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

    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.


    Kane Farabaugh

    Kane Farabaugh is the Midwest Correspondent for Voice of America, where since 2008 he has established Voice of America's presence in the heartland of America.

    You May Like

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora