a result of the Volkswagen diesel emission scandal has found that there is a large gap between homologated emissions values from lab testing and real-world driving results for all German manufacturers.

German Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt, who presented the results of the inquiry on Friday, said that only Volkswagen had used a software defeat device that detected test cycles (Prüfzykluserkennung) and altered calibrations accordingly. However, other manufacturers do use a thermal window (Thermofenster) technique that cuts back on emissions treatment at certain temperatures—presumably to protect the engine against damage.

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Volvo Trucks used SuperTruck learnings to boost efficiency, performance in 2017 powertrains; wave piston, turbocompounding, injection

April 14, 2016

Key learnings from Volvo’s SuperTruck (earlier post) efforts played a critical role in the design and engineering of Volvo Trucks North America’s recently introduced 2017 powertrain, delivering improved fuel efficiency and performance to customers. (Earlier post.)

The development of several new features, such as the wave piston, turbo compounding and a common rail fuel injection system, was supported by the SuperTruck program, sponsored by the US Department of Energy (DOE).

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New ACE researchers propose new diesel combustion concept; pathway to >50% BTE without WHR

April 11, 2016

A team at Japan’s New ACE Institute—an industry-funded research initiative founded to develop a new diesel combustion concept—has developed a new diffusion-combustion-based concept with multiple fuel injectors to overcome the trade-offs of thermal efficiency with energy loss and exhaust emissions typical of conventional diesel engines.

In a presentation at the 2016 SAE High Efficiency IC Engine Symposium, Noboru Uchida, general manager of research for New ACE, outlined the basic approach, which he said potentially offers a pathway to greater than 50% brake thermal efficiency without the use of waste heat recovery systems. A paper on their concept is also published in SAE International Journal of Engines.

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MAN Diesel & Turbo delivers 1st IMO-certified two-stroke with Tier III NOx control, EGR systems

April 06, 2016

Hyundai’s Ship Building Division (HHI-SBD) has finalized a contract for 2 × Suezmax tankers for Turkish shipowner, Ditas Shipping. The 158,000-m3 crude-oil tankers will each be powered by individual MAN B&W 6G70ME-C9.5 two-stroke main-engines that feature integrated Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) systems.

While there are already IMO Tier III-compliant vessels with EGR systems in service, the Suezmax newbuilds will be the first vessels with keel-laying after 1 January 2016 to be officially certified as complying with Tier III emission restrictions within existing North American NOx Emission Control Areas (NECAs) and the United States Caribbean Sea NECA.

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Groupe Renault taking two actions to reduce real-world NOx from diesel Euro 6b vehicles; deploying in July 2016

April 05, 2016

Groupe Renault has studied and is deploying a number of actions designed to reduce the NOx emissions of its diesel Euro 6b vehicles in customer driving conditions without a noticeable impact on performance or fuel consumption. The measures will be applied in factory on diesel Euro 6b vehicles from July 2016.

From October 2016, customers who have already taken delivery of a Diesel Euro 6b vehicle can arrange to have the modifications applied, free of charge, via a visit to their Renault dealer. Groupe Renault is implementing two changes:

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Opel outlines steps in engineering initiative for WLTP-based fuel consumption numbers and improved NOx reduction

March 29, 2016

Opel has outlined the details of its engineering initiative with respect to fuel consumption numbers and improved NOx reductions as announced last December. (Earlier post.)

Starting with the new Opel Astra from June 2016 onwards, and in addition to the official fuel consumption and CO2 information, Opel will publish fuel consumption numbers reflecting different driving behavior recorded under the WLTP test cycle. In addition, Opel will implement an initiative to improve NOx emissions on SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) diesel applications in new vehicles from August onwards.

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EPA report: diesel engine grant program has delivered major air, public health benefits

March 26, 2016

Clean diesel grants aimed at cleaning up old diesel engines have greatly improved public health by cutting harmful pollution that causes premature deaths, asthma attacks, and missed school and workdays, according to a new report by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Since its start in 2008, the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) program has significantly improved air quality for communities across the country by retrofitting and replacing older diesel engines. From 2009 to 2013, EPA awarded $520 million to retrofit or replace 58,800 engines in vehicles, vessels, locomotives or other pieces of equipment.

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Volvo Trucks unveils new powertrains featuring increased power and 2.2 to 6.5% better fuel efficiency

March 22, 2016

Volvo Trucks North America launched several new integrated powertrain solutions, offering increased fuel efficiency, productivity, reliability, packaging, comfort and uptime. Volvo’s new powertrain offerings include multiple engine enhancements, such as turbo compounding for the Volvo D13 engine; the introduction of Volvo I-Shift with Crawler Gears automated manual transmission; and a one-box Exhaust Aftertreatment System (EATS).

As a result of the improvements, Volvo is delivering between 2.2 to 6.5% better fuel efficiency with the 2017 engines compared with the previous generation.

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Audi unveils redesigned R18 diesel hybrid Le Mans racer for 2016 season

Audi unveiled its redesigned R18 diesel hybrid Le Mans racer for the 2016 World Endurance Championship (WEC) season. Among the new features in the R18 are a more radical aerodynamics concept, including a new safety cell; a Li-ion battery replacing the flywheel energy storage system; and a revised V6 TDI diesel engine. As a result, Audi’s LMP1 sports car is more powerful and more efficient than its predecessor; the new R18 consumes less fuel than any of the generations before it.

The new hybrid TDI powertrain delivers power output of more than 1,000 hp (746 kW), along with 10% less consumption that its immediate predecessor. The current V6 TDI consumes 32.4% less fuel than the first generation did in 2011.

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Renault upgrades heavy-duty Trucks T for lower fuel consumption, higher payload

March 17, 2016

Less than three years after its launch and positive feedback from customers, Renault is upgrading the heavy-duty Trucks T to help it be even more cost efficient for its users. The 2016 version of the T benefits from improvements to the chassis and driveline, enabling it to reduce its consumption by up to a further 2%, while at the same time increasing the payload by up to 114 kg (251 lbs). It is also introducing Optivision, a predictive cruise control system with GPS.

