DOE Initiates Six Projects to Boost Vehicle Fuel Efficiency
May 26, 2005
DOE announced on May 26th its agreement with industrial and academic organizations to pursue six projects aimed at significantly improving the fuel efficiency of cars and trucks. DOE is providing $7.35 million in funding to the six partnerships, which have a total value of $14 million. Four of the projects focus on developing advanced combustion engines, including an exhaust gas recirculation control system for diesel engines, a variable valve actuation system for low-temperature combustion in diesel engines, a fast-response actuator system for adjusting the compression ratio in engines, and an engine that operates on a high-compression-ratio, modified Atkinson combustion cycle—an approach used in the Toyota Prius and Ford Escape Hybrid—in which the intake valve is held open longer than normal to allow a reverse flow into the intake manifold.
In addition, International Truck and Engine Corporation will develop idle reduction equipment for trucks that will be available as a factory-ordered option, and Clarity Group, Inc. will conduct field performance evaluations for a wide variety of advanced technology vehicles, and will evaluate the infrastructure needed to support the vehicles. See the DOE press release.
DOE estimates that these technologies could reduce fuel use for all highway vehicles by 10 percent, saving more than one million barrels of oil per day by 2025. The six projects are part of DOE's FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies Program, which aims to improve the efficiency of internal combustion engines for light-duty vehicles (passenger cars, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles) by at least 30 percent by 2010. For heavy-duty vehicles, such as trucks and buses, the program's goal is at least a 40 percent improvement in fuel efficiency by 2013. See the FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies Program Web site.