News / USA

Chicago Lab Promotes Advances in Green Diesel Technology

The diesel-powered Audi A3 TDI was voted 2010 Green Car of the Year by Green Car Journal
The diesel-powered Audi A3 TDI was voted 2010 Green Car of the Year by Green Car Journal

Multimedia

Kane Farabaugh

In October, the U.S. Transportation and Energy Departments announced plans to increase fuel efficiency for future vehicles manufactured and sold in the Unites States.  Under current regulations, those vehicles would need to meet a fuel efficiency standard of 15 kilometers per liter by 2016.  Tighter restrictions would apply to cars and trucks manufactured beginning in 2017.  To meet the demand, manufacturers are turning to battery-powered technology and electric-gasoline hybrids to meet the new restrictions.  But as VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports, an often overlooked and historically maligned technology is already available, that could provide a short-term solution to higher fuels standards.

When people think of diesel, images of loud engines, and dirty, smelly exhaust fill the mind of drivers in the U.S. who turned away from the technology in the 1980s.

"You think of smoke and buses.  You think of the truck you were stuck behind that the engine was way out of speck and the black cloud that you were in," noted Don Hillebrand, the director of Transportation Research at the Energy Department's Argonne National Laboratory outside Chicago.  Hillebrand leads a team of engineers advancing diesel technology.

"There have been some bad American made diesels back in the 70s and 80s that really gave diesel a bad name.  But the fact is that is ancient history. Diesels have changed substantially. They are not the same vehicles they were back then," added Hillebrand.

In fact, for the last three years, the winner of the Green Car Journal's Green Car of the Year has a diesel engine.

This year's winner, the 2010 Audi A3 TDI, gets up to 18 kilometers per liter, making it one of the more fuel efficient, vehicles on the road.

"Looking at gas mileage, it's probably even a tradeoff between hybrids and diesels because conventional diesels - not even in a hybrid vehicle - gets probably about the same gas mileage as a gasoline hybrid," noted Thomas Wallner, a research engineer at Argonne.

Wallner has studied diesel engines, mainly from Europe, to stir development in the United States.

"But certainly it's an alternative here in the U.S. because the market share, especially in the automotive markets, is very low - it's in the single digits, while in Europe it's 50 percent," Wallner added.

Wallner says the challenge in increasing sales in the U.S. is overcoming the stigma associated with diesel.  He says lack of infrastructure is another problem.

"One of the issues that we see right now is as the number of diesels increase in the U.S., we realize that not all the gas stations - and we call them gas stations - have diesel for automotive applications, so I think that's something that keeps consumers from buying diesel cars," explained Wallner.

European manufacturers, such as Audi and Volkswagen, make many of the cars the engineers at Argonne are studying.  Hillebrand says European brands dominate the U.S. market at the moment due to a lack of interest among American car makers.

"Many of the American based companies make outstanding diesel engines, but they only sell them overseas.  They don't actually sell them in North American," said Hillebrand.

Hillebrand says even though diesel still uses fossil fuel to power the engine, it is an important technology that paves the way for eventual energy independence by using less fuel.

"The diesel can give you an extra 30 percent fuel economy, which is a substantial amount of carbon reduction and a substantial amount of cost savings," Hillebrand explained.

He adds that increasing interest in the technology by educating consumers is one way drivers can get behind the wheel of some of the most fuel efficient, and environmentally friendly, vehicles on the road.  

U.S. manufacturers have taken notice.  Ford has a variety of new diesel vehicles for sale in Europe that it could easily introduce to the U.S. marketplace.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid