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High-mileage, low-emission engine ME research highlighted by environmental groups

Cutting-edge automotive engine research at the University of Michigan College of Engineering is featured in a new video on DrivingGrowth.org, a website created by U.S. and Michigan environmental groups that track the revitalization of the U.S. auto industry.

The newest video, featuring ME Associate Research Scientist Stani V. Bohac, was shot on location at the Lay Automotive Laboratory at the University of Michigan’s College of Engineering, and showcases work done by Mechanical Engineering researchers (Stani Bohac, Jason Martz and Anna Stefanopoulou).

Bohac and a team of engineering students and technicians are testing and developing a modified internal combustion engine with a goal of a 25 percent boost in fuel economy, while meeting current performance and strict emissions requirements.

“We’re most of the way there,” says Bohac, “basically using two technologies. The first is downsizing and boosting the engine; this is basically cutting out the fat while retaining all the muscle of the engine. The second is we’re applying advanced combustion modes; this is basically making the engine thermodynamically more efficient.”

Under new federal standards released last month, U.S. automakers will be required to double fuel efficiency over the next 13 years, reaching 54.5 mpg gallon by 2025, while simultaneously reducing tailpipe emissions.

According to estimates from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, some 85% of cars and light trucks on the road by 2025 will still be powered by internal combustion engines. Significant improvements in this century-old technology will be required to meet the new 54.5 mpg standard.

Partners supporting UM’s engine research include the U.S. Department of Energy, Stanford University, and automotive companies Bosch, AVL, and Emitec.

Bohac and a team of engineering students, together with engineers from Bosch and a controls team from UM, are testing are currently testing engine applications in the laboratory using a dynamometer, which simulates varying road conditions while tracking fuel economy, emission and performance metrics. In 2013, the team plans to place the test engine into vehicles and conduct road tests under actual driving conditions.

“We’re in the business of educating students, doing science and disseminating the results,” says Bohac, “But we’re also very interested in real-world problems, including the fuel economy of passenger cars with internal combustion engines. This project has been fantastic for our students. They’re exposed to industry and at the same time they get a great academic experience here at the University.”

DrivingGrowth.org, which highlights innovation throughout the U.S. auto industry, is sponsored by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Michigan League of Conservation Voters Education Fund and the National Wildlife Federation. The site features documentary videos, jobs reports, research studies, news articles and blogs focused on the technology being used by U.S. automakers and suppliers to meet new federal fuel economy and emissions standards.


For more information about Driving Growth.org, please contact: David Isaacson, dmisaacson@rcn.com, 773-593-2741

For more information about the University of Michigan College of Engineering, please contact: Nicole Casal Moore, ncmoore@umich.edu, 734-647-7087.

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