News & Events
ORNL researchers find thermochemical exhaust heat recuperation in internal combustion engines could provide substantial boosts in second-law efficiency.
R&D 100 Award
Mass spectrometer leverages R&D 100 Award-winning tech for gas analysis.
Secretary Chu announce $187 Million to improve vehicle efficiency for heavy-duty trucks and passenger vehicles. ORNL's Fuels, Engines, and Emissions group partners in two of the announced projects.
FEERC and CTA staff conducted their first meeting with the Advisory Panel for www.fueleconomy.gov. The site is consumers' convenient source of the EPA's Fuel Economy Guide, and the CTA maintains the site to meet DOE's statutory requirement to provide fuel economy data to the public. FEERC staff are conducting literature reviews, experiments, and mining existing databases to improve and validate the Driving and Maintenance tips on the site. The panel of automotive experts was assembled to provide peer review of these Driving and Maintenance tips and experiments conducted to improve them. The panel provided several excellent recommendations on tips that can be posted in the near term, as well as valuable guidance on experiments to conduct and sources of existing data.
ORNL, Da Vinci Sign Licensing Agreement
An ORNL technology for analyzing automotive engine oil has been licensed to a Texas firm that specializes in a broad suite of combustion engine lubrication and emissions testing services and equipment.
FEERC to participate in SAE Powertrain, Fluids, and Lubricants Conference [November 2-4, 2009]
ORNL staff from FEERC will be presenting several papers at the 2009 Fall SAE Powertrain, Fluids, and Lubricants Conference on November 2-4, 2009 in San Antonio, TX.
New GM engine with full control commissioned [September 2009]
A 1.9-liter 4-cylinder GM diesel engine has been commissioned in FEERC’s Light-Duty Emissions Control Engine Cell. The new engine uses a Drivven control system for full control of engine operation. PCCI, an advanced combustion technique, has been demonstrated on the new engine based on parameters established by fellow FEERC researchers on the same engine in the Combustion, Efficiency, and Fuels Engine Cell.
FEERC team attends DEER Conference [August 2009]
ORNL staff from FEERC presented several papers at the 2009 Directions in Engine-Efficiency and Emissions Research (DEER) Conference on August 3-6, 2009 in Dearborn, MI.
Intermediate Ethanol Blends Report Released [February 27, 2009]
A joint report by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory on the impact of intermediate ethanol blends on non-flex fuel vehicles and small non-road engines has been updated and released (original version released in October 2008). This report highlights technical details related to engine use with intermediate ethanol blends which are blends of ethanol in gasoline above the current 10% limit.
ORNL Completes Experimental Study Using FACE Diesel Fuels for HECC Operation, [January 2009]
Advanced combustion concepts such as high-efficiency clean combustion (HECC) have shown the potential for improved engine-system efficiency due to reduced aftertreatment requirements. The FACE working group (made of industry stakeholders, universities, and DOE national laboratories) was formed as a working group under the umbrella of the Coordinating Research Council. The group was chartered to produce a matrix of research diesel fuels that could be used broadly to glean fuel property impacts from various ongoing research efforts through the use of a common set of fuels. Researchers at ORNL recently completed experiments to investigate the performance of HECC based on a partially-premixed charge compression-ignition (PCCI) technique using a GM 1.9-liter diesel engine. Experiments were carried out using all 9 of the FACE diesel fuels. A large amount of data on the combustion process, efficiency, and both regulated and unregulated emissions was gathered. Data analysis is ongoing and will be reported at the 2009 DOE Annual Merit Review. Further study is anticipated based on guidance gleaned from the initial data that has been gathered. This will be the first reported data from the use of FACE fuels in a production-like combustion regime using a multi-cylinder engine. ORNL has also completed initial experiments in a single-cylinder HCCI engine. Data analysis for this effort is also ongoing.
William Partridge Jr., Jae-Soon Choi, John Storey and Sam Lewis won a R&D 100 Award [October 2008]
R&D Magazine issues the awards in recognition of the year’s most significant technological innovations The FEERC researchers received recognition for the invention of SpaciMS: Spatially Resolved Capillary Inlet Mass Spectrometer. SpaciMS takes samples inside the confined spaces of reactors like automotive catalysts, fuel reformers or fuel cells, measuring changes in chemical composition in both space and time within the reactors. Sampling within the reactor during operation gives greater understanding of reactor and catalytic chemistry than has previously been possible by measuring reactor exhaust alone. This technology was used in the optimization of the groundbreaking 2007 Dodge Ram heavy-duty pickup truck, which met 2010 emissions control standards three years ahead of schedule. Funding for the development of SpaciMS was provided by ORNL’s Laboratory Directed Research and Development Program and DOE’s Office of Heavy Vehicle Technology and Office of FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies.
Patent Issues for Control Method, Homogenous Charge Compression Ignition Combustion, ORNL [October 2008]
Advanced combustion concepts such as homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) have shown the potential for improved engine-system efficiency due to reduced aftertreatment requirements. Barriers to the successful implementation of HCCI in production vehicles include a limited speed/load range due to high in-cylinder pressure rise rates and stability issues associated with the sensitivity of the combustion processes to in-cylinder conditions. ORNL simulation and controls experience in combination with Delphi component and subsystem experience is being used to overcome these barriers in CRADA. A low-order dynamic model has been developed to predict the complex cycle-to-cycle interactions of spark assisted HCCI which have been observed in experiments. Additionally, a new combustion metric has been developed for use with feedback control to provide rapid characterization of the spark assisted HCCI combustion event. Control concepts which make use of the predictive model and combustion metric are in development for use on a multi-cylinder direct-injection gasoline engine. A patent for aspects of the control concepts being used in this CRADA was issued in October 2008 (US 7,431,011).
