[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.]
Study suggests focusing on cold starts in gasoline cars as target for emissions reduction
August 22, 2016
A new study suggests that focusing on a gasoline-fueled vehicle’s cold start is the best target for future design changes to reduce emissions of criteria pollutants. The researchers are presenting their work today at the 252nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Philadelphia.
Although the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reported that air is cleaner today than it was in the 1970s, more than 130 million people in the US still live in places where smog or particle pollution rises to unhealthful levels. Smog can cause coughing and shortness of breath, and can aggravate asthma or trigger asthma attacks. Much of this haze is formed from volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, and fine particulate matter from tailpipe emissions.
New Flyer adds 2016 Cummins Westport ISL G Near Zero engine to Xcelsior bus lineup; debuting in LA
August 18, 2016
Flyer of America Inc., a subsidiary of New Flyer Industries Inc., the largest heavy-duty transit bus and motor coach manufacturer and parts distributor in North America, is adding the 2016 Cummins Westport ISL G Near Zero engine (earlier post) to its Xcelsior bus family. New Flyer is the first transit manufacturer to offer the industry’s cleanest certified engine and will deliver the first original OEM installation of a the engine in the third quarter of 2016.
The ISL G NZ compressed natural gas is certified by both US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Air Resources Board (ARB) in California to meet the 0.02 g/bhp-hr optional Near Zero NOx Emissions standards for medium-duty truck, urban bus, school bus and refuse applications. The engine will be used to power a New Flyer Xcelsior XN40 bus for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro). LA Metro operates the largest natural gas engine transit vehicle fleet in North America.
2017 Audi A4 ultra with Millerized 2.0 TFSI offers 31 mpg combined; highest EPA-estimated fuel economy in competitive segment
August 17, 2016
Audi’s 2017 A4 ultra leverages the Millerized 2.0-liter TFSI engine (earlier post) to achieve 27 mpg (8.7 l/100 km) city, 37 mpg (6.35 l/100 km) highway, and 31 mpg (7.58 l/100 km) combined EPA-estimated fuel economy. No other luxury sedan in its non-hybrid competitive segment offers higher EPA-estimated city or highway mileage.
The efficiency of the 2.0 TFSI is the result of Audi’s Millerized combustion method with shorter compression and longer expansion phases as well as increased compression. The Miller cycle uses a higher expansion ratio than compression ratio (i.e., over-expansion) obtained by either early or late closing of the intake valves (EIVC and LIVC, respectively), and results in a smaller effective compression stroke; combustion and expansion proceed normally.
2017 Range Rover Sport gains new Ingenium 2.0L diesel as option; semi-autonomous driving tech
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).
DOE to award up to $137M for SuperTruck II, Vehicle Technology Office programs
August 16, 2016
The US Department of Energy (DOE) will invest up to $137 million in two programs, subject to appropriations, to develop next-generation technologies that will support industry in going beyond the newly announced Phase II standard for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles (earlier post) and also accelerating technology advances for passenger cars and light trucks.
One initiative, SuperTruck II (earlier post), will award $80 million to four projects to develop and to demonstrate cost-effective technologies that more than double the freight efficiency of Class 8 trucks. Through the other initiative, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Vehicle Technologies Office Program Wide Funding Opportunity Announcement (earlier post)selections, 35 new projects will receive $57 million to develop and deploy a wide array of cutting-edge vehicle technologies, including advanced batteries and electric drive systems, to reduce carbon emissions and petroleum consumption in passenger cars and light trucks.
Infiniti introducing production-ready variable compression ratio engine at Paris Motor Show
August 15, 2016
Infiniti will introduce a production-ready variable compression ratio engine VC-T (Variable Compression-Turbocharged) at the 2016 Paris Motor Show (Mondial de l’Automobile) in September. Infiniti said that the new four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline VC-T engine has been in development for more than 20 years. (Nissan was awarded a patent in 1995 on compression ratio control for an engine.)
Interest in variable compression engines stretches back more than 40 years. In a 1976 SAE paper, Grundy et al. described the Teledyne Continental Motors (TCM) AVCR 1360-2 variable compression ratio (VCR) diesel engine, the culmination of fifteen years of VCR piston and high specific output research. Two main types of variable compression ratio systems have been proposed over the years: continuous and two-stage.
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.
CALSTART brief highlights growth of and future opportunity for California’s clean transportation technology industry
August 08, 2016
A new CALSTART brief indicates that California’s climate and energy policies are not only helping to protect the environment and improve air quality, but are also helping to accelerate growth of the clean transportation technology industry (CTTI) in the state.
The paper, “California’s Clean Transportation Technology Industry: Time to Shift into High Gear,” profiles the development of a burgeoning manufacturing sector that is producing zero- and near-zero emission light-, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, as well as clean fuels, engines, vehicle components, and new mobility services.
Argonne team discovers self-regenerating DLC tribofilm
August 05, 2016
Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory have discovered an ultra-durable, self-lubricating tribofilm that regenerates in the presence of oil, heat, and pressure—meaning that it will not wear away over the life of an engine. The film, reported yesterday in the journal Nature, develops when a new catalytic coating that can be applied to engine parts interacts with lubricating oil to create an extremely tough coating that almost eliminates wear.
Tests revealed the diamond-like carbon (DLC) tribofilm reduced friction by 25-40% and that wear was reduced to unmeasurable values. The discovery could have implications for the efficiency and durability of future engines and other moving metal parts that can be made to develop self-healing DLC tribofilms.
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.
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.
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.
DOE to award $7M to accelerate fuel and engine co-optimization technologies; Co-Optima initiative
August 01, 2016
The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award up to $7 million in project funding to accelerate the introduction of affordable, scalable, and sustainable high-performance fuels for use in high-efficiency, low-emission engines as part of the Co-Optimization of Fuels and Engines (Co-Optima) initiative. (Earlier post.)
Co-optimized fuels and engines offer the opportunity to build on decades of advancements in both fuels and engines. Groundbreaking research in the last 10 years has identified combustion engine strategies that—especially if optimized to run on new fuels—would offer significantly higher efficiency and produce fewer engine-out pollutants than current engines. The new funding opportunity (DE-FOA-0001461) will advance the long-term objective of the Co-Optima initiative to accelerate widespread deployment of significantly improved fuels and vehicles (from passenger to light truck to heavy-duty commercial vehicles) by 2030.
