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Technical Paper

An Evaluation of Natural Gas versus Diesel in Medium-Duty Buses

Significant numbers of transit buses now operate on natural gas. With support of the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory has evaluated the cost, performance, and emissions of alternative fuel buses around the country. In this study, three natural gas and three closely matched diesel buses were compared. The buses, built by World Trans, were 26′5″long and used 1997 Cummins B-series engines. Particulate matter and oxides of nitrogen emissions from the natural gas buses were significantly lower than those from the diesel buses. However, the diesel buses had lower operating costs and higher fuel efficiency than the natural gas buses.
Technical Paper

Emissions from Buses with DDC 6V92 Engines Using Synthetic Diesel Fuel

Synthetic diesel fuel can be made from a variety of feedstocks, including coal, natural gas and biomass. Synthetic diesel fuels can have very low sulfur and aromatic content, and excellent autoignition characteristics. Moreover, synthetic diesel fuels may also be economically competitive with California diesel fuel if produced in large volumes. Previous engine laboratory and field tests using a heavy-duty chassis dynamometer indicate that synthetic diesel fuel made using the Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) catalytic conversion process is a promising alternative fuel because it can be used in unmodified diesel engines, and can reduce exhaust emissions substantially. The objective of this study was a preliminary assessment of the emissions from older model transit operated on Mossgas synthetic diesel fuel. The study compared emissions from transit buses operating on Federal no. 2 Diesel fuel, Mossgas synthetic diesel (MGSD), and a 50/50 blend of the two fuels.
Technical Paper

Diesel and CNG Transit Bus Emissions Characterization by Two Chassis Dynamometer Laboratories: Results and Issues

Emissions of six 32 passenger transit buses were characterized using one of the West Virginia University (WVU) Transportable Heavy Duty Emissions Testing Laboratories, and the fixed base chassis dynamometer at the Colorado Institute for Fuels and High Altitude Engine Research (CIFER). Three of the buses were powered with 1997 ISB 5.9 liter Cummins diesel engines, and three were powered with the 1997 5.9 liter Cummins natural gas (NG) counterpart. The NG engines were LEV certified. Objectives were to contrast the emissions performance of the diesel and NG units, and to compare results from the two laboratories. Both laboratories found that oxides of nitrogen and particulate matter (PM) emissions were substantially lower for the natural gas buses than for the diesel buses. It was observed that by varying the rapidity of pedal movement during accelerations in the Central Business District cycle (CBD), CO and PM emissions from the diesel buses could be varied by a factor of three or more.
Technical Paper

Demonstration of Caterpillar C10 Dual Fuel Natural Gas Engines in Commuter Buses

Optimized 1997 model year Caterpillar C10 dual-fuel natural gas engines certified to the California Air Resources Board's Alternative Low NOx 2.5 gram/brake horsepower-hour emission standard were demonstrated in three commuter buses over a 12-month period, in Santa Barbara, California. The project evaluated the retrofit costs and process, performance, reliability, fuel economy, operating costs, and emissions of the three C-10 dual-fuel natural gas engines compared to a standard C-10 diesel engine. Chassis dynamometer tests using the U.S. EPA Urban Dynamometer Drive Schedule, the Central Business District (West Virginia University version) and the 55-mph Steady State cycles were conducted to characterize in-use emissions of the dual-fuel engines for the commuter bus application. During 94,000 combined service miles, performance, reliability and durability of the dual fuel buses were similar to the diesel control.
Technical Paper

On-Road Use of Fischer-Tropsch Diesel Blends

Alternative compression ignition engine fuels are of interest both to reduce emissions and to reduce U.S. petroleum fuel demand. A Malaysian Fischer-Tropsch gas-to-liquid fuel was compared with California #2 diesel by characterizing emissions from over the road Class 8 tractors with Caterpillar 3176 engines, using a chassis dynamometer and full scale dilution tunnel. The 5-Mile route was employed as the test schedule, with a test weight of 42,000 lb. Levels of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) were reduced by an average of 12% and particulate matter (PM) by 25% for the Fischer-Tropsch fuel over the California diesel fuel. Another distillate fuel produced catalytically from Fischer-Tropsch products originally derived from natural gas by Mossgas was also compared with 49-state #2 diesel by characterizing emissions from Detroit Diesel 6V-92 powered transit buses, three of them equipped with catalytic converters and rebuilt engines, and three without.
Technical Paper

Chassis Dynamometer Emission Measurements from Trucks and Buses using Dual-Fuel Natural Gas Engines

Emissions from trucks and buses equipped with Caterpillar dual-fuel natural gas (DFNG) engines were measured at two chassis dynamometer facilities: the West Virginia University (WVU) Transportable Emissions Laboratory and the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA MTA). Emissions were measured over four different driving cycles. The average emissions from the trucks and buses using DFNG engines operating in dual-fuel mode showed the same trends in all tests - reduced oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) emissions and increased hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide (CO) emissions - when compared to similar diesel trucks and buses. The extent of NOx reduction was dependent on the type of test cycle used.
Technical Paper

Emissions from Trucks using Fischer-Tropsch Diesel Fuel

The Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) catalytic conversion process can be used to synthesize diesel fuels from a variety of feedstocks, including coal, natural gas and biomass. Synthetic diesel fuels can have very low sulfur and aromatic content, and excellent autoignition characteristics. Moreover, Fischer-Tropsch diesel fuels may also be economically competitive with California diesel fuel if produced in large volumes. An overview of Fischer-Tropsch diesel fuel production and engine emissions testing is presented. Previous engine laboratory tests indicate that F-T diesel is a promising alternative fuel because it can be used in unmodified diesel engines, and substantial exhaust emissions reductions can be realized. The authors have performed preliminary tests to assess the real-world performance of F-T diesel fuels in heavy-duty trucks. Seven White-GMC Class 8 trucks equipped with Caterpillar 10.3 liter engines were tested using F-T diesel fuel.
Technical Paper

Emissions from Trucks and Buses Powered by Cummins L-10 Natural Gas Engines

Both field research and certification data show that the lean burn natural gas powered spark ignition engines offer particulate matter (PM) reduction with respect to equivalent diesel power plants. Concerns over PM inventory make these engines attractive despite the loss of fuel economy associated with throttled operation. Early versions of the Cummins L-10 natural gas engines employed a mixer to establish air/fuel ratio. Emissions measurements by the West Virginia University Transportable Heavy Duty Emissions Testing Laboratories on Cummins L-10 powered transit buses revealed the potential to offer low emissions of PM and oxides of nitrogen, (NOx) but variations in the mixture could cause emissions of NOx, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons to rise. This was readily corrected through mixer repair or readjustment. Newer versions of the L-10 engine employ a more sophisticated fueling scheme with feedback control from a wide range oxygen sensor.
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

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.