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Progress on ATLAS: Cummins’ Tier 2 Bin 2 light duty diesel project

The ATLAS project is targeting 210 hp and 500 N·m in its fuel-efficient package. Click to enlarge.

Cummins is one year into a four year program (ATLAS, Advanced Technology Light Automotive Systems) to develop, in partnership with the US Department of Energy (DOE), a new light-duty diesel truck engine that will meet Tier 2 Bin 2 (SULEV) emission requirements while achieving at least a 40% fuel economy improvement (26.1 mpg US vs. 18.6 mpg US, or 9.0 L/100km vs. 12.6 L/100km) over the gasoline V8 it could replace.

Cummins is partnering with Nissan to fit the engine into a Nissan Titan for the demonstration of the program goals. Cummins is also partnering with Johnson Matthey Catalysts for emission controls technology in the planned aftertreatment system.

Michael Ruth, Principal Investigator for the project at Cummins, provided an update on progress at the recent 2011 DEER conference.

The baseline vehicle for comparison is a 2010 Nissan Titan, outfitted with a 5.6L all aluminum V-8 that develops 317 hp (236 kW) @ 5,200 rpm and 385 lb-ft (521 N·m) of torque @ 3,400 rpm. The baseline vehicle has a Tier 2 Bin 5 emissions rating. The ATLAS target is 210 hp (157 kW) and 500 N·m (369 lb-ft), along with the lower fuel consumption and emissions.

The design vision is to develop an engine package that will include close-coupled aftertreatment and doser for fast light off and reduced burden on OEM assembly stations; is weight-neutral to baseline gasoline powertrain; and is down-sized with high power density and minimized NVH (noise, vibration and harshness).

The new diesel engine, based on a Cummins 2.8L, inline 4-cylinder turbodiesel, is intended to be a highly integrated design to reduce the cost of installation into new applications.

Click to enlarge.

The engine will leverage low-pressure EGR to reduce pumping work, and feature a fabricated exhaust manifold (rather than using cast iron). The DOC/DPF aftertreatment is assembled onto engine.

The team has completed the build of a mule engine and vehicle, with first fire in April of this year. The mule engine is currently serving as a platform for evaluating low viscosity engine oil and testing the variable swirl system. The generation 3 fuel injection system has been applied, and Cummins has designed and procured the high pressure/low pressure EGR system. Testing started 15 September.

For current accomplishments, Ruth cited elements of base engine design, including the analysis of crankshaft design including low viscosity oil properties and the power cylinder designed for short compression height and high cylinder pressure requirements. The control system logic is coupled to GT simulation, and the aftertreatment modeling is progressing. An integrated vehicle system model is under development.



Stan Peterson

This is the first public attempt to contruct a T2B2 compliant diesel, of which I am aware.

There have been manny a successful endeavor to manufacture T2B2 complaint Otto ICE engines, that are running on the roads of America.

It will be wonderful when all Otto and Diesel engines produce nothing but totally clean, pure, Air, which is the meaning of T2B2, but while also cleansing the ambient Air to this pure Air status as they run.


Well, then you have to catch up a little bit and start reading some of the literature published during the last couple of years. For example, a breakthrough was reported more than 4 years ago on this site by Ricardo when they demonstrated that they could meet T2B2 (you even commented on that article!). Perhaps even more important, T2B5 could be met without any NOx aftertreatment. With further development, I would not be surprised if T2B2 also could be met without NOx aftertreatment within a couple of years. This would be a solution where NOx reduction is not prone to deterioration via catalyst ageing, as it is for any other emission technology today.

Outlook: If also the oxidation catalyst and DPF regeneration function could be handled without the use of noble metals, we could finally have a sustainable solution for emission control. However, I would not expect that the mentioned steps could be achieved in the foreseeable future.


Stan Peterson

Peter XX,

The thrust of my response was that progress in developing relatively inexpensive T2B2 compliant diesels, the first genuine CLEAN DIESELS, was in its infancy or lab curiosity stage. While such is NOT the case any longer, with OTTO cycle ICEs. Millions of PZEVs are on the road owned by civilians and not in controlled test fleets daily meeting PZEVs standards. Fully 25% of the California auto fleet complies to proposed T2B2 standards BEFORE they become standards.

Compliance at any price is one thing, compliance at a price point is something completely different.

With a technological Tour de Force, reinforced by almost unlimited Cold War spending, we could and did send men to the Moon. Practical and economical travel to there will come; but likely 50 or 60 years or more after the first successes.

Of all the work I have seen the most superficially unappealing was the complications of dual fuel usage. I beleive that good engineering is elegant and simple engineering.

Until I understood that diesel fuel and CI, was being used as an Octane booster and efficiency inhancer to the predominate OTTO cycle engine that required very little change. Partial CPPI/HCCI operation was being utilized to provide Diesel cycle efficiency and Otto cycle cleanliness and lightness to a compound engine cycle. It may come ot pass that we need not seek inexpensive cleanup solutions if we "merely" alter the combustion cycle itself.

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