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.
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.
PSA evaluating Aquarius Engines’ free-piston linear generator for range-extender
July 21, 2016
PSA Groupe is evaluating a free-piston engine linear-generator under development by Israel-based start-up Aquarius Engines for use as a range-extender in its electric vehicles. According to a report from Reuters, PSA Research and Development Director Gilles Le Borgne said that while the company is evaluating the technology, “Nothing has been decided yet.” According to Aquarius, several prototype vehicles using its free-piston generator will be road-tested by 2017.
A number of groups have recently or are currently investigating the use of free piston engine power generation applications with a focus on automotive, including academic work at West Virginia University (WVU), Sandia National Laboratory (SNL), Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden), and Shanghai Jiaotong University. (Earlier post.)
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.
EPA, NHTSA & ARB Draft TAR finds MY 2022-2025 LD fuel and GHG standards can be met largely with more efficient gasoline-powered cars
July 18, 2016
The US EPA, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and California Air Resources Board (ARB) have released the Draft Technical Assessment Report mid-term evaluation of greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy standards for light-duty cars and trucks for model years (MY) 2022-2025.
The draft TAR shows that automotive manufacturers are innovating and bringing new technology to market at a rapid pace, and that they will be able to meet the MY 2022-2025 standards established in the 2012 rulemaking with a wide range of cost-effective technologies. Moreover, it indicates that these standards can be achieved by relying primarily on advanced gasoline vehicles.
DOE to issue funding opportunity to support Co-Optimization of Fuels and Engines initiative
July 16, 2016
The US DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) intends (DE-FOA-0001623) to issue, on behalf of the Bioenergy Technology Office (BETO) and Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO), a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) entitled “Co-Optimization of Fuels and Engines.” The FOA (DE-FOA-0001461) will be restricted to US institutions of higher education and non-profit research institutions.
This FOA will support the Co-Optimization of Fuels and Engines (Co-Optima) initiative (earlier post), a collaborative initiative being pursued by BETO and VTO to accelerate the introduction of affordable, scalable, and sustainable high-performance fuels for use in high-efficiency, low-emission engines.
U Toronto team assess the climate trade-off between reduced CO2 and increased Black Carbon from GDI engines
July 14, 2016
The upside of gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines is widely seen as being improved fuel economy coupled with an increase in specific power (especially with turbocharging), enabling significant downsizing. The downside of GDI engines, however, is a substantial increase in emissions of particulate matter—a problem with which heretofore only diesels had to deal.
A significant fraction of the GDI PM2.5 is black carbon (BC)—a pollutant with large positive radiative forcing on the climate due to its ability to absorb incoming sunlight and reduce surface albedo on snow. In other words, while the use of GDI engines can reduce CO2, it also can increase BC—contributing to further warming. A new study by a team at the University of Toronto has made a preliminary assessment of the climate trade-off (i.e., CO2 vs. BC) to ensure that integration of GDI vehicles will result in a net reduction of CO2-equivalent emissions. Their paper appears in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.
Cal Energy to award up to $4M for off-road heavy-duty natural gas vehicle research and development
July 13, 2016
The California Energy Commission will award up to $4 million (GFO-16-501) to projects to to support the research and development of heavy-duty off-road vehicles powered by conventional or renewable natural gas.
Projects should incorporate advanced low emission engine technology currently available for heavy-duty on-road vehicles. Existing advanced natural gas engine technologies could be adapted to provide this market segment with a natural gas engine option capable of exceeding current, Tier 4, emission regulations while simultaneously meeting the performance needs of off-road applications.
MAHLE Jet Ignition for Ferrari F1 as well as sub-200 g/kWh BSFC in light-duty engine; on-road and stationary applications
July 11, 2016
MAHLE Powertrain has been developing Jet Ignition—a high-energy distributed ignition technology that enables homogeneous ultra-lean (λ > ∼1.6) combustion, with its attendant benefits of reduced fuel consumption and emissions—for a number of years. (E.g., Earlier post, (Earlier post.)
MAHLE Jet Ignition (MJI) uses a pre-chamber in conjunction with a spark plug and secondary fuel injector. The chemical, thermal and kinetic energy from the combustion of this small fuel-air mixture is transferred via nozzles to the main combustion chamber where it ignites the main fuel-air mixture.
GE Aviation hits Farnborough at full throttle; $7.5B in R&D investments since 2010; ceramic matrix composites and 3D printing
July 10, 2016
GE Aviation will enter the Farnborough Air Show on Monday with a wave of new product and technology introductions while expanding its factory network to deliver on a record $154-billion industrial backlog of product and services.
From running the first full GE9X engine for the Boeing 777X (earlier post)—fired more than seven months ahead of a typical engine program schedule—to certifying the Passport jet engine for the Bombardier Global 7000 and Global 8000 (earlier post), GE Aviation this year is introducing new jet engines for business jets to wide-body airline aircraft. GE Aviation has announced eight new factories in eight years to respond to record engine orders. By year’s end, GE and CFM International (the 50/50 joint company of GE and Safran) will have more than 15,000 commercial engines on back order.
Porsche opens new plant for eight-cylinder engines; digitalization and data management; V8s for all VW Group brands
July 08, 2016
Porsche has officially dedicated a new engine plant for eight-cylinder engines. The factory at the main site in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen works with state-of-the-art production methods, leveraging digitalization and data management. At full plant utilization produces around 200 eight-cylinder V-engines daily. The sports car manufacturer has invested nearly €80 million in the new production facility.
Porsche’s new engine plant will also contribute towards synergies within the Volkswagen Group. Plans call for producing the eight-cylinder V-engines for all Group brands in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen from this point forward.
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.
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.
Korea team investigates characteristics of SI dual-piston free-piston engine linear generator
Researchers from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and Korea Institute of Energy Research (KIER) have developed and are investigating the characteristics of a prototype of a dual-piston spark-ignition (SI) free-piston engine coupled with a linear alternator for electric power generation. Their paper is published in the journal Fuel.
Free piston engines, first introduced in the 1920s, have been attracting renewed attention for their potential for high efficiency and low emissions. Toyota R&D, for example, has been investigating Free Piston Engine Linear Generators (FPEGs) for B/C segment electric vehicles for several years. (Earlier post.)
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.
Beijing Foton launches “China Internet Super Truck Global Innovation Alliance”; Auman Energy Super Truck
June 23, 2016
Chinese truck and utility vehicle manufacturer Beijing Foton has launched the China Internet Super Truck Global Innovation Alliance and showcased the Auman EST (Energy Super Truck) at an event in Athens, Greece.
The Internet super truck project is a collaboration that brings together Foton Motor Group, Cummins, and Daimler AG and aims at building Internet-driven super trucks that are green, efficient, safe, and intelligent through the integration of global resources, the effective use of new energies, the establishment of vehicle networks, and the implementation of intelligent truck-loading technology.
Volkswagen Group to begin equipping TSI and TFSI engines with gasoline particulate filters from June 2017
The Volkswagen Group will begin equipping the Group’s new TSI and TFSI gasoline direct injection engines with gasoline particulate filters (GPF). This initiative, announced by Group CEO Matthias Müller at the Group’s annual general meeting, will begin with the 1.4 liter TSI engine in the new VW Tiguan and the Audi A5 in June 2017.
This will reduce particulate emissions from the direct injection gasoline engines by up to 90%. Up to 7 million Volkswagen vehicles could be equipped with this technology each year by 2022.
Ricardo investigating potential for its split-cycle engine in large engine market
Ricardo is exploring the value proposition for applications of its novel split-cycle combustion engine (earlier post). In a poster-session paper presented at CIMAC Congress 2016 in Finland, Ricardo described the use of this split-cycle concept in high- and medium-speed engines for power generation to achieve efficiencies of 60% from units of 1–30 MW mechanical output.
Ricardo, in collaboration with the University of Brighton, has been developing the split-cycle engine with an eye toward improving the thermal efficiency of heavy-duty engines. The engine is based on a fundamentally new split-cycle combustion concept using a recuperated split-cycle with isothermal compression via cryogenic injection. The technology has the potential to realize brake thermal efficiencies in the order of 60% across a number of applications, Ricardo says.
Sainsbury trialing Dearman liquid air engine in refrigerated truck
June 22, 2016
Sainsbury’s has become the first company to introduce a refrigerated delivery truck cooled by a liquid nitrogen powered engine (earlier post), which will eliminate all emissions associated with refrigeration. Supplied by cooling technology specialist Dearman and its partners, the zero-emission cooling unit replaces the traditional diesel engine used to chill the vehicle and will significantly cut emissions.
During the three-month trial, the vehicle will save up to 1.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide; the equivalent of driving more than 14,500 km in a modern family car. The trial will also save 37 kg of NOx and 2 kg of particulate matter, compared to a similar diesel system. The truck will operate from Sainsbury’s Waltham Point depot, delivering chilled goods to stores in the London area.
Iveco launches the New Stralis XP long-haul truck; fuel savings up to 11%
June 20, 2016
Iveco has introduced the New Stralis XP long-haul truck, featuring fuel savings of up to 11% and a reduction in total cost of ownership (TCO) of up to 5.6% in long-distance transport operations.
The New Stralis XP builds on the foundation of the Stralis Hi-Way, launched in 2012 and named “International Truck of the Year 2013”. It carries over the best of its predecessor, and in particular the Hi-Way cab, which is very well appreciated by customers, Iveco’s HI-SCR Euro VI solution that requires no regeneration and preserves the long-term value of engine and vehicle, and the quality and reliability of the previous range.
Canada publishes proposed regulations for criteria pollutants from locomotives
June 18, 2016
The Government of Canada has published proposed Locomotive Emissions Regulations in the Canada Gazette, Part I. This marks Canada’s first regulation of air pollutant emissions from locomotives. The proposed regulations will criteria air contaminants (CACs), from locomotives operated by railway companies under federal jurisdiction through increasingly stringent emission standards and reduced idling. CACs include NOx; particulate matter (PM); hydrocarbons (HC), carbon monoxide (CO); and sulfur oxides (SOx).
The emission standards set out in these proposed regulations will also align with those of the United States. Canada and the US are also working together on approaches to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from locomotives under the Canada-US Regulatory Cooperation Council.
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.
LiquidPiston releases proof-of-concept video of X Mini 70cc rotary engine applied in a kart
June 14, 2016
LiquidPiston, Inc. (LPI), the developer of engines based on its High Efficiency Hybrid Cycle (HEHC) (earlier post), has released a proof-of-concept video of its X Mini rotary engine applied in a go-kart.
LiquidPiston’s X Engine architecture is a non-Wankel rotary embodiment of the HEHC. The X Engine has few parts and three combustion events per rotor revolution, resulting in tremendous power density. The X Engine’s few moving parts consist of a rotor (the primary work-producing component) and an eccentric shaft. Except for ancillary parts such as injectors, fuel pumps, and oil pumps, there are no other moving parts.
EU investing >€3M in research into ultra-efficient aero engines; ULTIMATE project
The EU is investing more than €3 million in innovative aero-engine technologies in the three-year ULTIMATE project, short for Ultra Low emission Technology Innovations for Mid-century Aircraft Turbine Engines. The 3-year project, which launched in September 2015, targets radical concepts for new aero engines, in line with the EU’s long-term emissions reduction target for 2050. The project is being presented in a paper (Grönstedt et al.) at the ASME Turbo Expo 2016 conference this week in Seoul, South Korea.
The project team, coordinated by Chalmers University of Technology, includes four of the largest engine manufacturers in Europe: Rolls-Royce (UK), MTU Aero Engines (Germany), Safran Aircraft Engines (France) and GKN Aerospace (Sweden), four universities: Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden), Cranfield University (UK), Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece) and Institut Supérieur de l’Aéronautique et de l’Espace (France), the research institute Bauhaus Luftfahrt (Germany) and the technology management company Arttic (France).
