Research Staff

John Thomas

R&D Staff Member

Specialty: Automotive Fuel Economy, Emissions, and Aftertreatment
John has broad experience in fossil energy technology, fuels, combustion, energy conversion, coal gasification, combined heat and power and power generation systems. His most recent R&D efforts include quantifying fuel economy degradation with speed for light-duty vehicles, ethanol/gasoline blend engine and vehicle performance effects, and exploring emerging fuel and/or petroleum saving technologies on vehicles. Other recent work covers a range of diesel exhaust emissions aftertreatment technologies including soot filters, NOx adsorber catalysts, hydrocarbon SCR, and urea SCR. He also has recent experience in alternative engine fuels, and lightweight diesel generators for the military. John is a member of ASME and SAE, and a frequent reviewer for SAE and DOE. He has authored over 65 published reports and numerous internal reports.

Research Focus
John currently oversees the operation of the FEERC Vehicle Research Laboratory (VRL). Areas of focus include supporting the EPA/DOE joint effort to maintain the website, which helps fulfill their responsibility under the Energy Policy Act of 1992 to provide accurate fuel economy information to consumers. This laboratory supports various other ORNL programs, including the Power Electronics and Electrical Power Systems Research Center's (PEEPSRC)evaluation of advanced energy storage system (ESS) technology.

M.S., Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University, 1978
B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University, 1976

(T) 865-946-1238
(F) 865-946-1354

Partnerships and Collaborations
Like the FEERC team in general, the Vehicle Research Laboratory is engaged in both industry and government research on fuels, engines and emissions technologies.  FEERC is designated a DOE National User Facility, which encompasses the Vehicle Research Laboratory.  Although the bulk of our efforts directly support the DOE mission, R&D is carried out for and with OEMs and other private or non-private partners.  This includes research directly funded by private industry, cooperative research and development agreements (CRADAs) and other cooperative partnering. Follow this link for more information regarding working with FEERC.

Selected Publications
J. F. Thomas, Huff, S., and West, B., "Fuel Economy and Emissions Effects of Low Tire Pressure, Open Windows, Roof Top and Hitch-Mounted Cargo, and Trailer," SAE Int. J. Passeng. Cars - Mech. Syst. 7(2):2014, doi:10.4271/2014-01-1614.

J.F. Thomas et al., “Predicting Light-Duty Vehicle Fuel Economy as a Function of Highway Speed,” SAE paper 2013-01-1113, April 2013.

J.F. Thomas et al., “Effect of Air Filter Condition on Diesel Vehicle Fuel Economy,” SAE paper 2013-01-0311, April 2013.

S.P. Huff et al., “Effects of Air Conditioner Use on Real-World Fuel Economy,” SAE paper 2013-01-0551, April 2013.

J. M. Storey, “Exhaust Particle Characterization for Lean and Stoichiometric DI Vehicles Operating on Ethanol-Gasoline Blends,” SAE paper 2012-01-0437, April 2012.

J. F. Thomas et al., “Fuel Economy and Emissions of a Vehicle Equipped with an Aftermarket Flexible-Fuel Conversion Kit,” ORNL/TM-2011/483, December 2011.

P. Chambon, et al. “European Lean Gasoline Direct Injection Vehicle Benchmark,” SAE 2011 World Congress,  Detroit, Michigan, SAE paper 2011-01-1218, April 2011.

West et al., “Intermediate Ethanol Blends Catalyst Durability Program,” ORNL/TM-2011/234, December 2011.

J. E. Parks, et al., “Lean Gasoline Engine Reductant Chemistry During Lean NOx Trap Regeneration,” 2010 SAE Powertrains, Fuels and Lubricants Meeting, SAE paper 2010-01-2267. October, 2010.

K. Knoll, B. West, S. Huff, J. Thomas, J. Orban, C. Cooper, “Effects of Mid-Level Ethanol Blends on Conventional Vehicle Emissions,” SAE Paper, 2009-01-2723, SAE 2009 Powertrains, Fuels and Lubricants Meeting.

Knoll et al., “Effects of Mid-Level Ethanol Blends on Conventional Vehicle Emissions,” ORNL/TM-2008/117, NREL/TP-540-43543
February, 2009


Technical Highlights October 2015Oct 2015 highlights

Journal Paper to Report the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNLs) Recent Discovery of Incompatibility between Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) and Zinc Dithiophosphate (ZDDP)...