Heavy-Duty Fuel Economy Improvement Technology
Office of Automotive Engineering

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image: Technician holding Ceramic-Sand Core Cast

SwRI's hybrid ceramic-sand core casting technology, developed with Grainger and Worrall, Ltd. of the United Kingdom, is an enabling technology for higher engine efficiency.

Related Brochure

image: cover of Engine Development for Reduced Friction Capabilities brochure

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has been developing efficiency improvement and emission reduction pre-competitive technologies for OEMs in an ongoing consortium for more than 20 years. Many of the concepts developed in this program are in production today. The current CHEDE-VI program goal is to achieve 55% engine-system efficiency. New members are welcome at any time.

R&D Magazine selected SwRI's Hybrid Ceramic-Sand Core Casting Technology as one of the 100 most significant technological achievements of 2012. This novel casting technology combines aerospace ceramic and automotive sand core processes to allow for precision casting of extremely small passages in automotive cast iron/steel components. The technology has been used in the design of heavy-duty (HD) diesel cylinder head that can withstand higher peak cylinder pressures than today's state-of-the-art engines. Higher peak cylinder pressures translate into higher engine efficiency.

SwRI is developing an 11-liter Doosan dedicated natural gas engine under contract from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) for a transit bus that produces near zero emissions without sacrificing performance or efficiency compared to 2010 diesel engines. The engine was converted from a lean-burn strategy, requiring an oxidation catalyst and selective catalyst reduction (SCR), to a stoichiometric engine with cooled-exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and a three-way catalyst (TWC), which resulted in improved fuel economy and performance with lower emissions.

SwRI is working with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to evaluate the performance and cost effectiveness of a wide range of fuel-saving technologies that could be available in the 2020–2022 time frame. This project covers all vehicle types from 8,500 pounds GVW and up, including the wide range of vocational trucks. SwRI will be conducting engine and vehicle simulation modeling as part of this project. The public report will be published in 2014.

Drivetrain friction is an area of interest, especially to manufacturers of drivetrain fluids and lubricants. SwRI is assisting in the development of new fluids, fluid additives, and low-friction materials with facilities and test methods developed to measure small differences in driveline friction.

SwRI is a master at quantifying complete HD vehicle fuel economy using SAE and TMC recommended practices. Because of the mild San Antonio climate, field testing can be conducted year round.

Additional Heavy-Duty Fuel Economy Improvement Technology Related Links

Related Terminology

fuel economy  •  engine  •  efficiency  •  heavy-duty  •  fuel saving technologies  •  vehicle  •  high efficiency  •  fuel consumption  •  natural gas  •  cooled exhaust gas recirculation aerodynamics  •  cooled EGR  •  truck  •  bus  •  technology  •  technologies  •  hybrid  •  powertrains  •  drivetrains  •  friction

Benefiting government, industry and the public through innovative science and technology
Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a multidisciplinary, independent, nonprofit, applied engineering and physical sciences research and development organization with 9 technical divisions.