[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.]
Project developing electrically conductive lubricants to protect electric motors from discharges in the bearings
June 12, 2014
A joint research project, funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research, is investigating the development of ionic-fluid-enhanced electrically conductive lubricants to protect electric motors from the surface damage that can result from electrical discharges in the bearings (electrical discharge machining, or EDM). The initiative was launched to prepare for future vehicles which will require higher voltages than current models.
At present, 12 volts provide all conventional automotive electric systems—from lights and radios to air conditioners—with sufficient power. Within the next few years, the figure may rise to 48 volts to support a growing number of functions. The voltage levels of electric and hybrid vehicles are even higher: these vehicles can require as much as 400 volts. Higher voltage levels result in stronger alternating electric fields in alternators and electric motors, explained Dr. Gerd Dornhöfer, a Bosch scientist taking part in the “SchmiRmaL” project (Switchable intelligent tribological systems with minimal friction losses and maximum lifespan).
DOE awards $17M to FY 2014 SBIR Phase II projects; includes Si/graphene anodes, motor windings, exhaust treatments
March 31, 2014
The US DOE recently awarded $17 million to 17 FY 2014 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II projects to further develop Phase I projects and to produce a prototype or equivalent within two years. The selected 17 awards represent the best of nearly 1,000 ideas submitted for the FY 2012/13 Broad Based Topic Solicitation, DOE said.
The selected projects include 6 vehicle-related technologies and 2 hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, as well as new hydropower, heat pump, solar and manufacturing technologies. Vehicle technologies span a range from new Si/graphene Li-ion anode materials and composites for motor windings to diesel aftertreatment and advanced lubricants. Selected vehicle and hydrogen technology projects are:
Study finds lubricating oil the dominant source of primary organic aerosol from both diesel and gasoline vehicles
March 20, 2014
|Comparison plot showing mass fractions (Fm) of chemically characterized components of lubricating oils and POA. Credit: ACS, Worton et al. Click to enlarge.|
Findings from a study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley and Berkeley National Laboratory suggest that lubricating oil is the dominant source of primary organic aerosol (POA) from both gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles. Unburned diesel fuel makes an additional smaller contribution, with an additional smaller contribution from unburned gasoline. A paper on the work is published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.
Motor vehicles are major sources of organic carbon emissions, with implications for human health and air quality, especially in urban areas. The emitted organic carbon is in the form of both primary particulate matter (PM) and gas phase organic compounds of a wide range of volatilities that can be oxidized in the atmosphere to form secondary organic aerosol (SOA). (Earlier post.) The majority of fine PM from vehicles is carbonaceous in the form of either black (BC) or organic carbon, the latter of which is directly emitted as primary organic aerosol (POA).
Shell producing base oil from natural gas for motor oils
March 08, 2014
Shell announced the production of the first clear base oil—the main component of motor oils—made from natural gas using its gas-to-liquids (GTL) PurePlus Technology. Shell PurePlus Technology is now being used to create motor oils for motorists in the United States. Pennzoil Platinum and Pennzoil Ultra Platinum Full Synthetic motor oils are the only ones blended exclusively with these GTL base oils.
Shell PurePlus Technology base oil is manufactured at the Pearl GTL facility in Ras Laffan in Qatar, a partnership between Qatar Petroleum and Shell. Shell PurePlus base oil is clear due to having fewer of the impurities found in crude oil. The Shell GTL and the Shell PurePlus base oil manufacturing processes have been the subject of multiple patents.
Nissan 1.5L, 3-cylinder 400 hp engine to complement electric Le Mans ZEOD RC powerplant
January 27, 2014
|The 400 hp DIG-T R race engine. Click to enlarge.|
Nissan unveiled a 400 hp (298 kW) 1.5-liter, three-cylinder turbo gasoline engine weighing only 40 kg (88 lbs) as the companion internal combustion engine for its electric ZEOD RC which will debut at Le Mans this year. (Earlier post.) At the unveiling of the ZEOD RC in June 2013, Nissan said that it would test out variants of new electric drive train technologies as part of its intended future return to LM P1 competition.