Renault pursued three main tracks in the upgrade, in addition to basic engine efficiency improvements: improving the aerodynamics to reduce fuel consumption; reducing the weight to increase payload; and encouraging eco-driving by means of a predictive GPS navigation system, said Sophie Rivière, the Long Haul segment manager at Renault Trucks

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DOE to award $12.5M to improve efficiency of medium- and heavy-duty trucks as part of new tech track for US-China initiative

March 13, 2016

The US Department of Energy is soliciting applications (DE-FOA-0001542) for the formation of a Consortium to pursue five identified R&D topic areas related to improving the operating efficiency of medium- and heavy-duty trucks. The Consortium that is funded through this solicitation will form a new technical track under the US-China Clean Energy Research Center, a bilateral initiative to encourage R&D collaboration and accelerate technology development and deployment in both countries.

Funding available is $12.5 million, and will support the US Consortium. In parallel, and with equivalent resources, Chinese funding will support a collaborative counterpart Chinese Consortium. The US consortium will pursue five topics; responsive application will address all five. These are:

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Mercedes-Benz launches new E-Class; new engines, PHEV, driver assistance systems; DRIVE PILOT

March 09, 2016

Mercedes-Benz has launched the new tenth-generation E-Class, introduced at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) this January. (Earlier post.) The new generation features technology innovations in a number of areas, including driver assistance and powertrains, with new efficient engines and a plug-in hybrid version.

Initially, the E 200 d models of the new E-Class will be available with an all-new four-cylinder OM 654 diesel engine (earlier post), while the E 200 will be powered by a four-cylinder gasoline engine and the E 350 d by a six-cylinder diesel.

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ViriCiti, Simacan tool predicts energy usage and savings per route by driving electric

March 04, 2016

ViriCiti B.V., a provider of telematics systems for electric city buses and trucks, and Simacan B.V., a provider of real-time traffic information, are partnering to develop a new online tool that predicts the energy usage and savings per route by driving electric.

The EV Fleet Analyzer provides insights into when the deployment of electric distribution vehicles is profitable. With this tool, ViriCiti and Simacan aim to increase the use of electric vehicles.

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Audi SQ7 features new V8 TDI, 48V system, electric compressor

March 03, 2016

Audi is introducing a diesel-engined S model to its Q7 model line. The newly developed 4.0-liter V8 diesel delivers 320 kW (435 hp) and 900 N·m (663.8 lb-ft), with estimated NEDC fuel consumption of 7.4 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (31.8 mpg US), corresponding to CO2 emissions of 194 grams per kilometer (312.2 g/mi). The SQ7 accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 4.8 seconds; top speed is 250 km/h (155.3 mph) (governed).

Among its features are an electric compressor with a supporting 48V subsytem that augments the work of the two turbochargers. Audi engineers will present a paper on the new V8 TDI at the upcoming Vienna Motor Symposium in April.

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Volkswagen AG timeline on diesel emissions scandal

As part of a response to a shareholder lawsuit in Germany alleging a violation of the company’s disclosure obligations under Germany’s capital markets law, Volkswagen AG has outlined the timeline and background events leading to the eruption of the diesel emissions scandal last fall.

The company emphasized that the material in the statement of defense submitted to the Braunschweig District Court (Landgericht Braunschweig) does not replace the independent investigation for the complete clarification of the diesel matter which is being conducted by the law firm Jones Day and is ongoing. Volkswagen said it was making the public announcement to correct the “selective and incomplete publication of documents in the media about the diesel matter and to avoid having partial excerpts of its statement of defense published in the media.”

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Initial results from French NOx emissions testing of 100 diesels show high discrepancies between official and on-the-road results

February 29, 2016

Two French environmental NGOs—France Nature Environment (FNE) and Réseau Action Climat (RAC)—along with European umbrella NGO Transport & Environment (T&E), have released initial test results from the Royal Commission’s inquiry into diesel engine NOx emissions in France. The initial results from 22 vehicles from different automakers highlight the discrepancy between the emissions levels measured in official testing and those emitted by cars on the road.

French environment minister Ségolène Royal established the commission last October following the Volkswagen scandal and concerns that the rigging of emissions testing procedures might be happening at other carmaking companies. The Royal Commission is testing 100 vehicles.

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New route to renewable diesel and jet from biomass-derived platform compounds

Researchers in China have developed a new route to the production of renewable diesel and jet fuel-range branched alkanes by combining the hydroxyalkylation/alkylation (HAA) of 2-methylfuran (MF)—a biomass-derived platform compound—with angelica lactone—another biomass-derived compound—and subsequent hydrodeoxygenation.

Under solvent-free conditions, the researchers obtained 81.3% yield of HAA products; after the HDO of the hydrogenated HAA products over 5 wt% Pd/C catalyst, they achieved 81.0% carbon yield of diesel or jet fuel-range alkanes. Compared to a 2-MF–levulinic acid (or ester) route proposed in their earlier work, the new 2-MF–angelica lactone route offers higher HAA reactivity.

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EPA announces availability of $26M for projects to reduce diesel emissions from existing fleet

February 26, 2016

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of $26 million in grant funding to establish clean diesel projects aimed at reducing emissions from the US’ existing fleet of diesel engines. Diesel-powered engines move approximately 90% of the nation’s freight tonnage, and today nearly all highway freight trucks, locomotives, and commercial marine vessels are powered by diesel engines.

EPA is soliciting proposals nationwide for projects that significantly reduce diesel emissions and exposure, especially from fleets operating in areas designated as having poor air quality. Priority for funding will be given to projects that engage and benefit local communities and applicants that demonstrate their ability to promote and continue efforts to reduce emissions after the project has ended.

