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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.]

U. Houston-led project looking for new exhaust treatment catalysts for low-temperature lean-burn combustion engines

September 21, 2017

A chemical engineer from the University of Houston is leading a $2.1-million project to find new catalytic materials that work at lower exhaust temperatures, allowing automakers to build vehicles that operate more efficiently while retaining the ability to clean emissions before they leave the tailpipe.

Michael Harold, chairman of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at UH, will serve as principal investigator on the grant, funded by the US Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory (DOE NETL). The project also includes researchers from the University of Virginia (UVA); Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL); and Southwest Research Institute (SwRI). Engineers from Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles Inc. and Johnson Matthey Inc. also will be involved in the project.

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T&E concludes that diesel cars emit more CO2 on a full lifecycle basis than gasoline cars

September 18, 2017

A new analysis by the NGO Transport & Environment (T&E) concludes that diesel cars emit more CO2 than equivalent cars on a full lifecycle basis—i.e., accounting for the emissions generated during production of the vehicle and the fuel.

According to the T&E analysis, an average diesel car produces emits 3.65 tonnes more CO2 than an equivalent gasoline car over its lifetime due to a more energy-intensive refining of the diesel fuel; more materials required in the production of heavier and more complex engines; higher emissions from biodiesel blended in the diesel fuel; and longer mileage because fuel is cheaper.

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Nissan licenses NMRP spray-coated cylinder bore technology to HELLER; production of efficient engines

September 15, 2017

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. has licensed its Nissan Machining Roughening Process (NMRP), a proprietary technology used in making automotive engines, to German machine tool manufacturer Gebr. Heller Maschinenfabrik GmbH.

By using HELLER machinery that incorporates NMRP, carmakers can mass-produce engines with highly energy-efficient cylinder bores with iron spray coating at a consistent quality level.

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DOE to issue funding opportunity for medium/heavy-duty, on-road natural gas engine research and development

September 12, 2017

The US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) intends to issue, on behalf of the Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO), a funding opportunity announcement (DE-FOA-0001813) entitled “FY 2017 Vehicle Technologies Office Medium/Heavy-Duty, On-Road Natural Gas Engine Research and Development Funding Opportunity Announcement”.

VTO is seeking to address barriers to adoption of natural gas vehicles through early-stage research on medium- and heavy-duty on-road engine technologies. The goal is to enable natural gas engines that can cost-effectively achieve diesel-like efficiency while meeting current and future emissions standards. Through this notice, VTO is making interested parties aware of plans to release a funding opportunity announcement in the near-term.

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Mercedes-AMG Project One PHEV with F1 technology debuts at IAA; 750 kW, 800V

The Mercedes-AMG Project ONE will make its world première at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt/Main. This high-performance two-seater hybrid, equipped with technology from Formula 1, is said to produce more than 1,000 hp (750 kW) and reach top speeds beyond 350 km/h (217.5 mph). All-electric range is 25 km (15.5 miles)

The overall responsibility for the realization of Project ONE lies with Mercedes-AMG. The complex development work was carried out in close cooperation with the Formula 1 experts at Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains in Brixworth and with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport team in Brackley. Together with the four-door AMG GT Concept, the Mercedes-AMG Project ONE provides another insight into the future performance-hybrid drive strategy of the sports car brand within Mercedes-Benz.

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Audi’s bivalent 2.0 TFSI for the new A4 Avant and A5 Sportback g-trons

September 11, 2017

Audi extended its range of natural-gas-fueled g-tron models just a few weeks ago (earlier post) with the new A4 Avant g-tron and A5 Sportback g-tron. The A3 Sportback g-tron has been on the market since 2014.

The new A4 Avant g-tron and A5 Sportback g-tron are powered by a 2.0 TFSI engine operating according to the efficient, Audi-optimized B-cycle (Budack-cycle, earlier post) combustion principle. Whereas the traditional Miller cycle closes the intake valves just before the end of the intake stroke, the B-cycle closes the intake valves much earlier. This results in longer effective combustion as well as faster air flow for the incoming gases, which improves the mixing of the fuel and air.

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Mazda SPCCI uses spark plug as HCCI control factor; “air piston” to enhance compression

September 08, 2017

Gasoline HCCI (homogenous charge compression ignition) has been of interest to automakers for years, as the low-temperature combustion mode offers significant improvements in thermal efficiency and fuel consumption along with a reduction in NOx emissions compared to conventional spark ignition gasoline engines. However, traditional HCCI combustion has been realized only in a limited operating range. (E.g., Earlier post, earlier post, earlier post.)

With the announcement of its SKYACTIV-X engine (earlier post), Mazda claims to have developed a novel control system for HCCI combustion that extends the HCCI range out to a much larger percentage of the load map. The essence of Mazda’s Spark Controlled Compression Ignition (SPCCI) is the use of the spherical spherical flame front expanded by spark ignition as a second piston (an “air piston”) to further compresses the air-fuel mixture, resulting in improved compression ignition.

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Capstone completes track testing of Kenworth microturbine-powered hybrid electric Class 7 truck

September 07, 2017

Capstone Turbine Corporation successfully completed track testing of a Kenworth Class 7 hybrid electric work truck using its 65kW microturbine as an on-board range extender. (Earlier post.) The successful track testing confirmed both high-speed performance as well as operation on 20% grades.

The Kenworth Class 7 work truck features a Capstone C65 microturbine that is installed onboard and operates on compressed natural gas. The microturbine acts as a range extender to charge an onboard 47 kWh Li-Ion battery pack, which in turn provides power to the electric traction motors that propel the truck.

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Opel introducing new top-end 2.0L BiTurbo diesel in Insignia; Euro 6.2, WLTP testing

September 05, 2017

Opel has begun production of its new 2.0-liter BiTurbo top-end diesel, tailored for Opel’s second-generation Insignia. The newly designed 2.0-liter diesel engine produces 154 kW/210 hp at 4,000 rpm and develops strong torque of 480 N·m (354 lb-ft) from only 1,500 rpm using sequential two-stage turbocharging.

Official fuel consumption for the Insignia Grand Sport 2.0 BiTurbo in accordance with the old New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) is urban 8.7 l/100 km (27 mpg US), extra-urban 5.7 l/100 km (41.2 mpg US), combined 6.9 l/100 km (34.1 mpg US), with official specific combined CO2 emissions of 183 g/km. The new Insignia BiTurbo accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.9 seconds with a maximum speed of 233 km/h (145 mph).

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ICCT: based on EU government tests, only 10% of Euro 6 cars meet NOx limit in real-world driving conditions

A new study by the independent research organization International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) has compiled the test results from government agencies across Europe for 541 Euro 5 and Euro 6 diesel passenger cars. The study found that the average real-world level of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from Euro 6 vehicles is 4.5 times above the Euro 6 limit. Only 10% of Euro 6 cars outperform the Euro 6 limit; the rest of vehicles exceed the Euro 6 standard by up to 12 times.

Up to September 2015, when the news broke about the illegal defeat device used by Volkswagen in the United States, no systematic overview of real-world NOx emission levels by vehicle manufacturer and model had ever been carried out in Europe. Over the ensuing two years, a number of government agencies across Europe began to systematically test diesel cars for their emission levels.

