Project set to boost efficiency of exhaust systems in HDVs

The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) is investing £4.5m in a project to improve the catalytic conversion efficiencies of exhaust systems in heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs).

The ETI-commissioned and funded project will be led by Johnson Matthey, who, in addition to collaborating with Loughborough University, will work alongside ETI member Caterpillar.

According to ETI, diesel-engine fuel efficiency is often reduced by having to comply with exhaust emission standards. 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 is intended to deliver fuel efficiency and CO2 benefits of between three and four per cent.

Chris Thorne, programme manager of HDV efficiency at the ETI, said: ‘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 while meeting the cost, reliability, space and exhaust emission standards constraints that exist within the HDV market.

‘To help industry embrace new exhaust system 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.’

Prof Graham Hargrave, who will lead the work being carried out at Loughborough, said: ‘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… exhaust emission standards reduction technology.’

This project is said to be part of a £40m ETI programme focused on increasing HDV efficiencies.

Officially launched last year by business secretary Vince Cable, the programme is hoped 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 per cent.