Daimler investing >€7B in next 2 years in green tech; fuel cell plug-in, BEV architecture; 48V
June 13, 2016
At its TecDay event in Stuttgart, Daimler said it will invest more than €7 billion (US$7.9 billion) in green technologies in the next two years alone. Shortly, smart will be the only automaker worldwide to offer its entire model range both powered by internal combustion engines or operating on battery power. Mercedes-Benz will put the first fuel-cell-powered vehicle with plug-in technology into series production: the GLC F-CELL. In addition, the company is developing a dedicated vehicle architecture for battery-electric motor cars.
Following the company’s recent introduction of the new OM 654 diesel family (earlier post), Daimler will introduce a new family of gasoline engines in 2017, which will again set efficiency standards and will be the first ever to be equipped with a particulate filter (earlier post). The 48-volt on-board power supply will be introduced at the same time and starter-generators will become part of the standard specification. The 48V system will make fuel savings possible that previously were the exclusive domain of the high-voltage hybrid technology.
US DRIVE releases comprehensive cradle-to-grave analysis of light-duty vehicle GHGs, cost of driving and cost of avoided GHGs
June 09, 2016
The US DRIVE Cradle-to-Grave Working Group has published the “Cradle-to-Grave Lifecycle Analysis of US Light-Duty Vehicle-Fuel Pathways: A Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Economic Assessment of Current (2015) and Future (2025–2030) Technologies” Argonne National Lab Report.
The study provides a comprehensive lifecycle analysis (LCA), or cradle-to-grave (C2G) analysis, of the cost and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of a variety of vehicle-fuel pathways, as well as the levelized cost of driving (LCD) and cost of avoided GHG emissions. The study also estimates the technology readiness levels (TRLs) of key fuel and vehicle technologies along the pathways. The study only addresses possible vehicle-fuel combination pathways—i.e., no scenario analysis.
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.
Mack Trucks to showcase Wrightspeed turbine-based extended range electric powertrain in Class 8 refuse truck
At this week’s WasteExpo2016, Mack Trucks, one of North America’s largest manufacturers of heavy-duty Class 8 trucks, engines and transmissions, will showcase Wrightspeed’s The Route turbine-based extended range electric powertrain (earlier post) applied in a refuse truck.
Designed as a replacement for conventional piston engine and transmission systems, the award-winning Route is a range-extended electric vehicle powertrain that provides unlimited range and significantly reduced fuel costs for today’s refuse, delivery and mass transit markets. Wrightspeed counts FedEx, Ratto Group and New Zealand Bus as early Route customers.
DOE to award $22.3M to accelerate the development of MD, HD plug-in vehicles and use of other sustainable transportation technologies
June 06, 2016
The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced approximately $22.3 million of funding to support research, development, and demonstration of innovative plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) and direct injection propane engine technologies, as well as community-based projects to accelerate the adoption of light, medium, and heavy duty vehicles that operate on fuels such as biodiesel, electricity, E85, hydrogen, natural gas, and propane.
The “Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Vehicle Technologies Multi-Topic Funding Opportunity Announcement” (DE-FOA-0001535) seeks cost-shared projects across three areas of sustainable transportation technologies.
New correlation between fuel octane index and HCCI combustion provides basis for more robust control strategies
A team of researchers in the US and Australia has developed a new correlation between the octane index (OI) of a range of refinery stream fuels and Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) combustion phasing.
The behavior of the new model is much improved compared to the original OI model—particularly in the low intake temperature range and for fuels with high aromatic and high ethanol content. The new octane index correlation can be used for designing robust HCCI control strategies, capable of handling the wide spectrum of fuel chemical compositions found in pump gasoline, the researchers said in their paper published in the International Journal of Engine Research.
New aluminum-cerium alloys could boost rare earth production; improved energy efficiency of engines
June 03, 2016
Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and partners Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and Eck Industries have developed aluminum-cerium (Al-Ce) alloys that are both easier to work with and more heat tolerant than existing products.
ORNL scientists Zach Sims, Michael McGuire and Orlando Rios, along with colleagues from Eck, LLNL and Ames Laboratory in Iowa, discuss the technical and economic possibilities for aluminum–cerium alloys in an article in JOM, a publication of the Minerals, Metals & Materials Society. The alloys have the potential to jump-start US production of rare earth elements, the researchers suggested.
KBA approves software solution for VW 2.0L EA 189 diesels; more than 800K units to be retrofitted
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.)
Audi’s Gen2 A5 offers up to 17% more performance and up to 22% lower fuel consumption
Nine years after the launch of the mid-size A5, Audi unveiled the second-generation A5 and S5 Coupé during an event at the company’s headquarters in Ingolstadt. The new Audi A5 Coupé will launch in Germany with five engines: two gasoline TFSI and three diesel TDI units.
Their power output has increased considerably and is now between 140 kW (190 hp) and 210 kW (286 hp). Compared with the previous model, they offer up to 17% more performance while consuming as much as 22% less fuel. All the engines combine high efficiency with sporty power development and smooth running—especially the two 3.0 TDI six-cylinder engines.
Santa Monica signs 5-year deal with Clean Energy for renewable LNG for bus fleet; deploying CWI Near-Zero NOx engine
June 02, 2016
The City of Santa Monica, California has awarded Clean Energy a multi-year liquefied natural gas (LNG) contract to fuel its Big Blue Bus (BBB) fleet of vehicles. The 5-year deal, worth an estimated $3 million per year, will enable BBB to continue using Clean Energy’s Redeem brand of renewable natural gas (RNG), rated up to 90% cleaner than diesel. BBB began using Redeem by Clean Energy in January 2015. (Earlier post.)
BBB, one of the first transit agencies in the nation to contract for Redeem, will also become one of the first agencies to incorporate the new Cummins-Westport 8.9L ISL G Near-Zero 0.02 NOx engine, the first mid-range engine in North America to receive emission certifications from both US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Air Resources Board (ARB) in California that meet the 0.02 g/bhp-hr optional Near Zero NOx Emissions standards. (Earlier post.) ARB has defined this certified Near Zero NOx emission level as equivalent to a 100% battery truck using electricity from a modern combined cycle natural gas power plant.
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.