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Birmingham study finds butanol-gasoline blend reduces GDI engine-out carbonaceous emissions; similar NOx

September 03, 2017

A team at the University of Birmingham reports that a blend of 33% v/v of butanol in EN228 commercial gasoline containing 5% of ethanol (B33) reduces GDI (gasoline direct injection) engine-out carbonaceous emissions, while maintaining similar levels of NOx emissions when compared to standard gasoline combustion at low and medium engine loads. However, the physical and chemical properties of butanol (i.e. viscosity and heat of vaporization) resulted in a negative impact on carbon monoxide emissions at low load due to combustion inefficiencies.

The addition of EGR showed a general reduction of gaseous emissions and particulate matter (except unburned hydrocarbons), a trend that was more significant for B33 at medium load. EGR improved both Brake Specific Fuel Consumption (BSFC) and Brake Thermal Efficiency (BTE) for the studied fuels with respect to baseline conditions. Their paper is published in the journal Fuel.

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New ICCT study finds CO2, NOx emissions of Euro 6 diesel and gasoline cars under real-world settings exceeding limits

August 31, 2017

A new study commissioned by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) investigates the real-world emissions of four Euro 6 passenger cars—one gasoline and three diesel vehicles with different aftertreatment technologies—tested under variable conditions. The investigation was conducted by the Laboratory of Applied Thermodynamics, of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and its spin-off company, Emisia.

The investigation found that every tested vehicle exceeded its CO2 certification levels in a range varying from 21% to 37% under the laboratory type-approval test using real-word road-load settings. Two of the three diesel vehicles exceeded the NOx limit by 19% and 66% while tested under the laboratory type-approval test. Under RDE-compliant on-road trips, using PEMS emission measurements, NOx emissions from diesel vehicles showed average levels varying from 5 to 16 times the Euro 6 limit.

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PACCAR joins DOE SuperTruck II initiative; 5 teams now in program

August 30, 2017

PACCAR Inc. is joining four other SuperTruck II teams to develop innovative technologies that more than double the freight efficiency of Class 8 trucks. Funded by the US Department of Energy (DOE), the SuperTruck II program is a follow-on to the successful $240-million SuperTruck I initiative (earlier post), the goal of which was to develop tractor-trailers that were 50% more efficient on a ton‐mile‐per-gallon basis than baseline models by 2015. (Earlier post.)

SuperTruck II includes more aggressive overall freight efficiency and engine brake thermal efficiency goals—specifically, a greater than 100% freight efficiency goal and greater than or equal to 55% engine brake thermal efficiency goal.

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Cummins unveils electric Class 7 tractor; plans for “revolutionary” heavy-duty diesel in 2022

During an event at the Cummins Technical Center, Cummins unveiled its latest power solutions and energy-diverse products, displaying its near-zero natural gas engine technology (earlier post); super-efficient diesel engines (the X12 and X15, earlier post); and shared plans to introduce a “revolutionary” new heavy-duty diesel engine in 2022 for Class 8 linehaul trucks. Cummins also revealed a fully electric class 7 demonstration Urban Hauler Tractor.

The electric Class 7 demonstrator is fitted with a 140 kWh battery pack; the weight of the electric powertrain is roughly equal to that of the removed engine, aftertreatment, transmission and fuel tank. The tractor day cab has a gross vehicle weight rating limit of 75,000 pounds. The concept truck has a range of about 100 miles (161 km) on a single charge for city driving. The range is extendable to 300 miles (483 km) with additional battery packs. Cummins said that the powertrain and truck will enable it to learn more about the potential electrification holds for larger vehicles.

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Federal-Mogul Powertrain to launch first valve rotator for downspeeded light vehicle engines

August 23, 2017

At this year’s IAA in Frankfurt, Federal-Mogul Powertrain will launch a new, smaller version of its proven Rotocap valve rotator, the first such for 4 valve per cylinder light vehicle engines. The miniaturized design features an outer diameter in the range of 20-25 mm and allows the Rotocap to package into the valve assembly on automotive powertrains.

Rotocap provides the enhanced valve rotation control required to compensate the challenges caused by reduced valvetrain lubrication and engine downspeeding—two main design trends to achieve lower emissions and improve fuel efficiency. The new mini Rotocap will be marketed alongside Federal-Mogul Powertrain’s existing valve rotator products.

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Continental introduces electric Active Purge Pump (APP) to meet stricter hydrocarbon evaporation legislation around the globe

August 22, 2017

Continental has developed an electrified solution to further reduce hydrocarbon evaporative emissions: the Active Purge Pump (APP). The APP actively pulls HC-laden air from the canister used to control evaporative HC emissions. The pump used for this action is a very compact and light-weight radial pump, driven by a highly efficient brushless DC motor.

The APP can be use on-demand, activated any time when necessary. The APP thus makes canister purging available independent from the engine operation point and vacuum availability. Further, APP’s main function can be extended by integrating algorithms to provide additional functions that either require stand-alone products today or are not even currently available. Start of production is planned for end of 2019.

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EMA concerned that EPA’s revisiting Phase 2 GHG rules could lead to misaligned regulatory requirements

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its intent to revisit provisions of the second phase of the greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency rules for medium- and heavy-duty on-highway trucks and engines that were finalized last year. (Earlier post.) The Phase 2 program builds on the Phase 1 regulations that manufacturers have successfully implemented starting in 2014.

While the new regulations are significantly more ambitious and complex than the Phase 1 requirements, the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association (EMA) and its members have consistently supported their implementation. EMA is now concerend that EPA’s revisiting the rule could lead to a misalignment of regulatory requirements.

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Chevy Equinox diesel offers EPA-rated 39 mpg hwy; starts at $31,435

August 15, 2017

The 2018 Chevrolet Equinox offers an EPA-certified 39 mpg (6.03 l/100 km) on the highway (FWD model) with the available 1.6L turbo-diesel engine. (Earlier post.)

GM expects that number to top the segment in highway fuel economy, with greater highway mileage than the 2017 Toyota RAV4 hybrid (30 mpg) and Nissan Rogue hybrid (35 mpg FWD). A 577-mile cruising range (FWD) also means the Equinox diesel can drive farther between fill-ups.

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New Federal-Mogul Powertrain high thermal conductivity seats and guides keep engine valves cooler; improved combustion, lower emissions

August 14, 2017

Federal-Mogul Powertrain will debut new materials for valve seats and guides with improved thermal conductivity at the 2017 IAA Show in Frankfurt, Germany next month. Suitable for series production, the new High Thermal Conductivity (HTC) materials and Thermal Interface Material (TIM) coating can reduce valve head temperatures by up to 70°C, allowing improved combustion and lower emissions.

HTC can also contribute in obtaining a more even circumferential temperature distribution on the valve seat insert and surrounding cylinder head material, eliminating local hot spots for the benefit of wear reduction and decrease of temperature-related distortion.

