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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

Applications and Benefits of Catalytic Converter Thermal Management

A catalytic converter thermal management system (TMS) using variable-conductance vacuum insulation and phase-change thermal storage can maintain the converter temperature above its operating temperature for many hours, allowing most trips to begin with minimal “cold-start” emissions. The latest converter TMS prototype was tested on a Ford Taurus (3.0 liter flex-fuel engine) at Southwest Research Institute. Following a 24-hour soak, the FTP-75 emissions were 0.031, 0.13, and 0.066 g/mile for NMHC, CO, and NOx, respectively. Tests were also run using 85% ethanol (E85), resulting in values of 0.005, 0.124, and 0.044 g/mile, and 0.005 g/mile NMOG. Compared to the baseline FTP levels, these values represent reductions of 84% to 96% for NMHC, NMOG, and CO.
Technical Paper

Design of a Variable-Conductance Vacuum Insulation

This paper describes one approach to the design of a variable-conductance vacuum insulation. In this design, the vacuum insulation consists of a permanently sealed, thin sheet steel, evacuated envelope of whatever geometry is required for the application. The steel envelope is supported internally against the atmospheric pressure loads by an array of discrete, low-conductance, ceramic supports, and radiative heat transfer is blocked by layers of thin metal radiation shields. Thermal conductance through this insulation is controlled electronically by changing the temperature of a small metal hydride connected to the vacuum envelope. The hydride reversibly absorbs/desorbs hydrogen to produce a hydrogen pressure typically within the range from less than 10-6 to as much as 1 torr. Design calculations are compared with results from laboratory tests of bench scale samples, and some possible automotive applications for this variable-conductance vacuum insulation are suggested.
Technical Paper

Federal Test Procedure Emissions Test Results from Ethanol Variable-Fuel Vehicle Chevrolet Luminas

The first round of Federal Test Procedure (FTP) emissions testing of variable-fuel ethanol vehicles from the U.S. Federal fleet was recently completed. The vehicles tested include 21 variable-fuel E85 1992 and 1993 Chevrolet Lumina sedans and an equal number of standard gasoline Luminas. Results presented include a comparison of regulated exhaust and evaporative emissions and a discussion of the levels of air toxics, as well as the calculated ozone-forming potential of the measured emissions. Two private emissions laboratories tested vehicles taken from the general population of Federal fleet vehicles in the Washington, D.C., and Chicago metropolitan regions. Testing followed the standard U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's FTP and detailed fuel changeover procedures as developed in the Auto/Oil Air Quality Improvement Research Program.