PSA Group outlines powertrain production strategy: gasoline PHEVs, EVs and next-gen diesel and gasoline engines
May 25, 2016
As part of the energy transition process and in line with the technological offensive spelled out in its Push to Pass strategic plan (earlier post), PSA Group will focus on diversifying its offerings with plug-in hybrid gasoline systems and next-generation electric powertrains. The latter will be used in particular to equip e-CMP, its future electric platform developed in partnership with Dongfeng Motors. (Earlier post.) At the same time, the Group will continue to develop next-generation internal combustion engines, both gasoline and diesel.
For strategic reasons, PSA Group will manufacture the main electric powertrain components in France, signalling its determination to develop high-tech operations in profitable niche markets. The electric powertrain will be produced at the Trémery/Metz centre of excellence, while the gear systems will be manufactured at the Valenciennes plant.
Geely raises $400M via Green Bonds sale to develop and produce TX5 range-extended electric London taxis
May 22, 2016
China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (ZGH) has raised $400 million through the first Green Bond sale on the offshore market from a Chinese automobile company to support the design, development and production of range-extended electric vehicles by its UK subsidiary, the LondonTaxi Company (LTC), manufacturer of the iconic London Black Cab. The plug-in hybrid TX5 London Cab will be launched in the UK at the end of 2017 and in international markets in 2018.
ZGH is investing £300 million (US$435 million) in LTC’s new research and production facility in Ansty in the West Midlands region of the UK to develop the next-generation TX5. The new model was unveiled last October in London in the presence of the Chinese President Xi Jinping during his state visit to the UK. In addition to a new light-weight aluminium body structure and composite paneling, the TX5 benefits from a range-extended battery-electric vehicle system.
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.
Volvo Cars unveils CMA-based 40 series concepts; battery-electric and PHEV versions; first production in 2017
May 18, 2016
Volvo Cars unveiled two new 40 series concept cars, marking the official launch of its global small car strategy. The first new 40 series car is expected to go into production in 2017.
The new concept cars will be the first built around Volvo’s new Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) (earlier post), which has been specially created for smaller cars. Volvo’s new global small car range will include a pure battery electric vehicle as well as Twin Engine plug-in hybrid powertrain variants, in line with the company’s commitment to the electrification of its entire portfolio. Volvo plans to have sold a total of up to 1 million electrified cars by 2025 globally. (Earlier post.)
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.
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.
Mitsubishi Motors admits to improper fuel consumption testing in 9 additional models
May 11, 2016
In April, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) admitted to manipulating fuel consumption testing data for some 625,000 mini-cars representing four models it manufactured for sale in Japan by itself and partner Nissan. (Earlier post.)
MMC now says that its internal hearings into the cheating suggest that the method used to cheat—the improper calculation of running resistance—was also applied in nine other models currently sold in Japan, as well as in other models no longer sold in Japan. The use of the calculations is also suspected on the RVR and some other models, and investigations into the background and details are ongoing and will be announced separately.
Toyota R&D continues work on free piston linear generators for EVs; novel resonant pendulum control method
May 06, 2016
In 2014, a team at Toyota Central R&D Labs Inc. published two SAE papers on their work in developing a prototype 10 kW Free Piston Engine Linear Generator (FPEG) for B/C segment electric vehicles. (Earlier post.) The FPEG consists of a two-stroke combustion system, a linear generator, and a gas spring chamber; the unit offers potential for compact build, high efficiency and high fuel flexibility.
Now, the Toyota researchers report on a new FPEG control method to realize stable and flexible piston motion control for efficient electric power generation. They presented their work in a paper at the recent 2016 SAE World Congress.
UPS updates 125 Workhorse E-GEN series hybrid electric step vans with smaller genset engine for better fuel economy
May 03, 2016
UPS announced an update to 125 Workhorse E-GEN series hybrid electric delivery trucks that improve fuel economy as part of the company’s broader Rolling Laboratory approach.
A compact, quiet-running 650cc 2-cylinder engine replaces the previous 2.4L 4-cylinder engine; charging capability remains the same, as does the electric range. The smaller engine will improve fuel economy, however. The updated trucks, which were originally purchased in September 2015, deliver up to four times the fuel economy of a gasoline-powered vehicle, UPS said. The trucks will be deployed in Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Nevada, Ohio and Texas later this year.
2017 Ford F-150 to offer 2nd-gen 3.5L EcoBoost with dual direct and port fuel injection; 10-speed automatic
The 2017 Ford F-150 will offer an all-new, second-generation 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine and 10-speed transmission. The new 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine will provide 30 lb-ft more peak torque compared with the first-generation 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine, up to a best-in-class 450 lb-ft (610 N·m) for a V6. F-150 remains the only truck in its segment to offer a twin-turbo V6 gasoline engine.
The all-new Ford-built transmission—the first volume-production 10-speed automatic transmission available to consumers from any automaker—will deliver improved acceleration and performance compared with previous six-speed automatic transmissions. More than 20 patents are approved or pending for the new powertrain combination.
U Mich study explores performance of renewable diesel, FT diesel and ULSD in PCCI combustion
A team at the University of Michigan has investigated the performance of three different fuels—ultralow sulfur diesel (ULSD), diesel fuel produced via a low temperature Fischer–Tropsch process (LTFT), and a renewable diesel (RD), which is a hydrotreated camelina oil under partially premixed compression ignition (PCCI) combustion. Their paper is published in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels.
Partially premixed compression ignition (PCCI) combustion is an advanced, low-temperature combustion mode that creates a partially premixed charge inside the cylinder before ignition occurs. PCCI prolongs the time period for mixing of the fuel–air mixture by separating the end of injection and start of combustion. As a result, NOx and particulate matter (PM) emissions can be reduced simultaneously relative to those of conventional diesel combustion.
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.
Roland Berger study outlines integrated vehicle and fuels roadmap for further abating transport GHG emissions 2030+ at lowest societal cost
April 30, 2016
A new study by consultancy Roland Berger defines an integrated roadmap for European road transport decarbonization to 2030 and beyond; the current regulatory framework for vehicle emissions, carbon intensity of fuels and use of renewable fuels covers only up to 2020/2021.