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Recent on-road real-world emission testing in India highlights disparity between cycles, gasoline and diesel

The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) recently contracted with the International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT) of India to conduct laboratory and on-road testing of three in-use passenger vehicles—two diesel and one gasoline—to investigate the real world emission performance of passenger vehicles in Indian roads. The results highlight the disparity between test-cycles and real-world emissions as well as the large disparity between gasoline and diesel vehicles.

For laboratory testing, they measured emissions under the Modified Indian drive cycle (MIDC) (similar to NEDC), and the World harmonized Light Duty test cycle (WLTC); cold and hot start tests were performed for each vehicle and drive cycle.

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AFRL APTO tests EPS Graflight V-8 diesel for unmanned aircraft; 40% less fuel than typical engine, less vibration

August 13, 2017

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Advanced Power Technology Office, along with Engineered Propulsion Systems and the Arnold Engineering and Development Center, recently concluded ground-based testing of an advanced diesel engine that promises to increase the utility and ease the logistics burden of military aircraft missions.

The high-efficiency aviation diesel engine is a potential replacement for current manned and unmanned aircraft internal combustion engines. Designed by Engineered Propulsion Systems as part of an AFRL effort, the Graflight V-8, 4.3-liter engine is a “clean sheet” design specifically intended for aircraft use. It is liquid-cooled and capable of using either a composite or aluminum propeller.

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VW offering new variant of Millerized 1.5 TSI on Golf and Golf Variant with coasting function

August 11, 2017

Volkswagen is now offering the latest member of its gasoline engine family—the 1.5 TSI delivering 96 kW/130 PS—for the Golf and Golf Variant. (Earlier post.) Volkswagen previewed the introduction of this variant of the 1.5 TSI—which supports a coasting function for the first time in a Golf—back in March, along with the introduction of the more powerful 1.5 TSI Evo. (Earlier post.)

The high-torque and simultaneously fuel-efficient direct injection, turbocharged four-cylinder engine works on the Miller combustion cycle for increased efficiency and lower fuel consumption. For the Golf this is on average—depending on specification—between 5.0 and 4.8 liters per 100 kilometers (47 to 49 mpg US), which equates to CO2 emissions of 116 to 110 g/km.

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California ARB holding two workshops on developing measure to reduce emissions from TRUs

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) is developing a measure to reduce emissions from Transport Refrigeration Units (TRUs) by transitioning to zero-emission technologies. To that end, ARB staff is holding two more workshops on the development of a regulation to limit the amount of time that internal combustion engine-driven TRUs and TRU gensets operate while stationary, as well as requiring an overall zero-emission mode operating time.

At the upcoming workshop, ARB staff will discuss preliminary concepts developed since the first workshop in April 2016. This includes conceptual ideas on a phased implementation schedule for stationary operating time limits and zero emission mode operating percentages, as well as related details. The first upcoming workshop will be 16 August in Sacramento, the second on 18 August in Riverside.

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Saudi Aramco team finds dual-fuel Octane-on-Demand concept can outperform E30 gasoline

August 10, 2017

The concept of using a second, high octane fuel on demand to augment the performance of a standard gasoline fuel reaches back to the 1940s, with a recent resurgence in interest generated by the need to increase engine efficiency.

In a paper in the journal Fuel, researchers at the Fuel Technology R&D Division, Saudi Aramco Research & Development Center, have presented a comprehensive set of engine data for a regular grade E10 gasoline and a high octane E30 gasoline, and compared these fuels with the Octane-on-Demand dual fuel concept using methanol and ethanol as the high octane fuels in a high compression ratio engine with moderate levels of boosting. The results demonstrate that the Octane-on-Demand concept provides comparable or lower specific CO2 emissions to the E30 gasoline, with up to an almost 10% improvement in specific fuel consumption, given the appropriate calibration.

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Mazda announces SKYACTIV-X: gasoline Spark Controlled Compression Ignition

August 08, 2017

Mazda Motor Corporation announced “Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030,” a new long-term vision for technology development that looks ahead to the year 2030. As part of the new technology to achieve this vision, the company disclosed plans to introduce a next-generation gasoline engine called SKYACTIV-X in 2019.

SKYACTIV-X—which Mazda believes will be the first commercial gasoline engine to use compression ignition—uses a proprietary combustion method called Spark Controlled Compression Ignition (SPCCI). Mazda says that SCCI overcomes two issues that has impeded commercialization of compression ignition gasoline engines: maximizing the zone in which compression ignition is possible and achieving a seamless transition between compression ignition and spark ignition.

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German team develops novel technique to determine fuel quality in plug-in hybrids

August 07, 2017

Series-production plug-in hybrid electric vehicles equipped with diesel engines are already available in the market or planned for the future (e.g., Volvo V60, Audi Q7 e-tron quattro, Peugeot 508 RXH Hybrid4, Range Rover SDV6 Hybrid Diesel). However, fossil diesel fuel/biodiesel blends show a tendency to form precipitates—which can be considered as oligomers with aging. This tendency of fuel blends to form precipitates during long term storage could impact the operation of diesel plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV).

Making the problem more complex is the existence of different quotas of biodiesel blend ratios in different countries. Further, HVO (hydrotreated vegetable oil) and GTL (gas-to-liquid)—a mixture of mainly branched and unbranched alkanes—are becoming more popular as neat diesel substitutes or blend stocks. Now, researchers in Germany hav devised a novel sensor for the onboard determination of fuel quality in diesel PHEVs to address these issues. (A variation of the approach could be used for gasoline PHEVs.) A paper on their work appears in the journal Fuel.

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Cenex involved in large-scale UK trial of biomethane-fueled heavy-duty trucks

August 06, 2017

Cenex—the UK’s first Center of Excellence for low carbon technologies—announced its involvement in the UK’s largest trial of biomethane-fueled trucks. Led by Air Liquide and funded in part by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) in partnership with Innovate UK via the recently launched Low Emission Freight and Logistics Project (earlier post), the “Dedicated to Gas” trial will see large fleet operators—including Kuehne + Nagel; Wincanton; ASDA; Brit European, Howard Tenens and Great Bear—test the effectiveness of 81 dedicated gas-powered heavy goods vehicles (HGVs).

The trucks in trial range from 12 to 44 tonnes, and are all new to the UK market. The trial will road test the HGVs across 10 different vehicle configurations, generting data on vehicle performance, fuel efficiency, reliability and cost.

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Volkswagen Group launches trade-in incentive for Euro 1 - Euro 4 diesels; pan-European software update for Euro 5 and some Euro 6 diesels

August 05, 2017

Embracing the outcome of the German National Diesel Forum earlier this week (earlier post), the Volkswagen Group announced that it will offer a trade-in incentive for Euro 1 - Euro 4 diesel models which will apply across all brands in the Group. In addition, the software update for Euro 5 and some Euro 6 diesel vehicles will be available throughout Europe and not just in Germany.

The incentive is currently being prepared by the Group’s Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Audi, SEAT, ŠKODA, Porsche and Volkswagen Commercial vehicles brands and will be on offer soon.

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New German LNG-fueled research ship will feature Wärtsilä technology

Wärtsilä will supply dual-fuel engines for a new LNG-fueled research vessel being built for the German government. Wärtsilä will also supply exhaust cleaning systems based on selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology and the LNGPac system for complete fuel gas handling.

