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

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:

  1. Advanced internal combustion engine and powertrain systems. Specific subtopics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • Advanced high efficiency and clean combustion strategies (low temperature combustion, clean diesel)
    • Combustion control and optimization technology
    • Advanced air management system (exhaust gas recirculation, turbocharger, supercharging)
    • High conversion efficiency NOx after-treatment and particulate filters
    • Alternative fuel combustion
    • Engine thermal management
    • Waste heat recovery
    • Engine friction reduction
    • Driveline and transmission efficiency improvements
  2. Overall energy management (system level efficiency improvements). Specific subtopics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • Electrification of engine-driven auxiliaries/accessories
    • Reduction of accessory loads and auxiliary power requirements
    • Predictive engine accessory and driveline controls
    • Wind/weather and GPS-based cruise control and intelligent routing
    • Fleet-level operational efficiency improvements (intelligent scheduling, driver assistance, vehicle-to-vehicle communication, platooning, and other levels of automation)
  3. Hybrid electric powertrains. Specific subtopics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • Drive unit optimization (engine, motors, power electronics)
    • Energy storage systems
    • Regenerative braking
    • Application-specific powertrain hybridization for targeted duty cycles
    • System architecture analysis
    • Dedicated engine for hybrid system
  4. Other key truck technologies. Specific subtopics of interest for heavy- and medium-duty trucks include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • Aerodynamic drag reduction (tractor and trailer)
    • Vehicle weight reduction (frame, driveline, brakes, and suspension)
    • Tire rolling resistance (improved tire compounds, automatic inflation)
  5. Applied research, test, and evaluation. A range of advanced technologies developed under Topic Areas 1-4 will be deployed on a truck to demonstrate improvements in vehicle fuel economy and emissions reduction using one of the following approaches: modifying/utilizing an existing “off-the-shelf” or prototype truck; or building a full prototype truck.

In the 5 topics areas of the FOA, the proposed project will focus on cost-effective measures to improve the on-road freight efficiency of medium- and heavy-duty trucks by greater than 50% (compared to the 2016 baseline truck) to reduce transportation’s fuel use and climate change impacts.

To the extent that advanced technologies will be demonstrated to improve freight efficiency, they will conform to a customer-tailored drive cycle that meets the needs of the particular customer application and the EPA Phase 2 GHG/fuel efficiency regulatory cycles for the appropriate vocation.

Additionally, vehicle freight efficiency improvement must be achieved within the constraint of prevailing federal emission standards and applicable vehicle safety and regulatory requirements. Projects that demonstrate systems-level fuel efficient technologies must be matched with the duty cycle of the specific truck application to deliver the expected fuel savings.

Background. To encourage the rapid development and commercialization of technologies with strong climate change applications, the US DOE, Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and Chinese National Energy Administration (NEA) agreed in November 2009 to establish a US-China Clean Energy Research Center (CERC). (Earlier post.) Over the six years since this agreement, the CERC has successfully conducted joint research and development on clean energy topics by teams of scientists and engineers from the US and China.

Under CERC, 4 pairs of US and Chinese consortia are operating collaboratively on 4 technical tracks:

  • Advanced Coal Technologies with Carbon Capture, Utilization and/or Sequestration
  • Building Energy Efficiency
  • Clean Vehicles
  • Energy and Water

Each track comprises the equivalent of a $50 million bilateral commitment over 5 years, that is, $25 million for the US effort and $25 million for the China effort. In the US, this is broken down per track as $5 million per year, composed of $2.5 million per year in DOE funds, which is matched by another $2.5 million per year in non-Federal cost-share by the non-Federal partners in each consortium.

President Obama and President Xi Jinping announced a renewal and expansion of the CERC in November 2014. (Earlier post.) In September 2015, Obama and Xi announced a fifth CERC track on improving the energy efficiency of medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks.

The current funding opportunity is the US’ effort to operationalize this new track. The US consortium selected under this announcement will be funded by DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Program, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). The principal DOE coordinator of CERC activities within DOE, and internationally with the Chinese, is DOE’s Office of International Affairs (IA). Both IA and EERE will work in collaboration with the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) for the administration of this award.



Excellent goals. Who is going to check if results are attained?

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