The study was commissioned by a coalition of fuel suppliers and automotive companies with a view to identifying a roadmap to 2030+ to identify GHG abatement options at the lowest cost to society. The coalition comprises BMW, Daimler, Honda, NEOT/St1, Neste, OMV, Shell, Toyota and Volkswagen. Among the key findings of the study were:
Qoros and FreeValve partner on camless technology; new Qoros concept uses FreeValve PHEA
April 29, 2016
At Auto China in Beijing, Qoros Auto unveiled a concept car showcasing a new Qoros “Qamfree” engine featuring FreeValve’s Pneumatic-Hydraulic-Electric-Actuator (PHEA) technology. FreeValve and Qoros also announced a partnership for the continued development of the camless technology. FreeValve AB is a sister company to Koenigsegg Automotive.
FreeValve’s PHEA technology replaces the conventional camshaft and associated hardware, and allows the engine management system to have full control over each valve. Where camshaft technology has been limited to the relationship between the valves and the camshaft position, FreeValve’s fully variable valve actuation allows independent control over every valve’s precise opening/closing position and timing throughout the whole combustion cycle.
VW introduces new, more efficient TSI engine generation; Miller cycle with higher compression and electric VTG turbo
April 28, 2016
Volkswagen is presenting the latest generation of the EA211 TSI evo at the 37th International Vienna Motor Symposium. The first model in this future generation of spark ignition engines is the 1.5-liter TSI. The fuel-efficient and high-torque gasoline-fueled TSI engine is set to launch in late 2016, initially with outputs of 96 kW and 110 kW.
The main technology elements of the new EA211 TSI evo result in efficiency benefits of up to 10% compared with the previous 1.4l TSI (92 kW). The improvements in fuel economy take effect across a wide range of the engine map—i.e, they do not merely apply under test bench conditions but also impact everyday driving. Among the key new/revised technologies are:
Tula Technology reports up to 18% fuel economy gain in GM 6.2L V8 using Dynamic Skip Fire technology; emissions benefits too
April 25, 2016
In a paper presented at the 2016 SAE World Congress, Tula Technology, developer of Dynamic Skip Fire (DSF) cylinder deactivation technology, reported significant fuel economy gains of up to 18% over a conventional GM 6.2-liter V8 by operating using Dynamic Skip Fire. DSF—a software-enabled powertrain technology that integrates advanced digital signal processing with advanced powertrain controls—reduces the pumping losses while improving the combustion stability in spark ignition engines.
GM has been working closely with Tula Technology; in 2012, GM Ventures made an equity investment in Tula. (Earlier post.) In 2015, Delphi also took a stake in the Silicon Valley-based company. (Earlier post.)
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.
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.
NASA awards Aerojet Rocketdyne $67M to develop advanced solar electric propulsion system for space
April 20, 2016
NASA has awarded Aerojet Rocketdyne a $67-million contract to design and develop an Advanced Electric Propulsion System (AEPS) for spaceflight. Work performed under the contract could potentially increase spaceflight transportation fuel efficiency by 10 times over current chemical propulsion technology and more than double thrust capability compared to current electric propulsion systems.
Such a system could significantly advance the nation’s commercial space capabilities, and enable deep space exploration missions, including the robotic portion of NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) and its Journey to Mars, NASA said.
Continental introducing innovative annular catalytic converter for near-complete NOx reduction to meet RDE and SULEV 30 standards
April 19, 2016
Continental will present an innovative close-coupled annular catalytic converter that supports near-complete NOx conversion in downsized turbocharged gasoline engines at the 37th Vienna Motor Symposium next week.
The introduction of Real Driving Emissions (RDE) legislation will require vehicles with this widely used engine concept to meet strict NOx limits in all driving situations. This poses a new challenge by demanding efficient NOx reduction across a very broad spectrum of engine operating conditions, and not “just” in the current test cycles.
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).
ARPA-E issues $30M NEXTCAR program funding opportunity; 20% reduction in energy consumption beyond current regulatory requirements
April 12, 2016
The Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) has issued a $30-million funding opportunity (DE-FOA-0001564) for the Next-Generation Energy Technologies for Connected and Automated On-Road Vehicles (NEXTCAR) program. (Earlier post.)
NEXTCAR seeks to fund the development of new and emerging vehicle dynamic and powertrain (VD&PT) control technologies that can reduce the energy consumption of future vehicles—light-, medium- and heavy-duty—through the use of connectivity and vehicle automation. The new program is seeking transformative technological solutions that will enable at least an additional 20% reduction in the energy consumption of future connected and automated vehicles (CAVs), compared to vehicles without these VD&PT control technologies. I.e., the NEXTCAR improvements are in addition to and beyond any currently expected future vehicle fleet fuel efficiency improvements that will be required or driven by Federal or State regulations.
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.
CMU team identifies IVOCs emissions from on-road gasoline vehicles and small off-road engines as important SOA precursors
April 10, 2016
A team from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) has characterized the intermediate volatility organic compound (IVOC) emissions from on-road gasoline vehicles (LDGVs) and small off-road gasoline engines (SOREs). Although IVOC emissions only correspond to approximately 4% of NMHC emissions from on-road vehicles over the cold-start unified cycle, they are estimated to produce as much or more secondary organic aerosols (SOA) than single-ring aromatics. SOAs are an important component of atmospheric particulate matter.
The researchers said their results clearly demonstrate that IVOCs from gasoline engines are an important class of SOA precursors. Their paper, published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, provide observational constraints on IVOC emission factors and chemical composition to facilitate their inclusion into atmospheric chemistry models.
Argonne VERIFI team improves code to enable up to 10K simultaneous engine simulations; paradigm shift in engine design
April 09, 2016
A team of scientists and engineers with the Virtual Engine Research Institute and Fuels Initiative (VERIFI) (earlier post) at the US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory recently completed development of engineering simulation code and workflows that will allow as many as 10,000 engine simulations to be conducted simultaneously on Argonne’s supercomputer, Mira.
These simulations are typical “engineering-type” smaller scale simulations, which are used routinely for engine design within industry. This massive simulation capacity has opened up a new capability for industrial partners seeking new advanced engine designs.
