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Technical Paper

Fleet Test Using Butane and Propane Mixtures

This paper describes the results of a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) fleet test conducted using para-transit, medium-duty vehicles. The vehicles were part of an active municipal fleet providing daily service on varying operating routes. Over a period of nine months, each vehicle was fueled with a series of butane/propane mixtures. The mixtures tested were HD5 LPG as the baseline fuel, 20 percent butane/80 percent propane, 30 percent butane/70 percent propane, and a final blend of 50 percent butane/50 percent propane by volume. The test vehicles showed improved fuel economy as the butane content increased in the fuel mixture, even without modification to existing LPG fuel systems. The improved fuel performance was consistent with the higher energy content of butane, compared to an equal volume of propane. The vehicles displayed no symptoms of performance or maintenance problems that would be related to operation of the fuel mixtures.
Technical Paper

Natural Gas and Diesel Transit Bus Emissions: Review and Recent Data

Natural Gas engines are viewed as an alternative to diesel power in the quest to reduce heavy duty vehicle emissions in polluted urban areas. In particular, it is acknowledged that natural gas has the potential to reduce the inventory of particulate matter, and this has encouraged the use of natural gas engines in transit bus applications. Extensive data on natural gas and diesel bus emissions have been gathered using two Transportable Heavy Duty Vehicle Emissions Testing Laboratories, that employ chassis dynamometers to simulate bus inertia and road load. Most of the natural gas buses tested prior to 1997 were powered by Cummins L-10 engines, which were lean-burn and employed a mechanical mixer for fuel introduction. The Central Business District (CBD) cycle was used as the test schedule.
Technical Paper

Evaluation of a Catalytic Converter for a 3.73 kW Natural Gas Engine

An oxidizing catalytic converter was evaluated in the exhaust train of a 3.73 kW (5 hp) natural gas engine. The engine was developed for use in a gas engine-driven heat pump and is designed for operation at lean air/fuel ratios. The converter tested had a metallic substrate with a cell density of 31 cells/cm2. Converter tests measured emission performance as a function of the key engine variables: speed, load, spark advance and air/fuel ratio. As expected, CO conversion averaged well above 90 percent. Hydrocarbon conversion varied between 68.6 and 89.8 percent over a range of eight speed and load combinations selected to cover the normal operating range of the engine. Conversion of individual hydrocarbon species was examined also. Although the converter tests were not designed to isolate the key converter variables, a simple mathematical model allowed us to explore the effect of these variables on conversion.
Technical Paper

Conceptual Design of the South Coast Alternative Motor Fuels Demonstration Project

The conceptual design for a large scale, alternative motor fuels demonstration using delivery vans in the Los Angeles area is described. Vehicles built by Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors will be demonstrated on compressed natural gas, methanol (M-85), ethanol blend, reformulated gasoline, and liquefied petroleum gas. Control vehicles will run on unleaded gasoline. About 20 vehicles will run on each fuel. A smaller number of electric vehicles from other sources will also be demonstrated. Data will be collected over a 24-month period on speciated emissions, safety, performance, reliability, maintenance, and durability. An economic assessment of the use of each of the fuels will be performed from a fleet operator's perspective. Federal Express Corporation will serve as the host fleet.
Technical Paper

Operating Experience and Teardown Analysis for Engines Operated on Biodiesel Blends (B20)

Biodiesel has been used to reduce petroleum consumption and pollutant emissions. B20, a 20% blend of biodiesel with 80% petroleum diesel, has become the most common blend used in the United States. Little quantitative information is available on the impact of biodiesel on engine operating costs and durability. In this study, eight engines and fuel systems were removed from trucks that had operated on B20 or diesel, including four 1993 Ford cargo vans and four 1996 Mack tractors (two of each running on B20 and two on diesel). The engines and fuel system components were disassembled, inspected, and evaluated to compare wear characteristics after 4 years of operation and more than 600,000 miles accumulated on B20. The vehicle case history-including mileage accumulation, fuel use, and maintenance costs-was also documented. The results indicate that there was little difference that could be attributed to fuel in operational and maintenance costs between the B20- and diesel-fueled groups.
Technical Paper

Performance Considerations for Run-Off-Road Countermeasure Systems for Cars and Trucks

Extensive modeling and simulation studies have been carried out to evaluate the performance of systems for avoiding run-off-road crashes. Results show that the effectiveness of in-vehicle crash avoidance systems depends on how well they can be tailored to specific vehicle, driver, and roadway characteristics. To this end, a major focus of these studies is the development of improved driver lane-keeping models based on statistical analyses of data collected in driving experiments conducted on highways, rural roads, and test tracks. In recent simulation studies using improved driver models, the performance of crash avoidance systems in tractor-trailers and passenger cars has been compared over a wide range of incipient run-off-road crash conditions. Heavy trucks present a greater challenge for run-off-road crash avoidance systems, because they slightly but frequently leave the lane even under controlled driving, and because they are less stable during recovery maneuvers.
Technical Paper

Class 8 Trucks Operating On Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel With Particulate Filter Systems: A Fleet Start-Up Experience

Previous studies have shown that regenerating particulate filters are very effective at reducing particulate matter emissions from diesel engines. Some particulate filters are passive devices that can be installed in place of the muffler on both new and older model diesel engines. These passive devices could potentially be used to retrofit large numbers of trucks and buses already in service, to substantially reduce particulate matter emissions. Catalyst-type particulate filters must be used with diesel fuels having low sulfur content to avoid poisoning the catalyst. A project has been launched to evaluate a truck fleet retrofitted with two types of passive particulate filter systems and operating on diesel fuel having ultra-low sulfur content. The objective of this project is to evaluate new particulate filter and fuel technology in service, using a fleet of twenty Class 8 grocery store trucks. This paper summarizes the truck fleet start-up experience.
Technical Paper