The SCR technology will be needed when the engines are running on conventional marine diesel fuel if the vessel exhausts its supply of LNG on long voyages. The vessel is under construction at the Fassmer shipyard in Germany and will be owned by Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie (BSH), the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency. The contract was signed with Wärtsilä in June 2017.

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UK launches accreditation scheme for clean vehicle retrofit technologies

August 03, 2017

In the UK, the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) and the Energy Saving Trust (EST), together with industry stakeholders, have launched the Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme (CVRAS). The UK’s DEFRA/DfT Joint Air Quality Unit (JAQU) is providing funding support.

CVRAS provides a single validation standard for any emission technology to meet the standards set out in the government’s Clean Air Zone Framework for England. The scheme will enable the existing fleet of urban vehicles (initially buses, but extending rapidly to a wide range of vehicles) to be fitted with proven emission control solutions. The scheme will also provide the backbone of future retrofit funding.

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BorgWarner introduces new EGR Coolers with compact floating core for commercial vehicles

To support commercial vehicle manufacturers in meeting current and future emissions regulations, BorgWarner has developed an economical new series of multi-platform exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) coolers featuring a compact floating core.

An effective methods of reducing diesel engine emissions, EGR recirculates exhaust gas to reduce the high temperatures in the combustion chamber. Unlike conventional solutions which must be specifically designed for each application, the company’s modular cooler family includes four highly adaptable standard designs for maximum flexibility covering a wide range of engine sizes from 2.0- to 16.0-liter displacement.

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BMW defends diesel while pushing electrification

BMW has established solid electrification credentials. With BMW i, the BMW Group was the first German manufacturer to make a clear commitment to electromobility, notes BMW AG Management Board Chairman Harald Krüger. In 2017, the BMW Group expects sales of its electrified vehicles to exceed 100,000 for the first time in a single year, with the all-electric BMW i3, BMW i8, BMW iPerformance plug-in hybrids and the plug-in hybrid MINI Countryman all contributing to the figures. The company’s electrified range currently comprises nine electrified vehicles and will be further complemented in 2018 by the all-new BMW i8 Roadster.

Shortly after that, BMW Group will roll out battery-only solutions across its core brands, with Plant Oxford starting production of the battery-powered MINI in 2019, and the battery-only BMW X3 following in 2020. The following year, 2021, will see the launch of the BMW Group’s new technology spearhead: the all-electric BMW iNEXT. Nonetheless, says Krüger, “Future mobility will definitely depend on state-of-the-art diesels as well, because environmental protection has several dimensions: one of them is the fight against climate change.

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German OEMs to upgrade emissions control on 5.3M Euro 5 and 6 diesels, contribute to €500M Sustainable Mobility fund

August 02, 2017

German auto manufacturers will optimize the emissions systems in 5.3 million currently approved Euro 5 and 6 diesels in the country, according to the outcome of the “National Diesel Forum” held in Berlin today between the automotive industry and the German Federal and state governments. The aim is a 30% reduction in NOx emissions from these vehicles by the end of 2018. The automakers will bear the entire cost of the retrofitting, estimated by the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) to be at least €500 million.

Among other actions detailed in the declaration of the Forum, the automakers will fund a €500-million “Sustainable mobility for the city” fund. The aim is to develop and implement an individual master plan (“green-city plan”) for each of the 28 regions designated by the EU Commission particularly affected by high NO2 pollution, with digitization, intelligent transport systems, intermodal mobility solutions and with increasing automation and networking in individual and public passenger transport.

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Mercedes-Benz Trucks introduces its first 3D-printed spare part made of metal

Mercedes-Benz Trucks has introduced its first 3D-printed spare part made of metal (an aluminum-silicon material), a thermostat cover for truck and Unimog models from older model series.

In contrast to the Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) process used in plastics 3D printing, 3D printing of metallic components uses Selective Laser Melting (SLM). In the case of the thermostat cover, for example, the powdered aluminium/silicon material (ALSi10Mg) is applied in individual layers and melted by an energy source—usually one or more lasers.

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Continental Motors Group expands general aviation diesel engine family with new fixed- and rotary-wing variants

July 29, 2017

Continental Motors Group is expanding its family of diesel aero engines with the CD-265 and CDR-285 engines. The CD-265 is intended for fixed-winged applications while the CDR-285 is designed for rotary wing applications.

As the other members of the CD-200 family, the CD-265 and CDR-285 are horizontally-opposed (boxer), four-cylinder, direct-injection, air-cooled turbocharged engines. The new 5.0-liter engines, with a compression ratio of 15:1, produce 265 hp at 2500 rpm and 285 hp at 2700 rpm. Both derive from the CD-230 that was first certified by Continental Motors in December 2012.

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FCA receives EPA, California ARB approval for production and sale of MY 2017 3.0L diesels

July 28, 2017

FCA US has received a certificate of conformity from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and a conditional executive order from the California Air Resources Board (ARB), permitting the production and sale of FCA US 2017 model-year light-duty Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles equipped with 3.0-liter diesel engines.

The agencies’ approval was the product of several months of collaboration between FCA US and the EPA and ARB to address the agencies’ concerns with respect to the diesel emissions control technologies employed on earlier model-year versions of these vehicles.

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UCR study finds ultra-low emission natural gas bus exceeds federal and state NOx standards; as low as 0.0007g/bhp-hr

A study by the University of California, Riverside College of Engineering Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT) found that a Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Agency (Metro) bus equipped with an ultra-low emission natural gas engine performs significantly cleaner than its certification standards across all duty cycles. (Earlier post.)

Researchers tested the Cummins Westport ISL G near-zero natural gas engine (earlier post) in a variety of conditions typical of a Metro bus. In all conditions, the engine performed better than California’s toughest-in-the-nation standard for smog-forming emissions. Under some driving conditions, the NOx emissions were practically zero.

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Team uses neutron scattering to investigate new Al-Ce alloy in running engine

July 26, 2017

A team from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory has worked with industry partners to use neutrons to probe a running engine at ORNL’s Spallation Neutron Source (earlier post), giving them the opportunity to test an aluminum-cerium alloy under operating conditions. The feat was a first for the Spallation Neutron Source, said Ke An, lead instrument scientist for the facility’s VULCAN instrument. “This was the first time an internal combustion engine has been run on our diffractometer, and, as far as we know, on any other,” he stated.

The unique properties of neutrons allow them to penetrate materials in a nondestructive fashion, revealing fundamental details about a material’s atomic structure. VULCAN uses neutrons to measure strain and stress on large industrial samples, which made it ideal for evaluating a cylinder head cast from an aluminum-cerium alloy ORNL developed in partnership with Eck Industries.

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BMW adamantly denies reports about diesel emission systems collusion and manipulation

July 24, 2017

On Sunday, the BMW Group issued a strong rejection of German media reports charging that the company had colluded with Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche and Daimler on the design and pricing of diesel exhaust systems and that its diesel emission systems did not function properly.

On Friday, manager magazine reported that the German car makers had secret discussions on diesel exhaust aftertreatment and other technical standards.