FEV showcasing 48V technology at 2016 SAE World Congress
April 08, 2016
FEV will showcase some of its 48-Volt technology capabilities at the 2016 SAE World Congress next week in Detroit. FEV says it believes that 48V technology will be the next evolution in in-vehicle power.
The proliferation of components and systems that require electrical power in today’s vehicle are pushing the standard 12-Volt battery to its limits. Under idle conditions and especially under low-temperature conditions, current 12V electrical systems can account for the entire power output of a conventional alternator, FEV notes.
Audi refreshes A3 with new engines, driver assistance systems, virtual cockpit
April 06, 2016
Audi is refreshing the A3 with new engines—including the A3’s first 3-cylinder unit and a new 2.0L TFSI—new driver assistance systems and the Audi virtual cockpit. The new A3 is available in a three-door version and as a Sportback, a sedan and a Cabriolet.
The engine lineup for the new Audi A3 comprises six engines (three gasoline and three diesel units). Power output ranges from 81 kW (110 hp) to 140 kW (190 hp). All A3 models fulfill the EU6 standard. With the 1.0 TFSI, Audi is offering a three-cylinder model in the Audi A3 series for the first time.
EIA: trends in downsized engine design leading to increased demand for higher-octane gasoline
Since 2013, the share of premium gasoline in total motor gasoline sales in the US has steadily increased to 11.3% in August and September 2015—the highest share in more than a decade, according to data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).
This trend of increasing demand for higher octane gasoline is likely driven by changes in fuel requirements for light-duty vehicles (LDV) in response to increasing fuel economy standards, which will have widespread implications for future gasoline markets, according to EIA analysts.
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:
New Renesas 32-Bit MCUs for improved fuel efficiency in vehicle powertrain control applications
Renesas Electronics Corporation announced the 32-bit RH850/E1M-S2 microcontrollers (MCUs) for automotive powertrain control applications. The new MCUs provide high performance and advanced functionality to enable improved fuel efficiency. The RH850/E1M-S2 MCUs include four product versions, including the high-end R7F701216EABA (BGA304, 320MHz).
To help meet increasingly stringent fuel efficiency and CO2targets, engine control systems must optimize the ignition and fuel injection timing to match a variety of conditions, such as current combustion and driving status. Transmission control systems, for their part, must instantly select the optimal gear ratio to match the driving conditions, which change moment by moment, in order to minimize power loss in the transmission.
BASF 2016 science competition seeks synthetic lubricant solutions for future high-efficiency vehicles
March 31, 2016
BASF has kicked off its second annual North American Science Competition. This year’s competition focuses on chemistries that can be used to develop a synthetic fluid to meet the needs of future high-performance, high-efficiency engines and transmissions.
With more advanced machinery, lubricating and functional fluids represent a steadily growing industry projected to reach $11 billion by 2020. Synthetic fluids, which are more expensive than petroleum-derived materials, address increasing market demands for higher quality and purity, increased performance and more stringent environmental standards. By developing high performing synthetic fluids with better thermal stability, BASF aims to extend the life cycle of these materials, reduce waste and support the development of more fuel-efficient vehicles.
New Federal-Mogul Powertrain piston skirt coatings increase durability for the life of pistons
March 30, 2016
Federal-Mogul Powertrain has introduced two innovative piston skirt coatings: EcoTough-New Generation (for gasoline engines) and EcoTough-D (for diesel engines). Building on the proven performance of previous EcoTough coatings, the new formulations further reduce engine friction, wear and noise while dealing with the increasingly challenging loads and temperatures that exist in the latest downsized, turbocharged engines.
Gasoline and diesel engines require alternative solutions because of important differences in their relative combustion loads, piston geometry and the lubricity of their respective fuels. Federal-Mogul Powertrain has accommodated these differences by formulating specific coatings, each optimized for either gasoline or diesel application.
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.
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.
ORCnext project concludes waste heat recovery efficiency can be boosted by 20-25%
March 18, 2016
The four-year projet ORCNext, aimed at developing knowledge and design tools for next generation of Organic Rankine Cycles (ORCs), has concluded that waste heat recovery efficiency can be increased by 20 to 25% through appropriate cycle selection, efficient expanders, appropriate control and less oversizing of the heat exchangers.
The project, funded by the government agency IWT, ran from February 2012 to January 2016 and was a partnership between Ghent University, University of Antwerp, University of Liège and Atlas Copco.
MIT Energy Initiative report on transforming the US transportation system by 2050 to address climate challenges
March 16, 2016
A new MIT Energy Initiative report spearheaded by John Heywood, Sun Jae Professor of Mechanical Engineering Emeritus at MIT, identifies three important paths forward reducing light-duty vehicle energy use and greenhouse gas emissions: improve the existing system and technologies for shorter-term benefits; conserve fuel by changing driver habits for nearer- to longer-term benefits; and transform the transportation system into one that is radically less carbon-intensive for longer-term benefits.
According to the report, “On the Road Toward 2050: Potential for Substantial Reductions in Light-Duty Vehicle Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions,” each element is separately important, but must collectively be pursued aggressively to achieve necessary emissions reductions. More research, development, and demonstration studies are needed to lay the foundation for such a long-term transformation.
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:
Argonne and Marathon partner in DOE Optima initiative to co-optimize fuels and engines
March 10, 2016
The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory is partnering with Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC) to support an ongoing effort by DOE to explore fuels and engines holistically in search of greater efficiency.
The collaboration between Argonne and MPC is designed to support the “Co-Optimization of Fuels and Engines” initiative, which was recently launched jointly by the DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Office and Bioenergy Technologies Office. (Earlier post.) The new collaboration leverages MPC’s and Argonne’s complementary capabilities in fuel design, analysis and production, as well as advanced engine combustion and emissions formation.
Cal Energy awards GTI $1M grant to demo production-intent version of CWI 6.7L medium-duty natural gas engine with HD-OBD
The California Energy Commission awarded the Gas Technology Institute (GTI) a $1-million grant to demonstrate a production-intent advanced version of the Cummins Westport Inc. (CWI) ISB6.7 G natural gas engine. The advanced version engine meets the 2018 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Heavy-Duty On-Board Diagnostics (HD-OBD) requirements and will continue to meet California Air Resources Board’s (CARB’s) Optional Low NOx 0.1 g/bhp-hr emissions level.
