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January 2013

New £4.5M project to improve exhaust system efficiences in HDVs

The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) has launched a new £4.5 million project in partnership with Loughborough University and industry leaders, aiming to improve the catalytic conversion efficiencies of exhaust systems in heavy duty vehicles (HDVs).

The project will mark the first collaboration between Loughborough and the ETI, which is based at the University campus.

The ETI commissioned and funded project will be led by Johnson Matthey, who in addition to collaborating with Loughborough, will also work alongside ETI member Caterpillar. The work by the University will be carried out by the School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering.

The project aims to help HDV fuel efficiency by developing a more efficient exhaust emission clean up system – commonly known as a ‘catalytic converter’.  Often diesel engine fuel efficiency is reduced by having to comply with exhaust gas emission limits.  It is hoped that the new exhaust system developed by this project will be so efficient that it will effectively remove this constraint; allowing the HDV diesel engine to be more fuel efficient.  The project aims to deliver fuel efficiency and CO2 benefits of between 3-4%.

Nicky Morgan MP for Loughborough, who attended the launch said: “Developments in heavy duty vehicle energy efficiency technology improvement are essential for the future of the UK’s HDV fleet.  I’m pleased to see that two of the key organisations behind the project are from Loughborough.”

The ETI is a public-private partnership focused on the acceleration of the development of affordable, secure and sustainable technologies that will help the UK meet its long term emission reductions targets.  It is hosted by the universities of Loughborough, Birmingham and Nottingham as part of the Midlands Energy Consortium.

Chris Thorne, Programme Manager, HDV Efficiency at the ETI said: “Energy efficiency is a big challenge facing the UK.  Our modelling work points to efficiency in transport and in the HDV sector as an area that can make a meaningful difference in helping to reduce carbon emissions. However, we have to achieve our CO2 goals whilst meeting the cost, reliability, space and emissions constraints that exist within the HDV market.  To help industry embrace new exhaust systems designs we need to ensure that the efficiencies created come with an affordable price tag – so our work with Loughborough University, Johnson Matthey and Caterpillar will be focused on delivering an economically viable solution.”

Professor Graham Hargrave, who will lead the work being carried out at the University, said: “Loughborough is committed to research into low carbon technologies.  The School has vast experience in automotive research and significant expertise in the development and application of optical diagnostic techniques for the study of flow and combustion processes. Within the project, the University’s research team will develop some unique optical test facilities for the analysis of HDV exhaust after-treatment systems, with the aim of developing world-leading NOx reduction technology.  We are very excited to be involved in this collaborative project, which will have a significant impact to HDV engine efficiency and CO2 emissions.”

This project is part of a £40 million ETI programme focused on increasing HDV efficiencies.  Officially launched last year by Business Secretary, Dr Vince Cable, the programme is aiming to improve systems integration and technology development across the HDV sector (including trucks, buses, agricultural machines, construction equipment, quarry and mining machines, and marine transportation) – with an aim to increase the efficiency of land and marine vehicles by up to 30%.

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