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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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Federal-Mogul Powertrain introducing IROX 2 polymer bearings for crankshafts; effective for hybrid and start/stop applications

Federal-Mogul Powertrain is extending its crankshaft bearing portfolio with a new high performance polymeric coating, IROX 2, that will debut at the 2017 IAA show in Frankfurt, Germany later this year. The newly developed product provides enhanced seizure performance with steel crankshafts. IROX 2 joins Federal-Mogul’s family of IROX technologies which reduce friction and improve the wear resistance and fatigue limit of the bearings used in today’s highly evolved downsized engines.

The new polymer-coated high-performance bearings can be applied to both light and heavy-duty engines, and are particularly effective in hybrid and start/stop applications that place additional demands on bearings through frequent re-starting. Sample bearings with the IROX 2 coating are already with customers for evaluation and series production will commence later this year.

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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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ifo Institute study projects ban on combustion engines in 2030 would affect 600K jobs in German manufacturing

In Germany, legislation banning permits for new cars and light trucks with internal combustion engines as of 2030 is currently under consideration. A new study by the ifo Institute projects that such a ban could lead to significant losses in terms of jobs and added value in Germany. More than 600,000 jobs, or 10%, of jobs in German in manufacturing would currently be directly or indirectly affected by a ban. In the automotive industry alone a ban would endanger 436,000 jobs, while up to 130,000 jobs at small and medium-sized companies would be at risk.

Such a ban would also impact a total of 13% (amounting to around €48 billion) of gross value added. The study was commissioned by the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA).

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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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Volkswagen Group developing lean-burn combustion for monovalent natural gas engine as part of $27M EU GasOn research project

July 10, 2017

Volkswagen Group Research and its partners in the EU-funded GasOn research project are developing an innovative monovalent natural gas engine. Based on a 2.0-liter diesel engine, the unit permits very high compression. Extremely lean combustion (λ~2) leads to low consumption and initially to very low engine-out emissions.

Initial test results reported to the consortium for the period through October 2016 suggested a lean mixture with λ = 1.8 and a compression ratio of 14 seemed possible.

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

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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France launches new climate plan; Euro 7 lead; targeting ending the sale of vehicles emitting GHGs by 2040

Nicolas Hulot, France’s new minister responsible for environment and energy, presented the country’s new climate plan at a press conference at the Ministry. Prepared at the request of the President and the Prime Minister, the climate action plan is divided into six main themes: render the Paris Agreement irreversible; improve the daily life of the French; end the use of fossil energy and engage in carbon neutrality; make France the Nº 1 green economy; encourage the potential of ecosystems and agriculture; and intensify international mobilization on climate diplomacy.

Among the many actions outlined in the plan is the targeting of ending the sale of cars emitting greenhouse gases (“gaz à effet de serre”) by 2040. (The plan at this current level of detail does not specify whether or not that is tailpipe emissions or full lifecycle emissions, factoring in upstream for electric vehicles.) France also intends to initiate an ambitious (“ambitieuse”) Euro 7 standard at the European level.

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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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IEA: improving efficiency of road-freight transport critical to reduce oil-demand growth; three areas of focus

July 03, 2017

Improving the efficiency of road-freight transport is critical to reducing the growth in oil demand, carbon emissions and air pollution over the next decades, according to the International Energy Agency’s latest report, The Future of Trucks: Implications for energy and the environment.

Although trucks are a major contributor to the growth in transport-fuel consumption and emissions, the sector receives far less attention and policy focus than passenger vehicles, the IEA noted. Only four countries have energy-efficiency standards for heavy trucks, compared with some 40 countries with passenger-vehicle standards. Yet the growth in oil demand from trucks has outpaced all other sectors—including passenger cars, aviation, industry and petrochemical feedstocks—since 2000 and contributed 40% to global oil demand growth, a similar contribution as cars.

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

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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Renault Trucks leading FALCON project to cut heavy-duty tractor-trailer fuel consumption 13%

June 30, 2017

Renault Trucks, part of the Volvo Group, is leading the FALCON (Flexible & Aerodynamic Truck for Low CONsumption) consortium project to develop a complete heavy-duty tractor-trailer combination to consume 13% less fuel than a standard coupling towed by a Renault Trucks T.

The project team is focusing on optimized aerodynamics of the truck and trailer combination; connected low rolling resistance tires; and predictive energy-saving driving aid and fuel management functions, together with an improved powertrain using a new-generation Rankine heat recovery system and optimized lubricant formulations.

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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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LiquidPiston receives $3M Rapid Innovation Fund award from US Army for 2kW hybrid-electric genset

June 28, 2017

LiquidPiston, Inc. (LPI), a developer of advanced multi-fuel-capable rotary combustion engine technology, has been awarded a $3-million Rapid Innovation Fund (RIF) award from the US Army to develop an innovative ultra-portable 2kW diesel Compact Artillery Power System (CAPS). The RIF process is extremely selective, with only five percent of whitepapers ultimately being selected for the award.

CAPS is a compact, lightweight, quiet, low-vibration and efficient hybrid-electric diesel generator set capable of supplying up to 2kW of electric power while running on Jet Propellant 8 (JP8) or diesel fuel. The CAPS Genset prototype objectives include less than 30 pounds (13.6 kg) (dry weight), 1.5 ft3 (bounding volume), and less than 60db at 7 meters. This is a 75% reduction in generator weight compared to the MEP-501A, the current 2kW JP8 generator in use today, which weighs 124 pounds (56.3 kg).

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2018 VW Tiguan and new 2.0 TSI B-cycle engine gives VW a strong offering in compact SUV segment

June 27, 2017

Volkswagen of America is in the process of rolling out its all-new long wheelbase 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan (earlier post). As with the all-new 2018 Volkswagen Atlas full-size SUV (earlier post), the new Tiguan is based on Volkswagen’s Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) architecture.

The all-new 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan—the second-generation of the vehicle—is powered by the latest version of the EA888 four-cylinder engine, the 2.0L TSI EA888 Gen3 B-Cycle (Budack-cycle, earlier post), coupled with an 8-speed automatic. This is the only engine/transmission combination available in the Tiguan in the US. 4Motion with Active Control all-wheel drive system is optional. The core element of the new engine is a new combustion process combining short intake events with a high compression ratio.

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Parker Aerospace offering lubrication, combustion, & thermal management systems to cut aircraft engine weight, fuel consumption, and emissions

June 24, 2017

Parker Aerospace, a business segment of Parker Hannifin Corporation is introducing technologies designed to enhance the efficiency of aerospace engines in the areas of lubrication, combustion, and thermal management systems.

Engine lubrication innovations include the first-time use of composite materials for engine lubrication reservoirs, deploying oil demister technology to reduce emissions, and the development of sophisticated test rigs to optimize engine lubrication systems. Among the Parker Aerospace innovations in engine combustion are ecology tanks, enhanced combustor and fuel atomization nozzle design, and flexible lines for fuel manifolds. Parker Aerospace is also developing highly efficient, low-profile thermal management equipment to save envelope and weight on the engine.

