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DOE to Provide up to $21.5 million for Research to Improve Vehicle Efficiency

August 7, 2007 - 3:16pm

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BENTON HARBOR, MI - U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Samuel W. Bodman today announced the Department will award a total of up to $21.5 million for eleven cost-shared research and development (R&D) projects that aim to improve the fuel efficiency of light-duty vehicle engines.  These projects, selected for negotiation of awards, will focus on three areas: improving fuel utilization in ethanol-powered engines (engine optimization), developing advanced lubrication systems, and exploring high efficiency, clean combustion engines.  Projects announced today will help advance President Bush's 20-in-10 Initiative, which calls for displacing 20 percent of gasoline usage by 2017 through increased use of clean, renewable fuels, and improved vehicle efficiency.

"We expect this research to make significant strides toward maximizing an engine's performance in a cleaner, more economical manner," Secretary Bodman said.  "Increasing the use of clean, renewable fuels will not only help reduce our reliance on imported oil, but will also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions for a more secure energy future."

Combined with industry investment, the eleven projects will total nearly $43 million to support improvement of engine and combustion systems for the next generation of efficient vehicles.  Improving the engine of an FFV can increase performance and fuel economy, and decrease emissions.  Funding is expected to begin this year (Fiscal Year 2007, $3.1 million) and continue through FY2010 (FY'08 - $8.6 million; FY'09 - $7.4 million; FY'10 - $2.6 million), subject to appropriations from Congress.

Optimization of Engines for Ethanol Use
Seven of the eleven projects selected total up to $15.3 million in DOE funding and will focus specifically on improving flexible-fuel engines and light-duty vehicles that operate on ethanol-gasoline blends up to 85 percent ethanol by volume (E-85).  Research will seek to take advantage of favorable properties of ethanol blends without diminishing gasoline fuel efficiency.  Projects selected for negotiation of awards include:

Delphi Automotive Systems LLC in Troy, Michigan, has been selected for negotiation of an award of up to $2.2 million for a project to demonstrate a vehicle with an E-85 optimized engine, yielding up to 30 percent fuel efficiency improvement.  Wayne State University will partner with Delphi.

Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan, has been selected for negotiation of an award of up to $3.2 million for a project to explore the use of knock-suppression properties of ethanol with increased compression ratios to allow use of smaller, more fuel efficient engines.

General Motors Corporation in Pontiac, Michigan, has been selected for negotiation of an award of up to $1.9 million for a project to develop a cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) combustion prototype, allowing for smaller engines without loss of engine power; this could result in as much as a 15 percent fuel economy improvement.  General Motors will partner with Ricardo Inc. for this effort.

Robert Bosch LLC in Farmington Hills, Michigan, has been selected for negotiation of an award of up to $1.5 million for a project to implement an integrated hardware-software system, yielding gasoline-like fuel economy when operating on E-85.  Robert Bosch will partner with Ricardo and University of Michigan for this effort.

Siemens Government Services, Inc. in Reston, Virginia, has been selected for negotiation of an award of up to $3 million for a project to investigate the potential of a turbocharged, direct-injection engine operating on E-85 to improve combustion and fuel economy as well as lower exhaust emissions.  Siemens will partner with AVL Engineering and Rousch Engineering for this effort.

TIAX LLC in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has been selected for negotiation of an award of up to $1.2 million for a project to develop a novel, high-efficiency engine system for an FFV that not only operates on any blend of ethanol up to E-85, but is projected to exceed the efficiency of a conventional gasoline engine when operated with the highest blends of ethanol (e.g., E85 or higher).  TIAX will partner with Monsanto and John Deere for this effort.

Visteon Corporation in Van Buren Township, Michigan, has been selected for negotiation of an award of up to $2.3 million for a project to achieve gasoline-like fuel economy when using E-85 by minimizing thermal, dynamic, volumetric, and other system efficiency losses.  Visteon will partner with DOE's Argonne National Laboratory, Mahle Powertrain, and Michigan State University for this effort.

Developing Advanced Lubrication Systems
Caterpillar Inc. in Mossville, Illinois, has been selected for negotiation of an award for up to $491,000 to develop an environmentally friendly lubricant additive for enhancing an engine's fuel efficiency.  Caterpillar will partner with DOE's Argonne National Laboratory, NanoMech LLC, and the University of Arkansas for this effort.

Exploring High Efficiency, Clean Combustion Engines
Three projects have been selected for negotiation of awards up to $5.7 million to develop advanced combustion engines for light-duty vehicles.  Selected projects will take advantage of complementary properties among combustion, fuels, and emission control technologies to develop clean, high-efficiency engines.  Projects selected for negotiation of awards include:

Cummins Engine Company in Columbus, Indiana, has been selected for negotiation of an award of up to $2.4 million for a project to improve fuel efficiency of a state-of-the-art light-duty diesel engine by 10.5 percent, while maintaining Tier 2, Bin 5 emission levels.  Cummins will partner with Daimler-Chrysler and BP for this effort.

Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan, has been selected for negotiation of an award of up to $1.3 million for a project to use diesel-boosting technologies to improve efficiency and performance of advanced, low-temperature combustion engines.  Ford will partner with ConceptsNREC, Wayne State University, and FEV Global for this effort.

Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan, has been selected for negotiation of an award of up to $2 million for a project to develop advanced, low-temperature combustion designs for diesel engines using biofuel blends optimized for engine performance.  Michigan State will partner with Ford Motor Company for this effort.

Advancing vehicle technologies is a significant part of DOE's Vehicle Technologies Program, which works on developing vehicle technologies and clean, renewable fuels that could directly advance President Bush's 20-in-10 Initiative by dramatically reducing the demand for petroleum, decrease emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases, and enable the U.S. transportation industry to sustain a strong, competitive position in domestic and world markets.

Media contact(s):

Julie Ruggiero, (202) 586-4940

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