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Argonne Receives Cost-Shared DOE Grants to Improve Light-Vehicle Fuel Efficiency


Two Argonne-based research-and-development projects have been selected to receive grants from the US Department of Energy (DOE) as part of an effort to improve the fuel efficiency of light-duty vehicle engines while promoting collaboration between researchers in government labs, universities and industry.

"We expect this research to make significant strides toward maximizing an engine's performance in a cleaner, more economical manner," Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman said, as he announced a series of awards totaling $21.5 million nationwide for 11 cost-shared R&D projects last month. "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."

These projects are part of President Bush's 20-in-10 initiative, which calls for replacing 20 percent of the gasoline usage by 2017 through increased use of clean, renewable fuels and improved vehicle efficiency. Combined with industry investment, the 11 projects will provide nearly $43 million to support improvement of engine and combustion systems for the next generation of efficient vehicles. Improving the engine of a flexible-fuel vehicle can increase performance and fuel economy, and decrease emissions. A flexible-fuel vehicle is one that can use different fuels, either mixed in the same tank or with separate tanks and fuel systems for each fuel. 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.

One project, based out of Argonne's Transportation Technology R&D Center, will attempt to make flexible-fuel engines more efficient by using advanced engine technology with in-cylinder sensors to rapidly extract large quantities of information every time the engine ignites fuel. This in-cylinder technology, called ionization sensing, provides real-time data to engineers that may enable them to significantly reduce the size and improve the fuel economy of an engine without sacrificing power. For this endeavor, Argonne will partner with German engine manufacturer Mahle Powertrain, Michigan-based Visteon Corporation and Michigan State University. For this project, Argonne has been selected to receive up to $2.3 million from DOE, which will be matched in large part by investment from industry.

DOE also announced funding for research in lubrication technology that will be performed in Argonne's Energy Systems Division. The federal funds will support research into the use of very small particles of molybdenum disulfide (MoS 2 ) as a lubricant additive for motor oils. Scientists from the University of Arkansas, Caterpillar and nanoMech LLC will also help to develop and test this new additive. DOE will provide up to $491,000 for this research, and Caterpillar will make a similar investment.

Argonne was the only DOE national laboratory selected to receive the cost-shared grants. To view a list of all projects selected by DOE, visit www.energy.gov/news/5298.htm.





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