This project lays the foundation for follow-on work to further reduce the NOx emissions from the current 0.1 g/bhp-hr level by 90% to 0.02 g/bhp-hr, the lowest of the CARB Optional Low NOx standards.
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.
EPA and NHTSA seeking comments on new data for Phase 2 Heavy-Duty National Program to reduce GHG
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have issued a Notice of Data Availability (NODA) related to the Phase 2 Heavy-Duty National Program proposed in July 2015 (earlier post) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption for new on-road heavy-duty vehicles and engines.
This NODA provides an opportunity to comment on the new information being made available by the EPA and by NHTSA, including memoranda and data, which been placed in the public dockets. Data relating to the potential stringency of the proposed standards includes:
Rice study finds using natural gas for electricity and heating, not transportation, more effective in reducing GHGs
Rice University researchers have determined a more effective way to use natural gas to reduce climate-warming emissions would be in the replacement of existing coal-fired power plants and fuel-oil furnaces rather than burning it in cars and buses.
The Rice study by environmental engineer Daniel Cohan and alumnus Shayak Sengupta compared the net greenhouse gas-emission savings that could be realized by replacing other fuels in vehicles, furnaces and power plants. They found that gas-fired power plants achieved the greatest reduction—more than 50%—in net emissions when replacing old coal-fired power plants. The use of compressed natural gas in vehicles yielded the least benefit, essentially matching the emissions of modern gasoline or diesel engines.
2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivan EPA-rated at 28 mpg highway, 22 mpg combined; stop/start and PHEV still to come
March 08, 2016
The gasoline-powered version of the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivan has earned a highway-cycle fuel-economy rating of 28 mpg US (8.4 l/100km) from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—a benchmark unsurpassed by any minivan on the US market and 12% better than the vehicle Pacifica replaces.
The Chrysler brand’s all-new minivan also has a calculated lifecycle Global Warming Potential (GWP) 9% less than the outgoing vehicle. GWP considers the environmental impact of fuel production and delivery, along with the implications of its consumption. FCA US LLC engineers used industry-standard software to calculate and compare the all-new Pacifica’s GWP with that of the outgoing vehicle over 124,274 miles (200,000 km) of operation.
Cal Energy and NREL holding public workshop on Natural Gas Vehicle Research Roadmap
The California Energy Commission and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory are holding a workshop to solicit public feedback on the 2015 draft Natural Gas Vehicle Research Roadmap. The 2015 report updates the 2009 Natural Gas Vehicle Research Roadmap and provides the framework and foundation for future investments in research, development, demonstration, and deployment.
The report includes research recommendations on 1) range and storage; 2) engine performance and availability; 3) vehicle emission and environmental performance; and 4) analysis and information sharing. Low natural gas prices, increased supplies, and a changing regulatory landscape have impacted the natural gas vehicle market. These changes have also impacted traditionally fueled vehicles, changing the overall vehicle technology market.
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.
2016 Mazda CX-9 shows 32% improvement in EPA-estimated fuel economy over predecessor; SKYACTIV-G 2.5 turbo
March 02, 2016
Mazda North American Operations released EPA-estimated fuel economy figures for its all-new 2016 Mazda CX-9. Certified at an EPA-estimated 22 mpg city/28 mpg highway/25 mpg combined, when equipped with front-wheel drive, the 2016 CX-9 achieves best-in-class (MY 2016 midsize, three-row, non-hybrid crossover SUVs for sale in the US) city and combined fuel economy ratings and class-leading highway fuel economy.
The second-generation CX-9’s efficiency reflect a 32% improvement compared to its predecessor. (In Canada, NR Canada estimates of fuel consumption put the improvement at 35%.)
DOE launching $80M Supertruck II initiative; ≥ 55% BTE; awards $12M for 3 medium- and heavy-duty plug-in projects
The US Department of Energy (DOE) is launching SuperTruck II, an $80-million funding opportunity (DE-FOA-0001447), subject to congressional appropriations, for research, development and demonstration of long-haul tractor-trailer truck technology.
The project 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. Two teams have already exceeded this goal and two are on track to meet it.
China R&D company introduces micro-turbine range extender technology at Geneva
March 01, 2016
Techrules, a new China-based automotive R&D company, made its global debut at the 2016 Geneva International Motor Show with the unveiling of a Turbine-Recharging Electric Vehicle (TREV) series hybrid system applied in a 6-motor, all-wheel drive supercar concept.
TREV is a range extender system that uses a micro-turbine (fueled either by liquid or gaseous fuels) to generate electricity that charges a battery pack. The battery powers the motors that drive the wheels. In 2010, Jaguar introduced a similar concept, the C-X75 extended range electric vehicle that used twin gas micro-turbines from Bladon Jets to power two switched reluctance generators from SR Drives. (Earlier post.)
Dearman: zero-emission transport refrigeration systems could have a major impact on air quality
February 26, 2016
New analysis by Dearman suggests that zero-emission transport refrigeration systems could cut overall engine pollution from refrigerated vehicles by up to 93% and have a major impact on air quality. One application of Dearman’s engine technology is to provide high efficiency, zero-emission transport refrigeration units (TRUs). (Earlier post.)
The findings of Dearman’s research indicate that equipping a Euro6-standard 17-tonne rigid body truck with a zero-emission refrigeration system, as opposed to a diesel-powered unit, would cut the vehicle’s overall engine emissions of particulate matter by 93%, and reduce NOx emissions by 73%.
Pierburg GmbH electric compressor for turbos
February 24, 2016
Pierburg GmbH, part of the KSPG Group, has developed an electric compressor for spontaneously boosting the charge pressure of engines fitted with an exhaust-gas turbocharger. This component allows pressure to be increased regardless of the exhaust-gas energy availability.
The compressor is compatible with both gasoline and diesel engines. Initial prototypes are now being tested by various customers. The electric compressor fits in well and without any constraints with the proven strategy of downsizing, the company said.
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.
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.)