DOE Office of Vehicle Technologies
Stuart Daw Named Corporate Fellow [July 2008]
Three researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have been named Corporate Fellows, joining an elite group of lab scientists and engineers recognized for their career achievements. Richard Bass, Stuart Daw and Amit Goyal are the newest members of the Corporate Fellows Council, which totals 28. The announcements were made Friday by ORNL Director Thom Mason. Bass was recognized for his work in advanced computational structural mechanics and nuclear safety technologies. He joined ORNL staff in 1976. He holds a doctorate from Tulane University and currently heads a program that develops safety assessment technologies for nuclear power plants. Daw came to the lab in 1979. He is known for pioneering work in the application of chaos theory and nonlinear dynamics to energy technologies. He has a doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of Tennessee. Goyal's research has focused on high-temperature superconductivity, including fundamental studies of the materials and helping develop breakthrough uses for the marketplace. He has worked at ORNL since 1991, when he served as a postdoctoral fellow. He has a doctorate from the University of Rochester.
Two R&D100 Awards to FEERC [July 1, 2008]
FEERC was the recipient of two R&D100 Awards for 2008. R&D Magazine issues the awards in recognition of the year's most significant technological innovations. The winners were:
SpaciMS: Spatially Resolved Capillary Inlet Mass Spectrometer
Developed and submitted jointly by William Partridge Jr., Jae-Soon Choi, John Storey and Sam Lewis of the Energy & Transportation Science Division, Neal Currier and Aleksey Yezerets of Cummins, Alexandre Goguet and Christopher Hardacre of CenTACat, Queen's University Belfast, David Lundie, Terry Whitmore and Adrian Jessop of Hiden Analytical, and Gerald DeVault and Robert Smithwick III of the Y-12 National Security Complex. SpaciMS takes samples inside the confined spaces of reactors like automotive catalysts, fuel reformers or fuel cells, measuring changes in chemical composition in both space and time within the reactors. Sampling within the reactor during operation gives greater understanding of reactor and catalytic chemistry than has previously been possible by measuring reactor exhaust alone. This technology was used in the optimization of the groundbreaking 2007 Dodge Ram heavy-duty pickup truck, which met 2010 emissions control standards three years ahead of schedule. Funding for the development of SpaciMS was provided by ORNL's Laboratory Directed Research and Development Program and DOE's Office of Heavy Vehicle Technology and Office of FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies.
Laser-induced fluorescence composite heat damage detector
Developed and submitted jointly by Chris Janke and Cliff Eberle of the Materials Science and Technology Division, Curt Maxey and John Storey of the Energy & Transportation Science Division, Art Clemons of the National Security Directorate, and Walt Fisher, Eric Wachter and Josh Fisher of Galt Technologies. The heat damage detector provides rapid and accurate heat damage assessments of fiber-reinforced polymer matrix composites found in military and commercial aircraft. Composites have a high strength-to-weight ratio, increasing aircraft fuel efficiency without a compromise in safety. However, they are vulnerable to heat damage, which can cause significant degradation in the materials' properties. The detector is the first of its kind that does not require destruction of the sample under inspection, reducing the cost of identifying and repairing heat-damaged composites ten-fold. The system is also lightweight and portable. Work on the detector was sponsored by the Office of Naval Research.
Ron Graves Elected SAE Fellow [April 2007]
Ron Graves of the Fuels, Engines, and Emissions Research Center (FEERC), has been elected to the Fellow Grade of membership by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). This membership grade recognizes and honors Ron's significant impact on society's mobility technology through his research, innovation, and creative leadership at ORNL. Election to Fellow is an exceptional professional distinction bestowed on only some 20 recipients each year. There are currently less than 600 SAE Fellows. Candidates are elected via nominations submitted by SAE Members and Fellow grade members. Ron will receive a distinctive Fellow pin presented at the Fellow dinner at the SAE World Congress in Detroit, Michigan in April 2007.
Submitted by Johney Green, Fuels, Engines, and Emissions Research Group Leader
2008 Dynamic Days Conference 
Stuart Daw and Charles Finney co-organized the 2008 Dynamic Days conference in collaboration with the University of Tennessee. The agenda included presentations by international experts on the applications of nonlinear science in combustion and chemical systems; business, economics, and manufacturing; plasma physics and complex flows; computing and data mining; materials science and mechanics; and biology and ecology. Dr. Johney Green (Leader; Fuels, Engines, and Emissions Research group) welcomed the visitors to Knoxville and discussed the role of ORNL in the application of nonlinear science and chaos in engineering systems. Dr. Dean Edwards (also of the Fuels, Engines, and Emissions Research group) presented recent progress on modeling the dynamical instability of advanced combustion engines. See http://ddays2008.org/index.html for more information.
Long-term Catalyst Durability Study with Intermediate Ethanol Blends Kickoff 
The feasibility of blending ethanol at greater than 10% in gasoline is being studied as a path to satisfying goals for renewable fuel use in the Energy Independence and Security act. In early October, a DOE-ORNL-NREL team published the first report on results of studies to date, detailing immediate (short term) emissions effects on thirteen light-duty vehicles. While the overall results were encouraging in the initial short-term study, there is a key question whether long term exposure to the higher ethanol blends would cause more rapid catalyst deterioration over the full-useful life. Through a competitive solicitation, ORNL placed a subcontract with Southwest Research Institute to conduct an 80-vehicle study of catalyst durability. The kickoff meeting at Southwest Research was held in late October. Funded mostly by DOE, the project is being conducted in partnership with the Coordinating Research Council (CRC) via a working group of auto- oil-company representatives in addition to the DOE team. Vehicles for the 80 car study were selected in part through a CRC screening test program.
DOE Office of Vehicle Technologies