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Mercedes-Benz Trucks approves HVO renewable diesel for its medium- and heavy-duty engines; neat or blended

February 22, 2016

With immediate effect, Mercedes-Benz Trucks is granting approval for the use of Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) renewable diesel for the in-line six-cylinder engine variants of the Mercedes-Benz OM 470, OM 471 (first generation) and OM 936 as well as the in-line four-cylinder variants of the OM 934 meeting the Euro VI emissions standard. The engines are designed as standard to make use of the new HVO fuel. The approval applies to all engine variants whatever their output category.

HVO is a renewable diesel produced from waste materials such as waste fat, used cooking oil and also oil from crop plants. The HVO raw material is sourced from controlled and certified cultivation facilities and as such does not compete with foodstuff production. A leading example is Neste’s NEXBTL.

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Diesel/2-methylfuran blends show higher brake thermal efficiency, higher NOx than diesel

Researchers at Wuhan University report on the first comprehensive study of the combustion and emissions performance of blends of diesel and the renewable fuel 2-methylfuran (MF) in compression-ignition engines. Their paper is published in the journal Fuel.

Among their findings were that diesel–MF blends show higher brake thermal efficiency (BTE) than pure diesel. However, diesel–MF blends also lead to higher NOx emissions than pure diesel and the NOx emissions are increased with the increase of MF fraction.

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Germany launches new study of oxymethylene ethers for optimizing clean diesel combustion

February 15, 2016

The German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) via FNR (Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe e.V.), BMEL’s central project-coordinating agency in the area of renewable resources, is funding a 3-year study of oxymethylene ethers (OME) as clean diesel fuels with €800,000 (US$894,000).

Oxymethylene ethers (OME) are synthetic compounds of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen (CH3O(CH2O)nCH3). Due to their high oxygen concentration, they suppress pollutant formation in combustion. As diesel fuels, they reduce the emission of carbon black and NOx. Ford is currently leading a €3.5-million (US$3.9-million) research project, co-funded with the German government, to test cars running on monooxymethylene ether (OME1) and DME. (Earlier post.)

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Mercedes-Benz introducing new diesel family in E 220 d this spring; new OM 654 with 13% lower fuel consumption; diesel “indispensable”

Mercedes-Benz is introducing a new family of diesel engines, starting with the new all-aluminum four-cylinder OM 654, which will make its world premiere in the new E-Class E 220 d in spring 2016.

The modular family of engines will find broad application across the entire range of Mercedes-Benz cars and vans. There are plans for several output variants as well as longitudinal and transverse installation in vehicles with front-, rear- and all-wheel drive.

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Continental urea sensors for efficient SCR NOx aftertreatment in diesels; measuring level, quality and temperature

February 05, 2016

Continental has begun production of urea sensors for the first time to support more efficient exhaust-gas aftertreatment in diesel engines. The sensor measures the level, quality, and temperature of the aqueous urea solution in the “AdBlue” tank used in conjunction with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) for NOx reduction.

The sensor-aided denitrification supports fulfillment of the legal requirements and reinforces drivers’ trust that their car emits no more than the maximum permissible level of nitrogen oxides.

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IMP develops new material to remove nitrogen compounds from crude oil for more efficient desulfurization

February 03, 2016

The Mexican Oil Institute (IMP) has developed a catalyst adsorbent material that removes 80% of organic compounds from crude oil prior to hydrodesulfurization. It allows Pemex, the Mexican oil company, to generate ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) more quickly and cheaply. Dr. Rodolfo Mora, head of the project, said that the research was initiated by Pemex’ need to convert its diesel from 500 parts per million (ppm) of sulfur to 15 ppm ULSD.

Its use in a preliminary process will increase the life of the catalyst for up to 30 months over current standards by avoiding high temperatures and pressures during operation in the reactor.

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Volkswagen Group begins EA189 diesel engine emission fixes in Europe; 2.0L Amarok first

In December 2015, the Volkswagen Group presented specific technical measures to the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) for the EA189 engines affected by the NOx issue. (Earlier post.) As agreed, the Group began implementing the measures in Germany at the end of January for 2.0L engines.

Volkswagen is starting with the Amarok (a mid-size pickup truck produced by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles), with the Passat to follow shortly. The installation of the new engine control software means that the Amarok now meets the limits required to comply with the EU5 emissions standard. Over the next few months, the measures will also be implemented on the engines with 1.2- and 1.6-liter displacements.

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FCA updating Euro 6 calibrations to improve emission performance under real driving conditions

February 02, 2016

FCA (Fiat Chrysler), as a voluntary measure, not mandated or requested by any regulatory authorities, will be updating its Euro 6 calibrations with new data sets to improve emission performance in real driving conditions. These new calibrations will be ready starting from April 2016 and will be available on all new vehicles sold on or after that date, and will be made available to all other owners of Euro 6 FCA vehicles at no charge, as part of vehicle calibration update programs that are implemented on a regular basis. This does not constitute a recall campaign, the company said.

In addition, FCA said it intends to accelerate its ongoing programs to expand application of Active Selective Catalytic Reduction (or SCR) technology that is already used in certain FCA vehicles, to make it available on other diesel engines families starting from the second quarter of 2017, well in advance of any applicable regulatory requirements.

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European Parliament to vote on proposal to veto increased diesel emissions limits

January 19, 2016

The European Parliament will vote at the next plenary session on a proposal to veto a draft decision to raise diesel car emission limits for NOx by up to 110% when the Real Driving Emissions (RDE) test procedure is introduced.

Parliament’s Environment Committee argues that MEPs should veto plans to relax the limits because this would undermine the enforcement of existing EU standards.

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PSA Peugeot Citroën: tests confirm environmental performance of BlueHDi SCR technology for diesel NOx control

January 15, 2016

PSA Peugeot Citroën announced that the initial results obtained by the Peugeot 208 and Peugeot 508 in tests organized by the technical committee led by the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy comply with regulations and are aligned with homologated data.

The company said that the results confirm the effectiveness of its BlueHDi after-treatment system, in which selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology is positioned upstream of the particulate filter to eliminate up to 90% of the nitrogen NOx released by diesel engines, bringing NOx emissions down to levels near those of gasoline engines. At the same time, diesel engines maintain their advantage of 15% lower CO2 emissions and 20% greater fuel efficiency.

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California ARB rejects VW 2-liter diesel recall plan and issues Notice of Violation

January 12, 2016

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) is rejecting VW’s submitted recall plan for 2-liter diesel passenger vehicles sold in California between 2009 and 2015 which were sold with the software defeat devices. It also notified VW of violations of California air quality regulations associated with the company’s use of a defeat device in those cars.

This rejection only applies to VW’s diesel 2.0L vehicles, not 3.0L vehicles. The submission of the recall plan for 3.0L vehicles is due to ARB on 2 February 2016. ARB made public three separate official documents related to its actions: A transmittal letter signed by Executive Officer Richard W. Corey; the rejection of VW’s submitted recall plan; and the formal Notice of Violation. ARB said that VW’s recall plan fell short in a number of areas, including:

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US files civil complaint against Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche for alleged Clean Air Act violations

January 04, 2016

The US Department of Justice, on behalf of the US Environmental Protection Agency, has filed a civil complaint in federal court in Detroit, Michigan against Volkswagen AG, Audi AG, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., Volkswagen Group of America Chattanooga Operations, LLC, Porsche AG, and Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (collectively referred to as Volkswagen). The complaint alleges that nearly 600,000 diesel engine vehicles had illegal defeat devices installed that impair their emission control systems and cause emissions to exceed EPA’s standards, resulting in harmful air pollution. (Earlier post.)

The complaint further alleges that Volkswagen violated the Clean Air Act by selling, introducing into commerce, or importing into the United States motor vehicles that are designed differently from what Volkswagen had stated in applications for certification to EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

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Fulcrum BioEnergy files LCFS application for municipal solid waste to FT diesel pathway with low CI of 37.47 g/MJ

January 03, 2016

Fulcrum BioEnergy, the parent company of Fulcrum Sierra BioFuels, has applied for a new fuel pathway under the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCSF) for its process of converting municipal solid waste (MSW) into Fischer-Tropsch (“FT”) diesel fuel.

The California LCFS mandates a 10% reduction by 2020 in the carbon intensity (CI) of transportation fuels. The program requires that transportation fuels used in California meet a baseline target for carbon intensity which is reduced each year. For 2016, the target for diesel and diesel substitutes is 99.97 gCO2e/MJ (Earlier post.) Fulcrum is requesting a CI of 37.47 g/MJ for its MSW-to-FT diesel.

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Dalian team proposes jet controlled compression ignition to control PCCI phasing in a hybrid pneumatic engine

December 30, 2015

Researchers at the Dalian University of Technology have proposed a novel method to control premixed charge compression ignition (PCCI) phasing in internal combustion engines in all load operations. High-pressure air jet controlled compression ignition (JCCI) is based on a compound thermodynamic cycle and is implemented in a hybrid pneumatic engine (HPE) as proposed by Schechter in 1999.

The application of HPE is also beneficial to the fuel consumption and emissions because of its several flexible operation modes. A paper on the use of JCCI is published in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels.

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EPS advancing diesel engine for general aviation applications; 30-50% lower fuel consumption than gasoline

December 19, 2015

Engineered Propulsion Systems (EPS) has developed and is advancing a 4.3-liter, 8-cylinder diesel engine for general aviation (GA) applications. Based on a CGI (compacted graphite iron) cylinder block, the Graflight V-8 (formerly called the Vision 350, earlier post) will enable 30-50% lower fuel consumption and emissions compared to conventional aero engines, according to the company.

As an example, EPS suggests that a Cirrus SR22 (a single-engine four- or five-seat composite aircraft) fitted with the Graflight V-8 could carry the equivalent of two additional passengers flying the same distance as with a Continental gasoline 315 horsepower engine while still realizing a 40% reduction in fuel cost. Engine and flight tests are currently underway and EPS expects Federal Aviation Authority approvals during 2017.

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German KBA ratifies fixes for Volkswagen 1.2, 1.6 and 2.0L diesels; implementation begins in January

December 17, 2015

After a review, the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) has fully ratified the measures proposed by Volkswagen to address the NOx emissions issues in Europe for the 1.2-liter EA189 diesels as well as the 1.6- and 2.0-liter versions. (Earlier post.) The vehicle owners will shortly be informed about the next steps. Volkswagen will begin implementation right at the start of 2016.

The 1.2-liter and 2.0-liter engines will get a software update. Labor time will be just under half an hour. The 1.6-liter engines will also get a software update. In addition, a “flow rectifier” will be fitted in front of the air mass sensor. The labor time for implementing these measures will be less than an hour.

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SwRI-led AC2AT consortium launches second year of advanced emissions research with focus on improving aftertreatment and fuel efficiency strategies

The Advanced Combustion Catalyst and Aftertreatment Technologies (AC2AT) consortium, led by Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), will focus on four research projects in its second year. (Earlier post.)

During the first year of work, the consortium made progress in its understanding of the complex nature of emissions from today’s high-performance, high-efficiency gasoline and diesel engines, said Dr. Cary Henry, a manager in SwRI’s Engine, Emissions, and Vehicle Research Division who leads the AC2AT consortium. This year’s focus will be on specific projects to improve aftertreatment and fuel efficiency strategies for these engines.

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Opel to begin publishing WLTP fuel consumption numbers in Q2 2016; improving SCR for NOx reductions

December 15, 2015

Beginning in Q2 2016, and in addition to the official fuel consumption and CO2 information, Opel will start publishing fuel consumption numbers recorded under the WLTP cycle, starting with the new Astra.

In addition, Opel’s diesel engineers have recently started working on an initiative to implement NOx emission improvements on SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) diesel applications. This is a voluntary and early improvement towards the RDE (Real Driving Emissions) legislation that goes into effect in Europe in 2017. Opel said it is committed to providing the testing authorities transparency.

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Volkswagen AG provides details on investigations into NOx cheating; origin and fixes; new strategic direction

December 10, 2015

At a press conference in Germany today, Volkswagen Group executives provided details on the status of its investigation—which is being coordinated by a special committee of the Supervisory Board—into the diesel emissions debacle. (Earlier post.)

Approximately 450 internal and external experts are involved in the investigations, which are being conducted in two phases. An internal review, being conducted by a task force of experts from various Group companies with a clearly defined mandate and a deadline, is focused on the mandate to Group Audit by the Supervisory Board and the Management Board to investigate relevant processes, reporting and monitoring systems, and the associated infrastructure.

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euglena planning commercial production of biojet and renewable diesel from algae in Japan

December 02, 2015

Japan-based euglena Co. plans to produce and supply biojet and renewable diesel in Japan at commercial scale in the 2020s with support from the City of Yokohama, Chiyoda Corporation, Itochu Enex Co., Isuzu Motors and All Nippon Airways (ANA). The company will build Japan’s first demonstration plant for the production of biojet/biodiesel fuels in Yokohama, with operations planned to begin in 2018.

The company has been investigating the production of biojet from the microalgae Euglena since May 2010 (earlier post) and has also partnered with Isuzu in research on next-generation (i.e. drop-in hydrocarbon) renewable diesel production from Euglena since June 2014. In June 2015, the company signed a Technology License Agreement for the ISOCONVERSION process with Chevron Lummus Global and Applied Research Associates (ARA). (Earlier post.)

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ICCT-led test of 73 Euro 6 diesels finds large difference in NOx results under NEDC and more realistic WLTC

A team from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) with colleagues from the US, China and Germany tested 73 Euro 6 diesel passenger cars on a chassis dynamometer over both the European type-approval cycle (NEDC, cold engine start) and the more realistic Worldwide harmonized light-duty test cycle (WLTC version 2.0, hot start) between 2012 and 2015. The cars featured three different types of NOx control technologies (8 EGR only, 40 LNT, and 25 SCR).

In a paper published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, they reported that while most vehicles met the Euro 6 legislative limit of 0.08 g/km of NOx over NEDC, the average emission factors rose significantly over WLTC. The findings, the team said, illustrate how diesel NOx emissions are not properly controlled under the current, NEDC-based homologation framework.

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New Audi R18 makes its debut; fundamental redesign of diesel hybrid racer with Li-ion battery storage

November 29, 2015

The new Audi R18 made its world premiere on the occasion of the Audi Sport Finale at the Audi Training Center Munich on Saturday. Audi Sport has fundamentally re-designed the Audi R18 for the 2016 season.

The LMP1 race car that will compete in the Le Mans 24 Hours and in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in 2016 features innovative aerodynamics; represents the next stage in lightweight design; and has a modified hybrid system with lithium-ion batteries for energy storage, plus an efficiency-optimized TDI engine. The 2015 R18 e-tron quattro racer featured an encapsulated WHP flywheel energy storage system that sat in the cockpit alongside the driver. (Earlier post.)

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VW’s relatively simple technical fixes for cheating 1.6 and 2.0L diesels accepted by KBA; 1.2L fix coming by end of month

November 25, 2015

The Volkswagen Group has proposed the specific technical fixes for the non-compliant 1.6-liter and 2.0-liter diesel EA 189 engines equipped with the software defeat device resulting in excessive NOxemissions to the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (Kraftfahrtbundesamt, KBA). Following an examination, these measures have been ratified by the KBA. (The remedies announced by Volkswagen AG apply only to affected TDI vehicles in Europe, and not to affected TDI vehicles in the United States and Canada.)

For the 1.6-liter diesel, a “flow transformer” will be fitted directly in front of the air mass sensor. This mesh will calm the swirled air flow in front of the air mass sensor and thus improving the measuring accuracy of the air mass sensor. The air mass sensor determines the current air mass throughput—a very important parameter for the engine management for an optimum combustion process.

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DUH charges that Renault Espace diesel emits 13-25 times Euro 6 NOx limit; Renault disputes

The 1.6-liter Renault Espace diesel is the latest vehicle to come in the emissions crosshairs of German environmental NGO Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH). DUH published results of emissions testing by the University of Bern showing that NOx emissions from New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) driven tests with a warm engine exceed the applicable limit for Euro 6 vehicles 13- to 25-fold.

Renault immediately issued a statement disputing the Umwelthilfe findings, and asserted that Espace complies with applicable regulations, just as do all Renault vehicles.

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Audi to revise auxiliary emission control devices for US V6 TDI 3L diesel, resubmit to EPA and ARB; mid-double-digit million euro cost

November 23, 2015

Audi will revise, document in detail, and resubmit for US approval certain parameters of the engine-management software used in the US version of the V6 TDI 3 liter diesel engine.

The action plan is the result of the discussions held between a delegation from Audi AG and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) in response to the 2 November EPA notice of violation (NOV) in which Audi was informed that AECDs (Auxiliary Emission Control Devices) were not sufficiently described and declared in the application for US type approval. That will now be done with the updated software and the documentation. (Earlier post.)

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KIT researchers developing low-pressure carbonitriding process for hardening steel with methylamine; applications in downsized engines

A team at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is developing a new low-pressure process for hardening steel using methylamine. The new low-pressure carbonitriding (enriching low-alloy steels with carbon and nitrogen) process saves time and process gas. Steels hardened in this way are suited for use in components subjected to high mechanical and thermal loads in downsized, energy-efficient and low-emission engines of the future.

The KIT researchers, along with their colleagues at Bosch, presented the process in a recent paper published in HTM - Journal of Heat Treatment and Materials.

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Volkswagen submits recall plan for 2-liter diesel cars to California Air Resources Board; ARB to respond

November 21, 2015

The Volkswagen Group of America (VW) submitted a recall plan to the California Air Resources Board (ARB) on Friday, responding to the violations described in ARB’s 18 September 2015 letter to VW concerning illegal defeat devices in 2-liter diesel-powered vehicles, model years 2009-2015. (Earlier post.)

The submission of the plan triggers a review by ARB of up to 20 business days of all elements of the plan. Based on ARB’s review, VW may be required to revise and resubmit all, or specific elements of the recall plan. ARB will also consult with US EPA during this process to develop a national recall plan.

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Propel Fuels reports strong consumer adoption of renewable diesel in SoCal; retail sales up 300% over biodiesel

November 18, 2015

Propel launched Diesel HPR across Southern California in August 2015, and consumer adoption of the fuel has risen 300% compared to its former biodiesel product (B20). (Earlier post.) Utilizing Neste’s NEXBTL renewable diesel, Propel’s Diesel HPR is a low-carbon, drop-in renewable fuel that meets the ASTM D-976 petroleum diesel specifications for use in diesel engines, while offering drivers better performance and lower emissions.

Performance features include a 75 cetane rating, 40 percent higher than regular diesel. Diesel HPR provides cleaner and more efficient combustion for more power and a smoother ride at a cost similar to or lower than petroleum diesel.

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Audi highlights its range of electrification efforts; Q7 diesel PHEV, A7 fuel cell PHEV, BEV, 48V and more; 750 Wh/l by 2025

November 17, 2015

Audi presented a range of its ongoing work on electromobility and efficiency—from fuels and systems to full vehicles—under the “Future Performance Days 2015” banner.

On the full vehicle side, Audi put forward the Audi Q7 e-tron 3.0 TDI quattro plug-in hybrid (earlier post); the Audi A7 h-tron quattro fuel cell vehicle (earlier post); the Audi e-tron quattro concept battery-electric SUV (earlier post); the Audi TT clubsport turbo concept (earlier post); the Audi RS 5 TDI competition concept (earlier post); and the Audi R18 e-tron quattro (earlier post). On the systems and fuels side, Audi discussed battery technology; wireless charging; 48 V electrification (earlier post); Audi fuel cell technology; and Audi e-fuels (earlier post).

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Chevy Colorado diesel pickup EPA-rated at up to 31 mpg highway

November 12, 2015

The 2016 Chevrolet Colorado two-wheel drive with the Duramax turbo-diesel (earlier post) will be the most fuel efficient pickup in the US, offering an Environmental Protection Agency-estimated 31 mpg (7.58 l/100 km) highway fuel economy. The EPA-estimated highway fuel economy for 2016 Colorado four-wheel drive diesel is 29 mpg.

The EPA has issued a Certificate of Conformity for the Chevrolet Colorado Duramax diesel. The agency expressed no issues or concerns following its recent extensive testing and evaluation of the emission control system on the Colorado Duramax diesel.

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EIA: More than 1 billion gallons of renewable drop-in diesel/jet produced worldwide in 2014

November 09, 2015

More than one billion gallons of hydroprocessed esters and fatty acids (HEFA) fuels—renewable, drop-in diesel and jet fuels such as Neste’s NEXBTL—were produced worldwide in 2014, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

HEFA fuels are hydrocarbons rather than alcohols or esters and are the most common drop-in biofuels; they can be used in diesel engines without the need for blending with petroleum diesel fuel. Currently, HEFA fuels are also approved by ASTM International for use in jet engines at up to a 50% blend rate with petroleum jet fuel.

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EPA issues a second notice of violation to Volkswagen alleging emissions cheating in MY 2014-2016 3.0L diesels (Updated with VW response)

November 02, 2015

EPA issued a second notice of violation (NOV) of the Clean Air Act (CAA) to Volkswagen AG, Audi AG and Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., alleging emissions cheating. This NOV is also being issued to Porsche AG and Porsche Cars North America. In response, VW AG in Germany issued a statement asserting that “no software has been installed in the 3-liter V6 diesel power units to alter emissions characteristics in a forbidden manner.” Volkswagen said it will cooperate fully with the EPA to “clarify this matter in its entirety.”

The NOV alleges that the VW Group companies developed and installed a software defeat device—specifically, code in the electronic control module (ECM)—in certain VW, Audi and Porsche light duty diesel vehicles equipped with 6-cylinder, 3.0-liter engines for model years (MY) 2014 through 2016 that results in increased NOx emissions of up to nine times EPA’s standard. The vehicles covered by the new NOV are the diesel versions of the 2014 VW Touareg, the 2015 Porsche Cayenne, and the 2016 Audi A6 Quattro, A7 Quattro, A8, A8L, and Q5.

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Westport to begin delivering HPDI 2.0 early production-design-intent components to OEMs in Q1 2016

Westport Innovations Inc. announced that early production-design-intent components in the Westport High Pressure Direct Injection (Westport HPDI) second-generation (HPDI 2.0) development program for dual-fuel diesel/natural gas engines (earlier post), including the latest-generation injector from Delphi, are undergoing engine testing at Westport, and will be delivered to OEM customers for validation and vehicle testing early in the first quarter of 2016.

Since the announcement of the HPDI 2.0 system in September 2014, Westport has worked with its development partners and suppliers to complete component testing and system validation. The latest generation of HPDI injectors, developed under a Joint Development Agreement with Delphi (earlier post), feature a new direct-connected architecture and incorporate technologies from both companies and higher performance, lower cost and much easier packaging on the engine than prior HPDI injection system.

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DUH charges Zafira diesel emits up to 17x more NOx than permitted under certain conditions; Opel rebuts with its own testing

October 23, 2015

German environmental NGO Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) (earlier post) has charged that an Opel Zafira 1.6 CDTi diesel (Euro 6b) emits up to 17 times more NOx under certain driving situations than permitted by the Euro 6 limit value. Dynamometer testing for DUH was conducted at the Bern University of Applied Sciences (Berner Fachhochschule).

In three tests under the NEDC cycle with rotating rear wheels, the Zafira emitted between 2 to 4 times more NOx than allowed, according to the test report released by DUH. In three additional tests under normal test conditions—and thus with non-rotating rear wheels—however, the NOx values were below the legal value limit of 80 mg/km in each case.