The Nissan ZEOD RC will become the first entry at Le Mans to complete a lap of the Circuit de la Sarthe under nothing but electric power in June. A single lap of each stint (a fuel stint lasts approximately one hour) will be electric powered, then the new Nissan DIG-T R 1.5-liter three-cylinder turbo engine will take over.
DOE to award $49.4M for advanced vehicle technologies research; meeting Tier 3 emissions
January 22, 2014
The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award $49.4 million to projects to to accelerate research and development of new vehicle technologies. The new program-wide funding opportunity (DE-FOA-0000991) (earlier post), was announced by Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz at the Washington Auto Show.
The funding opportunity will contains a total of 13 areas of interest in the general areas of advanced light-weighting; advanced battery development; power electronics; advanced heating, ventilation, air conditioning systems; advanced powertrains (including the ability to meet proposed EPA Tier 3 tailpipe emissions standards); and fuels and lubricants. These areas of interest apply to light, medium and heavy duty on-road vehicles.
DOE issues $10M incubator FOA for batteries, power electronics, engines, materials, fuels and lubricants
January 18, 2014
The US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE’s) Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) issued an Incubator Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOAs) for a total of approximately $10 million. (DE-FOA-0000988)
EERE is focused on achieving well‐defined mid‐to‐long term clean energy goals for the US, and in that context has established multi‐year plans and roadmaps, with a concomitant focus of the majority of its resources on a limited number of “highest probability of success” pathways/approaches to ensure that the program initiatives are supported at a critical mass (both in terms of dollars and time) for maximum impact. While this roadmap‐based approach can be a strength, it can also create challenges in recognizing and exploring unanticipated, game changing pathways/approaches which may ultimately be superior to the pathways/approaches on the existing roadmaps.
Oak Ridge-GM prototype low-viscosity ionic liquid-additized engine oil delivers 2% fuel economy improvement over 5W-30
December 30, 2013
A team from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and General Motors, led by ORNL researcher Dr. Jun Qu, has developed a new group of ionic liquids as lubricant additives that could help improve the energy efficiency of cars and trucks. Prototype low-viscosity ionic liquid-additized engine oil demonstrated a 2% improved fuel economy compared to Mobil 1 5W-30 engine oil (3.93% over the 20W-30 baseline oil) in standard fuel efficiency engine dynamometer tests. The prototype oil also successfully passed a 100-hour high-temperature, high-load engine dynamometer test.
Friction is the cause of the loss of ~10-15% of the energy in an internal combustion engine; for the transportation sector, parasitic friction (primarily induced by elastohydrodynamic drag between the piston rings and cylinder liners, which is proportional to the lubricant viscosity) consumes approximately 400 million barrels of oil annually in the US. Accordingly, the US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Vehicle Technologies Office, which sponsored this research, has set a goal of 2% fuel economy improvement via lubricant advances by 2015.
DOE awards $45M to 38 advanced transportation technology projects; $3M from the Army
September 04, 2013
The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award more than $45 million to 38 new projects that accelerate the research and development of advanced vehicle technologies. Through the Advanced Vehicle Power Technology Alliance between the Energy Department and the Department of the Army, the Army is contributing an additional $3 million in co-funding to support projects focused on lightweighting and propulsion materials, batteries, fuels, and lubricants.
The 38 projects span five major areas: advanced lightweighting and propulsion materials; advanced batteries; power electronics; fuels and lubricants; and efficient heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.
Renault/Nissan Alliance introduces Common Module Family (CMF) for new engineering approach
June 20, 2013
|The Common Module Family represents a new approach to engineering for the Renault/Nissan Alliance. Click to enlarge.|
The Renault/Nissan Alliance announced its Common Module Family (CMF) engineering architecture. CMF is not a platform; it can involve several platforms. A platform is a horizontal segmentation; a CMF is a cross-sector concept.
CMF covers Renault/Nissan Alliance vehicles, from one or more segments, based on the assembly of compatible Big Modules: engine bay, cockpit, front underbody, rear underbody and electrical/electronic architecture. CMF will be deployed across 5 continents in more than 10 countries through 2020. The first deployment of CMF, for the compact and large car segments, will cover 1.6 million vehicles per year and 14 models (11 Renault group + 3 Nissan).