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Volvo Technology Award for wave piston design

June 23, 2017

The Volvo Group’s new truck engines are more fuel efficient as a result of their new piston design which adds waves to the piston crown to improve the use of oxygen. (Earlier post.) The engineers (John Gibble, Frank Löfskog, Michael Balthasar, and Jan Eismark) behind the innovation have now received the Volvo Technology Award 2017. The new wave design has now been patented.

In the case of a standard piston, the injector is located at the top of the cylinder and the fuel is sprayed toward the sides of the cylinder through a number of orifices in the injector. The combination of heat and pressure causes the fuel to ignite before it reaches the cylinder wall.

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Toyota’s new conventional and hybrid powertrains for 2018 Camry deliver significant boost in efficiency

June 22, 2017

The 2018 Toyota Camry, the new eighth-generation of the most popular mid-size sedan in the world and the best-selling car in America for the past 15 years, will be going on sale in the US in late summer. Toyota unveiled the 2018 Camry at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in January. (Earlier post.)

The new Camry is based on the TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) (earlier post), manifested with the use of the GA-K platform. Along with the new platform, an all-new 2.5-liter four-cylinder Dynamic Force Engine, new Direct Shift-8AT eight-speed automatic transmission and a new double wishbone rear suspension design are all representative technologies that have evolved through TNGA.

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EIA: growing octane needs widen price difference between regular and premium in US

The difference between US average retail prices for premium and regular gasoline reached $0.50/gallon in late 2016 and it has remained near that level so far in 2017. This price difference, or spread, has been generally increasing since 2000. Many factors on both the supply and demand sides are influencing this trend, according to a new brief prepared by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

In the US, retail gasoline is usually classified by its octane rating: regular gasoline with a typical octane rating of 87 and premium gasoline with a typical octane rating of 91 to 93. On the demand side, the premium gasoline share of total motor gasoline sales has steadily increased in recent years, reaching a high of nearly 12% in August 2016—the highest share since 2004.

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Baker Institute expert urges focus on larger light-duty trucks and SUVs to reduce gasoline use, emissions

June 20, 2017

Larger trucks and SUVs with powerful, high-displacement engines are the low-hanging fruit for any policymaker seeking the most efficient path to reducing gasoline use and the associated emissions, according to an issue brief by an expert in the Center for Energy Studies at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

The brief’s author, Gabriel Collins, the Baker Botts Fellow in Energy and Environmental Regulatory Affairs, suggests that capital investments focused on the larger vehicles Americans favor can most rapidly save the largest quantities of fuel and avoid more emissions at less cost.

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

June 19, 2017

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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Volkswagen unveils the new Gen 6 Polo; standard start/stop and regeneration; 1.0 TGI natural gas engine

June 17, 2017

Volkswagen unveiled the new sixth-generation Polo at an event in Berlin. With more than 14 million units sold to date, the Polo is one of the world’s most successful compact cars. The sixth generation has a fully new sportier exterior design, and is bigger than its predecessor in every dimension.

In many parts of Europe the new Polo is due to launch before the year is out, with a number of Euro 6 engines being used phase by phase. The range of power output options at the start of sales will extend from 48 kW / 65 PS to 110 kW / 150 PS. For the first time, the Polo will be available with a natural gas engine—the newly developed 1.0 TGI with an output of 66 kW / 90 PS.

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Cummins to begin electrified powertrain delivery in 2019; alternative fuels and power, digitalization

June 15, 2017

During a teleconference yesterday, Cummins Inc. executives outlined plans to provide a range of power technologies spanning diesel and natural gas engines to fully electric and hybrid powertrains. Cummins will begin electrified powertrain delivery in 2019, including full battery-electric and plug-in hybrid systems. Cummins said those are just the first steps as it signals its intention to be the leading provider of electrified powertrains in its commercial and industrial markets.

Longer term, Cummins’ Research and Technology Department continues to investigate the viability of alternatives such as biofuels, synthetic fuels and hydrogen. Cummins has also invested in exploratory projects focused on Proton Exchange Membrane and Solid Oxide Fuel Cell technologiesboth with increasing potential to offer superior power density over the traditional internal combustion engine.

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European EAGLE project to develop gasoline engine with 50% peak efficiency; Renault to manufacture prototype

European researchers have launched a new project to obtain a gasoline engine at least 20% more efficient than current engines and adapted for future electrified powertrains. The EAGLE (Efficient Additivated Gasoline Lean Engine) European research project is led by the French research organization IFP Energies nouvelles, with the participation of eight partners from Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

The EAGLE project will combine and evaluate different advanced technologies to achieve its aim of developing an innovative engine able to deliver peak brake thermal efficiency of 50% while reducing particulate and NOx emissions and while using a conventional engine architecture. It will also reach real driving Euro 6 values with no conformity factor.

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Greaves and Pinnacle partner to launch opposed-piston gasoline/CNG lean burn engine for 3-wheelers

June 14, 2017

Greaves Cotton Limited, one of the leading engineering companies in India with core competencies in diesel and gasoline engines, farm equipment and gensets, and Pinnacle Engines, the developer of a high compression ratio, four-stroke, spark-ignited (SI), opposed-piston, sleeve-valve architecture engine (earlier post), announced a technology partnership for the launch of a novel opposed-piston gasoline/CNG lean burn BSVI-compliant engine for 3-wheelers in India. This will make India one of the lead markets to adopt this technology.

The Pinnacle engine architecture features low heat loss and low surface-area-to-volume in the combustion chamber, resulting in less energy loss, contributing to greater fuel efficiency. The Variable Compression Ratio (VCR) allows for reduced pumping work (PMEP) from de-throttling (increased air flow), reducing heat loss and knock resistance.

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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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Scania introduces new generation of more fuel-efficient V8s; addressing needs of heavier, longer trucks

Scania is introducing a new generation of Euro 6 V8 engines that represents Scania’s response to the growing trend in the transport industry towards heavier, longer trucks. The engines, which are available at 520, 580 and 650 horsepower, can reduce fuel consumption by 7 to 10 percent for customers with vehicles that have higher combined truck and trailer weights, higher average speeds, or both.

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Ricardo study provides insights into lean, clean and RDE-compliant gasoline engine technologies

June 08, 2017

Gasoline engines can operate lean to improve fuel economy, potentially reducing CO2 emissions significantly. Further, advances in combustion development for gasoline have led to the potential for reduced engine-out NOx emissions for homogeneous lean operation compared to stratified lean operation. However, NOx emissions control at the tailpipe remains a major issue, as reducing NOx emissions is a significant challenge in an excess-oxygen environment. The conventional three-way catalyst (TWC) is thus not an option for lean gasoline exhaust conditions.

At the SIA Powertrain international conference and exhibition at Versailles this week, Ricardo engineers reported on a detailed simulation study to determine the applicability of different engine operating modes (stoichiometric, lean homogeneous and lean stratified) in meeting Euro 6d Real Driving Emissions (RDE) limits for gasoline engines using lean operation zones in C-segment applications.