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Volkswagen confirms EA288 diesel engines designed for EU5 and EU6 not affected by defeat device software

Volkswagen confirmed on Thursday that no software constituting an improper emissions control defeat device as defined in law is installed in vehicles with EA 288 EU5- or EU6-engines in the European Union. Consequently, new vehicles of the Volkswagen Group offered within the European Union with those engines comply with legal requirements and environmental standards.

Volkswagen Group had earlier confirmed that new EU6-compliant vehicles offered within the European Union fulfill all legal requirements and environmental standards. (Earlier post.)

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SG Preston and IHI E&C partner on portfolio of renewable diesel and jet plants; 5 initial sites, 600M gallons total capacity

October 22, 2015

SG Preston, a Philadelphia-based bioenergy company, is partnering with IHI E&C, a Houston-based engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) subsidiary of Japan’s IHI Corporation, to develop and to construct a series of commercial-scale renewable diesel and jet fuel manufacturing plants, initially in the US Midwest and Canada.

The plants will use licensed, proven, commercial-scale technologies for the production of renewable diesel and jet fuel targeting US and global industries seeking a volume-based, competitively priced solution to their environmental sustainability mandates. SG Preston will deploy its biofuels strategy initially at five plants (South Point and Van Wert, Ohio; Logansport, Indiana; and two additional, to-be-announced sites, one in Michigan, and one in Ontario, Canada), each with an initial capacity to produce 120 million gallons of renewable diesel and jet fuel annually.

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SwRI to launch 7th clean diesel engine consortium

October 20, 2015

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) is launching Clean High-Efficiency Diesel Engine VII (CHEDE-VII), the seventh phase of the industry’s longest-running diesel research consortium. The kick-off meeting for the four-year, multi-client cooperative research program, which is open to potential new members, will be 5 November at SwRI headquarters in San Antonio.

Consortium members will select research topics related to low-emission, high-efficiency diesel engine technology. Building on more than 24 years of experience, CHEDE-VII will develop pre-competitive diesel engine technology initiatives to address the needs of industry five to 10 years into the future.

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New efficient hybrid optimization control method for diesel engine emissions and performance

October 19, 2015

Researchers at Iowa State have developed a new hybrid optimization control method to improve diesel engine emissions and performance. As reported in a paper in the International Journal of Engine Research, the hybrid method, which combines both particle swarm optimization (PSO) and genetic algorithm (GA) methods was able to locate a narrow window of operation which showed 27% lower NOx emissions and 60% lower particulate matter emissions than a standard PSO method.

The hybrid method was also able to locate the improvements using similar dynamometer time, indicating that the hybrid method is more efficient and more effective, the researchers said.

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Sandia CRF team provides experimental confirmation of oxidation scheme of lower emissions diesel alternative DME; new intermediates

October 17, 2015

An international team of researchers led by a group from the Combustion Research Facility (CRF) at Sandia National Laboratories recently provided experimental confirmation of the generally accepted low-temperature oxidation scheme of dimethyl ether (DME)—a lower soot and emissions alternative to diesel—at low temperatures (~540 K, 267˚C). Their paper was published in the ACS Journal of Physical Chemistry A.

Especially significant, they said, was detecting and identifying keto-hydroperoxide (hydroperoxymethylformate, HPMF, HOOCH2OCHO)—a previously undiscovered partially oxidized intermediate—thereby providing critical information needed to improve models.

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Volkswagen: reorienting diesel strategy, new Modular Electric Toolkit, MQB push on PHEVs, electric Phaeton

October 13, 2015

The newly-formed Volkswagen Brand Board of Management has made a number of major strategic product decisions, including a reorientation of the diesel strategy to use the most advanced emission aftertreatment technologies; the development of a standardized electric architecture (Modular Electric Toolkit, MEB) for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles; and an electric next-generation Phaeton.

Further, Volkswagen will accelerate its efficiency program and cut spending by some €1 billion per year.

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CPT and Eminox to collaborate on development of retrofit electric supercharging and aftertreatment solutions for heavy-duty vehicles

October 08, 2015

Controlled Power Technologies (CPT), a British developer of advanced automotive technology focused on the electrification of internal combustion engines, and Eminox, also based in the UK and a leading European manufacturer of exhaust gas control systems for heavy duty diesel vehicles, will collaborate to bring their technologies for reduced fuel consumption and emissions to the heavy duty vehicle retrofit market.

By combining CPT’s Cobra electric supercharger with Eminox’s SCRT technology, which itself combines CRT (continuously regenerating trap) and SCR (selective catalytic reduction) technology to reduce emissions of vehicles already in service, the companies plan to demonstrate a solution that can achieve Euro VI emissions standards and fuel economy improvements.

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Volkswagen of America temporarily withdraws application for US certification of MY 2016 vehicles; AECDs

October 07, 2015

In his prepared testimony for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing tomorrow (earlier post), Michael Horn, President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, says that in discussions with EPA and the California ARB, Volkswagen said that its emissions control strategy also included a software feature that should be disclosed to and approved by the agencies as an auxiliary emissions control device (“AECD”) in connection with the certification process.

AECDs are allowed by the EPA, but they must be disclosed. As a result, Horn says, Volkswagen has withdrawn the application for certification of its model year 2016 vehicles. The company is working with the agencies to continue the certification process, he adds.

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ARB posts discussion draft of new proposed mobile-source emissions reduction strategy through 2030; Advanced Clean Cars 2 regulation

October 02, 2015

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) staff has published a discussion draft of a proposed strategy for further regulation and reduction of mobile source—cars, trucks, and off-road equipment—emissions. The approach described is designed to meet simultaneously federal air quality standards; achieve greenhouse gas emission reduction targets; reduce petroleum consumption; and decrease health risk from transportation sources through 2030.