Interim Results from Alternative Fuel Truck Evaluation Project

The objective of this project, which is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) through the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), is to provide a comprehensive comparison of heavy-duty trucks operating on alternative fuels and diesel fuel. Data collection from up to eight sites is planned. Currently, the project has four sites: Raley's in Sacramento, CA (Kenworth, Cummins L10-300G, liquefied natural gas - LNG); Pima Gro Systems, Inc. in Fontana, CA (White/GMC, Caterpillar 3176B Dual-Fuel, compressed natural gas - CNG); Waste Management in Washington, PA (Mack, Mack E7G, LNG); and United Parcel Service in Hartford, CT (Freightliner Custom Chassis, Cummins B5.9G, CNG). This paper summarizes current data collection and evaluation results from this project.
Technical Paper

Survey of Potential Safety Issues with Hydrogen-Powered Vehicles

Hydrogen-powered vehicles offer the promise of significantly reducing the amount of pollutants that are expelled into the environment on a daily basis by conventional hydrocarbon-fueled vehicles. While very promising from an environmental viewpoint, the technology and systems that are needed to store the hydrogen (H2) fuel onboard and deliver it to the propulsion system are different from what consumers, mechanics, fire safety personnel, the public, and even engineers currently know and understand. As the number of hydrogen vehicles increases, the likelihood of a rollover or collision of one of these vehicles with another vehicle or a barrier will also increase.
Technical Paper

Alternative Fuel Transit Bus Evaluation Program Results

The objective of this program, which is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) through the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), is to provide an unbiased and comprehensive comparison of transit buses operating on alternative fuels and diesel fuel. The information for this comparison was collected from eight transit bus sites. The fuels studied are natural gas (CNG and LNG), alcohol (methanol and ethanol), biodiesel (20 percent blend), propane (only projected capital costs; no sites with heavy-duty propane engines were available for studying operating experience), and diesel. Data was collected on operations, maintenance, bus equipment configurations, emissions, bus duty cycle, and safety incidents. Representative and actual capital costs were collected for alternative fuels and were used as estimates for conversion costs. This paper presents preliminary results.
Technical Paper

Vehicle Emissions Results-CleanFleet Alternative Fuels Project

Vehicle exhaust emissions measurements are reported for full-size panel vans operating on four alternative motor fuels and control gasoline. The emissions tests produced data on in-use vans. The vans were taken directly from commercial delivery service for testing as they accumulated mileage over a 24-month period. The alternative fuels tested were compressed natural gas, propane gas, California Phase 2 reformulated gasoline (RFG), and methanol (M-85 with 15 percent RFG). The control gasoline for the emissions tests was an industry average unleaded blend (RF-A). The vehicle technologies tested represent those options available in 1992 that were commercially available from Ford, Chrysler, and Chevrolet or which these manufacturers agreed to provide as test vans for daily use in commercial service by FedEx.
Technical Paper

Vehicle Fuel Economy-The CleanFleet Alternative Fuels Project

Fuel economy estimates are provided for the CleanFleet vans operated for two years by FedEx in Southern California. Between one and three vehicle manufacturers (Chevrolet, Dodge, and Ford) supplied vans powered by compressed natural gas (CNG), propane gas, California Phase 2 reformulated gasoline (RFG), methanol (M-85), and unleaded gasoline as a control. Two electric G-Vans, manufactured by Conceptor Corporation, were supplied by Southern California Edison. Vehicle and engine technologies are representative of those available in early 1992. A total of 111 vans were assigned to FedEx delivery routes at five demonstration sites. The driver and route assignments were periodically rotated within each site to ensure that each vehicle would experience a range of driving conditions. Regression analysis was used to estimate the relationships between vehicle fuel economy and factors such as the number of miles driven and the number of delivery stops made each day.
Technical Paper

Fleet Economics Analysis-CleanFleet Alternative Fuels Project

Economics is one of several key factors that must be considered by fleet operators and other decision makers as they move towards initiating or increasing the use of various alternative fuels in their fleet applications. Accordingly, the CleanFleet demonstration project was structured to generate and present a full set of comparable cost information for several of the leading alternative fuels. The cost information included the costs to acquire and modify vehicles, personnel training, facility modifications, capital and operating costs for fueling stations, and vehicle operating costs. These costs were used as the starting point for an analysis of the costs that a fleet operator might face in the 1996 time frame for implementing the use of compressed natural gas, propane gas, Phase 2 reformulated gasoline, or methanol (M-85). The cost estimates were incorporated into a popular spread-sheet used on personal computers to facilitate examining various options available to fleets.
Technical Paper

Extent of Indoor Flammable Plumes Resulting from CNG Bus Fuel System Leaks

A validated three-dimensional mathematical model was used to examine the extent of flammable plumes resulting from both large and small CNG leak scenarios inside a typical transit maintenance and storage facility ventilated at a rate of five air changes per hour. The leak rates used were based on an engineering and experimental analysis of actual CNG bus fuel system components. The results showed that both large and small CNG leaks produced flammable plumes, such plumes extended from a half a bus length to several bus lengths away from the leak source, and the plume from a large leak formed a layer along the ceiling before being dispersed by building ventilation.