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Argonne Receives Funding for Two Projects to Improve Fuel Efficiency

Thomas Wallner
Thomas Wallner
Steve McConnell
Steve McConnell

Argonne will receive funding for two of nine projects just announced by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) aimed at improving fuel efficiency in heavy-duty trucks and passenger vehicles.

The Lab will be participating in a heavy-duty truck project as well as a passenger vehicle project that were awarded a combined $51.7 million. Of that amount, Argonne expects to receive more than $6 million for both projects. The two research efforts are described below.

Navistar Project

Argonne will work with Navistar, Inc., to develop technologies to improve the combustion efficiency and waste heat recovery for Class 8, long-haul trucks. Argonne's advanced modeling and simulation capabilities will also be used for the work. Mechanical engineer Thomas Wallner will head Argonne’s participation in the project. Navistar was awarded more than $37.2 million; Argonne expects to receive about $5 million over four years for the project.

According to the DOE announcement, this collaborative effort aims to create a "SuperTruck" by developing and demonstrating “technologies to improve truck and trailer aerodynamics, combustion efficiency, waste heat recovery, hybridization, idle reduction, and reduced rolling resistance tires.”

Chrysler Project

Argonne will also conduct combustion and fuel spray research for Chrysler Group, LLC for an advanced engine. When implemented on a large scale, improved combustion can significantly reduce fuel consumption and thereby reduce emissions. Engine research engineer Steve McConnell will head the combustion and spray project work for Argonne. Chrysler was awarded nearly $14.5 million, of which McConnell said the lab expects to receive $1.4 million for the combustion study this year.

The DOE press release states the overall goal of the work with Chrysler is to “develop a flexible combustion system for their minivan platform based on a downsized, turbocharged engine that uses direct gasoline injection, recirculation of exhaust gases, and flexible intake air control to reduce emissions.”

Nine Total Projects Announced

On Jan. 11, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu made the announcement, which included nine projects totaling more than $187 million to improve fuel efficiency for heavy-duty trucks and passenger vehicles. The funding includes more than $100 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and with a private cost share of 50 percent, will support nearly $375 million in total research, development and demonstration projects across the country.

“Improving the efficiency of our vehicles is critical to reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil and addressing climate change,” said Secretary Chu. “Today’s awards will help demonstrate the potential benefits for long-haul trucks and passenger vehicles and will play an important role in building a more sustainable transportation system for the country.”

January 2010


Thomas Wallner

Steve McConnell

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