AEI Show Daily Extras: Tuesday

Relevance is key
Racing does indeed resonate with technology that matters to consumers. Just ask the heads of groups who serve as professional sanctioning organizations, and who took part in the motorsports panel discussion Monday at the FEV Powertrain Innovation Forum.

Scott Atherton, President and CEO of the American Le Mans Series, said the 1999-founded racing outlet allows automakers to seriously put vehicles to the test, especially via a 24-hour marathon. Manufacturers—Aston Martin, Audi, Chevrolet, Ferrari, Ford, Jaguar, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Renault, and others—see their cars raced, rather than the "tube-framed silhouette cars," according to Atherton.

"Many manufacturers are using the Series as a 200-mph R&D lab," said Atherton. He cited the Audi R8 racecar, which had the first application of a direct fuel-injection system, and the turbodiesel Audi R 10 as cars with relevant technologies. For example, the success of the diesel racecar is helping to sway consumers into thinking of a diesel-powered engine as a fun and fast technology for everyday driving needs.

The Grand American Road Racing Association, also established in 1999, has re-directed its course on relevance. "Technology and equipment used in the first three seasons of racing was essentially what was available," said Roger Edmondson, President of Grand American Racing.

Now with the Daytona Prototypes division, every racecar starts life as show car, according to Edmondson. All approved chassis and engine combinations are tuned to 500 hp (373 kW), and the competition is further balanced with overall racecar weight and gearboxes, according to Edmondson.

"There is no less technology in Daytona Prototypes than in any other current racecars on the track today. The architecture, materials, and electronics are all the same," said Edmondson, citing technologies such as sequential gearboxes, traction control, and data-acquisition systems.

- Kami Buchholz

Scuderi's split-cycle solutions
Split-cycle engines—with separate cylinders for compression and power—have been around since the early 1900s, but until now have had much worse thermal and volumetric efficiency than conventional Otto-cycle engines. "Our engine solves those problems and offers many additional benefits," said Sal Scuderi, President of the Scuderi Group (Booth 2561).

The volumetric efficiency problem was found to be a matter of poor engine breathing. "We are using a unique valve design developed in the early 1980s to solve the problem of trapped air in compressors," said Scuderi. Supercharging is done simply by increasing the diameter of the compressor piston so that extra air is pumped into the power cylinder on each cycle.

Traditional engines are designed to fire before top dead center (TDC) so the combustion process can keep up with the piston and pressure builds up enough to deliver the power. The solution on thermal efficiency was to fire after TDC. Scuderi engineers discovered that high-pressure air going into the power cylinder creates a lot of turbulence, and then that combination of high pressure and turbulence causes the fuel to atomize very rapidly and produce a very fast flame speed.

One unique product of the firing after TDC is a mechanical cooling of the expanding flame so the temperatures never get high enough to produce much NOx.

"We can turn this into a hybrid system by adding a tank to store energy as compressed air," said Scuderi. "We can feed in a small amount of air from the reservoir, gaining a big advantage from shutting off the compression cylinder stroke." This is known as high-efficiency mode, because on any engine the compression stroke is negative work.

Regenerative braking will use vehicle momentum to drive the engine as a pure compressor and charge up the reservoir. Cruising mode will use only some of the compressed air for the power stroke, storing the rest. When the reservoir reaches a certain pressure, the engine will switch into high-efficiency mode and use just stored air.

The 700-psi (48-bar) air storage tank will also be available for other uses. It could supply compressed air to inflate tires or start the engine if the battery dies. Portable power for pneumatic tools has great potential for the military and other commercial users.

"We think the diesel engine market has the greatest potential because we have such a big cost advantage," said Scuderi. "Typical diesels today have turbochargers and high-cost, high-pressure fuel injectors—and considerable aftertreatment cost. We can eliminate the turbocharger because we have a built-in supercharger, and we only need half the number of injectors. And because of the high turbulence, we can go to lower-cost, low-pressure injectors. Soot and NOx emissions are reduced by lower temperatures and more complete combustion due to the high turbulence.

In January, the Department of Defense agreed to provide $1.2 million of development funding. Private investors have since come up with an additional $6.8 million.

- David Alexander

Open forum covers PC-10 oil category
Representatives from the oil industry, vehicle manufacturers, testing laboratories, on-highway fleets, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will participate in a special 2006 SAE World Congress panel discussion on PC-10, the new diesel engine oil category.

Organized by the SAE Fuels & Lubricants Council, the PC-10 Open Forum, "Regulation vs. Practicality," will be held at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Mackinac East Ballroom of the Marriott Detroit Renaissance Center.

Moderated by Kenneth K. Chao, Petroleum Products Support, John Deere Product Engineering Center, the forum will feature speakers and panelists representing the American Petroleum Institute, American Chemistry Council, Engine Manufacturers Association, Independent Lubricant Manufacturers Association, and other organizations.

The forum will feature an overview of PC-10 category development by Jim McGeehan of Chevron, Chairman of the American Society for Testing and Materials Heavy Duty Engine Oil Classification Panel, and a presentation by Chris Laroo of the EPA's Office of Transportation and Air Quality Assessment and Standards Division.

The purpose of the forum is to identify any shortcomings in the PC-10 process and to discuss possible remedies in advance of its planned October 2006 licensing date. Panelists will also look at how lessons learned from the PC-10 process can be applied to the next category development (PC-11).

Regulatory issues to be discussed will include: whether there will be government incentives to promote ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel (ULSD) and PC-10 oil usage; the impact of the EPA's 80:20 ULSD rule on nationwide PC-10 implementation; and enforcement of the EPA's minimum requirement service interval.

The forum will also address open issues such as: the potential compromises inherent in the fact that PC-10 is the first service category to address both engine protection and aftertreatment service durability; high development costs and investment recovery; dealing with the parallel processes of oil category development and engine design changes; backward and forward compatibility; variables regarding continual DPF design improvements; and whether there will be different grades of PC-10.

Panel discusses semiconductor robustness
Representatives from OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers will discuss the concept of robustness validation (RV) for semiconductors during a panel discussion at 2 p.m. Tuesday in Room W2-67.

The panel session is organized by Jack Stein, Chairman of the J1879 General Qualification and Production Acceptance Criteria for Integrated Circuits in Automotive Applications committee. The panel discussion will be co-moderated by J1879 committee members Helmut Keller and Roger Rickey.

The program will open with an introduction by Rolf Winter, Managing Director, Electronic Components and Systems, at ZVEI. Winter will discuss the ZVEI-SAE cooperative effort to develop a more efficient qualification standard for semiconductors.

Armin Gottschalk of RMCtech will also give a short presentation on robustness validation, followed by the discussion in which each member of the panel will comment on RV efforts at their organization.

The panel is also expected to include Ernst Schmidt, BMW; Ole Mende, Audi; Keith Hodgson, Ford; Dennis Craggs, DaimlerChrysler; Andreas Preussger, Infineon; Robert Knoell, Visteon and the Automotive Electronics Council; Ludger Kruecke, ELMOS Semiconductor; and Tadashi Wakiya, Society of Automotive Engineers of Japan (JSAE).

The purpose of the discussion is to introduce the concept of RV to the industry, and to seek input from parties not currently involved with the effort. Following the panelists' remarks, the floor will be open for questions and comments.