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SwRI Consortium Continues Development of Low-Emission Technologies for Off-Road, Naturally Aspirated Engines

    SAN ANTONIO--May 31, 2002--A consortium organized at Southwest Research Institute(tm) (SwRI(R)) to develop cost-effective emissions-reduction technologies for naturally aspirated diesel engines successfully concluded its first year.
    The in-cylinder technologies to be developed during the three-year program will help manufacturers of 65 kW and smaller engines achieve the adopted U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tier 3 emissions levels set for 2008.
    "During the first year, we investigated the benefits of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) to achieve tougher oxides of nitrogen (NOx) reduction goals," says Jeffrey Leet, program manager for the consortium. Current research on the Naturally Aspirated Tier 3 (NAT3) consortium focuses on the control of particulate matter (PM).
    Naturally aspirated engines, used in vehicles such as forklifts, tractors and front-end loaders, are common in the various off-road markets. Tier 3 compliance is significantly more difficult for naturally aspirated diesel engines than for larger off-road diesel engines because the smaller, less expensive engines use fewer advanced systems, such as turbochargers and electronic engine controls, which can reduce emissions by optimizing engine performance.
    The consortium aims to meet the following goals:

-- NOx plus non-methane hydrocarbon (NMHC) levels of 4.23 grams per kilowatt-hour (g/kW-hr)
-- PM levels of 0.12 g/kW-hr
-- Carbon monoxide (CO) levels of 3.15 g/kW-hr

    These goals, more stringent than the adopted EPA Tier 3 levels, also address anticipated future European and Japanese emissions regulations. The emissions goals have an allowance of 10 percent for deterioration factors and manufacturing variability. The program is attempting to achieve the emissions goals with fuel economy, carbon dioxide and specific engine power levels comparable to current-production naturally aspirated engines.
    Vehicle, equipment and machine manufacturers can join the NAT3 consortium for $20,000 per year. Engine and component manufacturers, fuel companies and additive makers can join for $50,000 per year. Because NAT3 is in its second year, new members also must pay for the previous year to receive the precompetitive technologies developed to date, Leet says.
    Current members include Caterpillar Inc., Denso Corporation, European Engine Alliance, Kubota Corporation, Lombardini, Robert Bosch Corporation and Yanmar Diesel Engine Co. Ltd.
    The advantage of a consortium is that the annual cost is leveraged by the number of participants to provide substantially more precompetitive technologies than would be possible with funding from a single company.
    SwRI is an independent, nonprofit, applied research and development organization based in San Antonio, Texas, with more than 2,700 employees and an annual research volume of more than $319 million.