ARB staff developed this strategy using a multi-pollutant scenario planning tool (Vision 2.0) that quantifies changes in ozone and PM2.5 precursor emissions; GHG emissions; petroleum usage; and diesel toxics emissions as various technologies become widespread in vehicle and equipment fleets.

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Caltech, JPL designed megasupramolecule fuel additive reduces intensity of post-impact fuel explosions

Researchers at Caltech and JPL used statistical mechanics to design a polymeric fuel additive that can self-assemble into “megasupramolecules” (≥5000 kg/mol) at low concentration (≤0.3 weight percent) and thus can reduce the intensity of post-impact fuel explosions that occur during accidents and terrorist acts.

Furthermore, preliminary results show that the additive can provide this benefit without adversely affecting fuel performance. The work is published in the journal Science.

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VW says complete investigation of emissions scandal will take several months; suspending General Meeting in November; report on solutions next week

In a statement issued following its meeting on 30 September the Executive Committee of Volkswagen AG’s Supervisory Board said that it has concluded that the completion of investigations into the emissions testing scandal will take at least several months.

For this reason, the Executive Committee will propose to the Supervisory Board that the Extraordinary General Meeting scheduled for 9 November should not be held. The Executive Committee Members all agreed that, in view of the time available and the matters to be considered, it would not be realistic to provide well-founded answers which would fulfill the shareholder’s justified expectations.

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Ricardo demonstrates processes for evaluating light-duty diesel emissions under coming Real Driving Emissions (RDE) regs

October 01, 2015

Despite the continuing and significant reductions in the legislated limits of light-duty diesel vehicle NOx emissions under the European Euro 1 through 5 regulations of recent years, many studies have demonstrated that real-world NOx emissions appear not to have been reduced as significantly. The Volkswagen emissions scandal has certainly spotlighted this issue, but more by the intentionality of the cause rather than by the effect.

This divergence between type-approval limits and real world emissions was one of the primary drivers for the proposed introduction of Real Driving Emissions (RDE) (earlier post)—put forward in the European Commission’s CARS 2020 Action Plan (earlier post)—in European Euro 6c legislation as early as 2017. The objective of this proposed regulation is that future vehicles certified to a given type approval threshold for NOx output will, subject an incremental Conformity Factor to be defined in the regulation, not exceed this level in normal on-road driving conditions.

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Volkswagen Group reorganizes North American operations; Prof. Dr. Winfried Vahland new region CEO

September 29, 2015

As part of its restructuring, Volkswagen Group is combining its activities in the US, Mexico and Canada into the newly formed North American Region (NAR). The Supervisory Board has appointed Prof. Dr. Winfried Vahland, since 2010 the CEO of Group company ŠKODA, to take over all responsibility for the North American Region. In this new role as President and CEO of Volkswagen NAR, Prof. Dr. Vahland will be responsible for all Group activities in the newly formed region from 1 November 2015. Michael Horn remains as President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, and will report to Dr. Vahland.

Volkswagen said that the creation of NAR is a further measure in the process of decentralizing managerial responsibility, and creates another pillar in the global structure of the group, in addition to the European and Chinese regions.

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Volkswagen AG to refit diesel vehicles with EA 189 EU5 engines; solution to be presented by end of October

Volkswagen AG announced that it will retrofit the some 11 million vehicles equipped with the 2.0-liter EA 189 Euro 5 diesel tainted by the software emissions defeat device. (Earlier post.) New vehicles with EU6 engines currently available are not affected by the cheat, Volkswagen said.

The scope of the retrofit is not yet clear—e.g., software only, or software and new hardware—but Volkswagen and the other Group brands whose vehicles are affected will present the technical solutions and measures to the responsible authorities in October.

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Norwegian/Finnish studies find Euro 6 cars exceeding NOx and CO2 type limits in real-world conditions; below on PM

Emission measurements conducted by Institute of Transport Economics in Norway, in collaboration with VTT in Finland, show that new Euro 6 cars with diesel engines are struggling with NOx emissions well in excess of regulatory type limits when in real traffic.

Since 2011, TØI and VTT have conducted emission measurements of 12 heavy vehicles with Euro VI engines, and seven Euro 6 diesel cars. In addition, they measured emissions from several gasoline vehicles (Euro 5 and 6) and Euro 5 diesel vehicles. All vehicles were tested in laboratory under conditions that as far as possible should correspond to the actual use of the vehicles.

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Lux: VW “actually in a strong position to innovate their way out of this mess”

September 28, 2015

Reflecting on the implications of the still evolving Volkswagen emissions testing scandal (“a vehicle emissions scandal of unprecedented proportions”), analysts at Lux Research suggest that one outcome of the crisis could be an aggressive push by Volkswagen to accelerate the push towards plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles.

VW was slowly moving beyond conventional gasoline and diesel engines anyway, Lux noted, with plans of putting out 20 more plug-in vehicles by 2020 (earlier post)—such as the production version of the Audi e-tron quattro. (Earlier post.) Volkswagen has also invested in next-generation batteries, including lithium-sulfur and solid-state. (Earlier post.)

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Study uncovers role of longer-chain unburned hydrocarbon emissions from diesels in London air pollution; calls for regulatory shift

September 27, 2015

Researchers at the University of York (UK) have found that longer-chain unburned hydrocarbons released from diesel—which are not currently explicitly considered as part of air quality control strategies—represent only 20–30% of the total atmospheric hydrocarbon mixing ratio but contribute more than 50% of the total atmospheric hydrocarbon mass and are a dominant local source of secondary organic aerosols (SOA) in London—and by extension to other developed megacities.

The study found that 60% of the winter primary hydrocarbon hydroxyl radical reactivity in London is from those diesel-related hydrocarbons; the authors predicted that the longer-chain HCs contribute up to 50 % of the ozone production potential in London. The results, they said in an open access paper published in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, suggest the need for a shift in policy focus onto gas-phase hydrocarbons released from diesels as this vehicle type continues to displace gasoline world-wide.

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