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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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UCLA, ARB, WVU measure on-road particle numbers for heavy-duty diesel and CNG trucks in California

June 03, 2017

In a new study, a team from UCLA, with colleagues from the California Air Resources Board (ARB) and West Virginia University, measured total particle number emission factors (PNEFs) from six newly certified heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) powered by diesel and CNG totaling over 6,800 miles of on-road operation in California. They calculated distance-, fuel- and work-based PNEFs for each vehicle. A paper describing their findings is published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.

They found that distance-based PNEFs of the vehicles equipped with original equipment manufacturer (OEM) diesel particulate filters (DPFs) in the study had decreased by 355–3,200 times compared to a previous retrofit DPF dynamometer study. Fuel-based PNEFs were consistent with previous studies measuring plume exhaust in the ambient air. On-road PNEFs showed route and technology dependence.

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New composite reduces rare earth element usage in three-way catalytic converters

June 02, 2017

The high-performance, three-way catalytic (TWC) converter is one of the workhorses of emissions reduction for gasoline engines. The TWC reduces NOx to nitrogen and oxygen; oxidizes CO to CO2, and oxidizes unburnt hydrocarbons to carbon CO2 and water. However, TWCs require the use of the rare-earth element Cerium (Ce), which is increasing in price and can suffer from supply problems.

Now, researchers at Kumamoto University in Japan, led by Professor Masato Machida, have developed a new composite material—a CeO2-grafted MnFeOy (CeO2/MnFeOy) as a substitute for the conventional CeO2 material in three-way catalysts. A paper on their work is published in the ACS journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research.

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

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

May 31, 2017

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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First liquid nitrogen hybrid bus completes trials; HORIBA MIRA and Dearman

May 30, 2017

A hybrid bus that runs on both diesel and liquid nitrogen has completed a series of trials to bring it one step closer to the road. The hybrid bus—CE Power—is the first to be powered by liquid nitrogen and has been built by engineers at HORIBA MIRA as part of an Innovate UK consortium.

The bus utilizes alternative propulsion to address urban air pollution challenges and features a high-efficiency, zero-emission Dearman Engine (earlier post), powered by liquid nitrogen, alongside a conventional diesel engine. The hybrid system enables the bus to reduce noxious tail-pipe emissions, improving local air quality.

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KAUST team develops computational model for simulating soot production in gasoline direct injection engines

Researchers at KAUST have developed a computational model capable of simulating soot production inside gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines.

Although today’s passenger vehicle engines are cleaner and more fuel efficient, GDI exhaust can still contain significant numbers of nanoscopic soot particles that are small enough to penetrate the lungs and bloodstream. This new computer model could help car makers improve their engines to cut soot formation.

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Study links PM2.5 pollution to heart damage

May 26, 2017

Research presented at the annual CMR (cardiovascular magnetic resonance) imaging conference of the European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging (EACVI) links PM2.5 pollution to heart damage. Among the sources of urban PM2.5 are diesel and gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines (earlier post).

There is strong evidence that particulate matter (PM) from road vehicles is associated with increased risk of heart attack, heart failure, and death, said lead author Dr. Nay Aung, a cardiologist and Wellcome Trust research fellow, William Harvey Research Institute, Queen Mary University of London, UK. “This appears to be driven by an inflammatory response—inhalation of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) causes localized inflammation of the lungs followed by a more systemic inflammation affecting the whole body.

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Swiss team concludes that particulate filters should be mandatory for GDI engines

May 24, 2017

Based on a three-year study of toxic and environmentally relevant pollutants from gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines, Swiss researchers have concluded that some GDI engines emit just as many soot particles as unfiltered diesel cars did in the past. Further, the GDI particles carry numerous carcinogenic substances. Based on this current data, they recommend that particulate filters be mandatory for GDI engines.

In the spring 2014, the GasOMeP project (Gasoline Vehicle Emission Control for Organic, Metallic and Particulate Non-Legislative Pollutants) got underway. The Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), Bern University of Applied Sciences, the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland, several industrial partners and Empa were all involved. The project was funded by the ETH Domain’s Competence Center for Energy and Mobility (CCEM) and coordinated by Empa chemist Norbert Heeb, who has made a name for himself in the last 25 years by analyzing diesel emissions and studying filter systems.

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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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2018 Volkswagen Tiguan powered by 2.0L EA888 Gen3B engine

The all-new 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan arrives in US dealerships this summer powered by the most advanced version yet of Volkswagen’s EA888 four-cylinder engine, the Gen3B. The updated version of the four-cylinder, turbocharged and direct-injection engine uses a modified Miller cycle to offer an improved combination of power, efficiency and responsiveness. Audi engineers described the development of the Gen3B at the Vienna Motor Symposium in 2015. (Earlier post.) The Audi version of the EA888 Gen3B made its debut in the new A4.

First introduced in the 2009 CC, the EA888 continued Volkswagen’s move toward smaller, turbocharged engines that offer the fuel economy benefits of downsizing with the power of a larger-displacement unit. Though EPA estimates are not yet available, compared with the 1.8-liter EA888 Gen 3 engine that is fitted in the current Passat, Jetta, Beetle, and Golf family models, the new 2.0-liter EA888 Generation 3B is expected to offer improved fuel efficiency along with a 20% boost in maximum torque to 221 lb-ft (300 N·m).

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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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DOE: gasoline direct injection engine technology showing very rapid adoption; 48.5% market share after 9 years

Gasoline direct injection (GDI) technology has seen very rapid adoption in the US since its first significant use, according to data gathered by the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Only nine years after its first significant use in the market, GDI penetration has climbed to 48.5% market share. (First significant use generally represents a production threshold of about 1%.)

Many auto manufacturers have used the combined benefits of GDI and turbocharging for increasing power output from downsized engines. This is evident in the rapid rise of turbo-charged engines in over the past five years, after 11 prior years of desultory growth.

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California ARB opens solicitations for $17M for On-Road Advanced Technology Demonstrations Projects; Class 7, 8 trucks

May 20, 2017

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) is seeking solicitations for up to $17 million in grants for the On-Road Advanced Technology Demonstrations Projects approved by the Board as part of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016-17 Funding Plan for Low Carbon Transportation and Fuels Investments and the Air Quality Improvement Program (AQIP).

Projects funded under this solicitation will demonstrate pre-commercial Intelligent Transportation Systems and Connected Trucks; Advanced Engines and Powertrains; and Zero-Emission Short and Regional Haul Trucks.

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Ricardo designing two versions of lightweight and thermally-efficient Latitude engine on JLR Ingenium engine base

May 19, 2017

In the UK, the Latitude project is researching advanced boosting technology, integrated with an engine combustion system, incorporating leading edge fuel injection equipment and controls, for application in future Jaguar Land Rover products. Allied to an innovative thermally optimized and lightweight design of engine structure, the project aims to deliver more than 10% fuel economy and CO2 emissions improvement, compared with current production vehicles.

Ricardo is taking overall responsibility for the structural design of two versions of the Latitude engine, based upon Jaguar Land Rover’s Ingenium family: a ‘High Performance’ unit, and a ‘Lower Power’ version aimed at providing an even greater level of fuel efficiency.

