Fuel-efficiency grants to create engineering jobs

  • 14-Jan-2010 12:03 EST
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General Motors will push the limits of lean combustion in the Ecotec engine as part of its DOE grant project.

The winners of recently awarded federal grants totaling $187 million to improve vehicle efficiency will help create more than 500 engineering, research, and management jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. More than 6000 jobs overall, including those in manufacturing, are expected to be created by 2015 as part of the nine grant projects announced Jan. 11 by the DOE.

Most of the grant money, $115 million, is targeted at advances that will increase the fuel efficiency of class 8 long-haul freight trucks 50% by 2015. Among the technologies to be investigated are engine combustion, engine waste heat recovery, powertrain hybridization, idle reduction, and aerodynamics.

The remainder of the grant money is targeted at advances that will increase the fuel efficiency of passenger vehicle engine and powertrain systems. The improvement target is 25-40% by 2015.

In the truck category, winning roughly equal amounts of close to $40 million are Cummins Inc., Daimler Trucks North America, and Navistar Inc.

Cummins is also a grant winner in the passenger-vehicle category. It will receive $15 million for work on diesel engine technology.

Among winning suppliers in the passenger-vehicle category are Delphi ($7.5 million) for, among other things, "a novel, low-temperature combustion system" and engine downspeeding, according to a DOE press release on the grant awards. Robert Bosch ($12 million) will study homogeneous-charge compression-ignition technology with turbocharging.

Among automakers, General Motors Co. ($7.7 million) will develop an engine that uses lean combustion and active heat management, as well as a novel emissions-control system, to improve the fuel economy of a 2010 Chevrolet Malibu demonstration vehicle by 25%. Chrysler Group ($14.5 million) will develop a flexible combustion system for its minivan platform based on a downsized, turbocharged engine that uses direct gasoline injection, exhaust gas recirculation, and flexible air intake control to reduce emissions. Ford Motor Co. ($15 million) aims to achieve a 25% fuel-economy improvement with a gasoline engine in a 2010 mid- to large-size sedan using technologies including engine downsizing, turbocharging, direct injection, and a novel exhaust aftertreatment system.

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