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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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European PaREGEn project targeting improved gasoline direct-injection fuel-efficiency and reduced particle emissions

European partners last October launched the 36-month, €12.1-million (US$13.5-million) Particle Reduced, Efficient Gasoline Engines (PaREGEn) project. Supported with €9.95 million (US$11.1 million) of EC funding, the PaREGEn project seeks to demonstrate, at up to TRL 7, a new generation of gasoline direct-injection engined mid- to premium-sized passenger vehicles achieving a 15% reduction in CO2 emissions through the optimal combination of advanced engine and robust aftertreatment technologies.

The vehicles will also comply with upcoming Euro 6 RDE limits with particle number emissions measured to a ⌀ 10 nm threshold. Ricardo is coordinating the research initiative as part of a 16-partner consortium, representing all sectors of the European automotive industry.

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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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Study finds fleet switch from PFI to GDI engines will result in net reduction in global warming

May 12, 2017

A new study quantifying emissions from a fleet of gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines and port fuel injection (PFI) engines finds that the measured decrease in CO2 emissions from GDIs is much greater than the potential climate forcing associated with higher black carbon emissions from GDI engines. Thus, the researchers concluded, switching from PFI to GDI vehicles will likely lead to a reduction in net global warming.

The study, by a team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, University of Georgia, Aerodyne Research, California Air Resources Board (ARB), Ohio State University, UC Berkeley, and UC San Diego is published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.

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Volkswagen Group to invest approximately €10B in powertrain technologies over the next five years; targeting Nº 1 in e-mobility by 2022

May 10, 2017

The Volkswagen Group has invested some €3 billion (US$3.3 billion) in alternative drive technologies over the past five years and will triple this amount in the course of the next five years, said Matthias Müller, CEO of Volkswagen AG, at the Group’s Annual General Meeting in Hanover.

The future is electric. We intend to be the Nº 1 in e-mobility by 2025,” said Müller at the meeting. At the same time, the Volkswagen Group is continuing to develop diesel and gasoline engines, targeting making them a further 10 to 15 percent more efficient and cleaner by 2020. “Diesel,” said Müller, “will remain indispensable for the foreseeable future.” In total, the Volkswagen Group will be investing around €10 billion (US$10.9 billion) in these technologies by 2022.

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DOE awards $3.9M to 13 projects using high performance computing in manufacturing; Ford, LanzaTech

May 09, 2017

The US Department of Energy is awarding nearly $3.9 million for 13 projects designed to stimulate the use of high performance supercomputing in US manufacturing. The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Advanced Manufacturing Office’s High Performance Computing for Manufacturing (HPC4Mfg) program enables innovation in US manufacturing through the adoption of high performance computing (HPC) to advance applied science and technology relevant to manufacturing. (Earlier post.)

The 13 new project partnerships include application of world-class computing resources and expertise of the national laboratories including Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory (LBNL), National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and Argonne National Laboratory (ANL). Among the awardees were Ford Motor Company and LanzaTech.

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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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Delphi to spin off powertrain segment as new independent company

May 03, 2017

Delphi Automotive PLC intends to execute a tax-free spin-off of its Powertrain Systems segment into a new, independent publicly traded company (“Powertrain”). Immediately following the transaction, which is expected to be completed by March 2018, Delphi shareholders will own shares of both companies: Delphi Automotive with its Electrical/Electronic Architecture and Electronics & Safety businesses and Powertrain.

The convergence of technologies underpinning industry megatrends is driving greater demand for advanced electronics and increased computing power to meet consumer preferences for more safety, efficiency, and connectivity. At the same time, regulations for emissions and fuel economy are becoming increasingly stringent globally, requiring advanced engine management and electrification systems to enhance vehicle performance and meet customer demand. Kevin Clark, president and CEO of Delphi Automotive, said that the change will create two independent companies, each with a distinct product focus, a proven business model, and the flexibility to pursue accelerated investments in advanced technologies.

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Cummins Westport announces MY 2018 natural gas engine line-up; near zero NOx

May 01, 2017

Cummins Westport (CWI) announced its model year 2018 dedicated natural gas engines for regional haul truck / tractor, vocational and transit, school bus, and refuse applications at the Alternative Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo in Long Beach, California. The new lineup comes with a change in names, following Cummins tradition of using B, L, and X series letters, followed by engine displacement. The letter “N” denotes engines that are fueled by natural gas.

The new B6.7N, L9N, and ISX12N engines feature Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (ARB) Optional Low NOx certification, On-Board Diagnostics (OBD), Closed Crankcase Ventilation (CCV) systems, and performance and reliability improvements. (Earlier post.) The new ISX12N features a redesigned fuel system with fewer parts and improved performance.

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Schaeffler highlights latest version of UniAir electrohydraulic valve control at Vienna

April 28, 2017

At the Vienna Motor Symposium, Schaeffler is highlighting the latest generation of its UniAir fully-variable electrohydraulic valve control system, first introduced in volume production in 2009. The latest generation of UniAir also now allows vehicles in the upper-class automobile market to operate more economically and with lower emissions.

UniAir controls the engine valves based on cycles and offers an extended range of strategic options for matching engine operation to specific situations and requirements. This technology makes it possible to achieve significant reductions in fuel consumption and emissions, as well as a significant improvement in torque curves. By using UniAir, customized operating strategies for modern combustion processes, such as the Miller and Atkinson cycles, can also be realized in accordance with customer requirements.

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Volkswagen introduces new Coasting 2.0 micro hybrid system and new natural gas engine at Vienna Motor Symposium

April 27, 2017

At the 38th Vienna Motor Symposium Volkswagen is introducing a new, more fuel-efficient “Coasting - Engine off” micro hybrid system—which shuts off the engine completely—as well as a new, compact three-cylinder natural gas engine for the Polo.

Volkswagen is also highlighting its spectrum of efficiency and electrification solutions all the way to further optimized battery-powered propulsion as in the new e-Golf and the coming new MEB-based electric vehicles exemplified by its series of I.D. concepts.

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ASTM releases new high-octane fuel standard D8067-17 to support development of more efficient engines

April 26, 2017

ASTM International recently announced the release of a new high-octane fuel standard that is expected to impact the development of gasoline products compatible with vehicles that feature high-performance fuel-efficient engines. Formation and approval of the standard was led by Dr. Robert L. McCormick, an the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) transportation research engineer.

The new standard—“Specification for 100 Research Octane Number Test Fuel for Automotive Spark-Ignition Engines” (D8067-17)—covers the requirements of a high octane number fuel suitable for spark-ignition engines to be utilized in ground vehicles that will require 100 research octane number (RON) minimum rated fuel.

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Continental Powertrain: dual focus on electrification and efficient ICE; boosting electric drive spending by €300M by 2021

Continental’s Powertrain division is strategically focused on two parallel efforts. The first is the full value creation from the growing demand for the most efficient combustion engine technologies that also deliver the lowest emissions. The second is to benefit from the prospective growth in environmentally friendly, electrified and fully electric drive systems.

Continental will spend an additional €300 million (US$327 million) on its business with electric drives alone by 2021. This step, as well as additional plans, are part of the new global “Powertrain Strategy 2020+”.

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