Cummins develops ethanol engine to cut carbon emissions

Cummins develops ethanol engine to cut carbon emissions

Partnership with California Energy Commission could cut output by 80%.

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July 15, 2014

Columbus, Indiana – Diesel engines producer Cummins Inc., with the help of the California Energy Commission (CEC), has developed an ethanol-burning engine that could reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by as much as 80% compared with a baseline gasoline-powered medium-duty truck.

More than 1,000 miles and 1,500 hours have been accumulated on the ETHOS 2.8L engine over the past two-and-a-half years, demonstrating that this technology is capable of far exceeding the 50% CO2 emissions reductions outlined in the project's goals. A final on-road validation testing phase has been underway in the Sacramento, California, area since June and continuing into this month.

"The Cummins ETHOS engine, developed through a research partnership with CEC, clearly demonstrates that by combining innovative engine design and combustion approaches with low-carbon alternative fuels, we can determine a path to significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions," says Wayne Eckerle, Cummins Vice president of research and technology.

The Cummins ETHOS 2.8L is designed specifically to use E-85, a clean-burning blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. To take full advantage of the favorable combustion attributes and potential of E-85, the engine operates at diesel-like cylinder pressures and incorporates advanced spark-ignition technology. It delivers the power (up to 250 hp) and peak torque (up to 450 lb-ft) of gasoline and diesel engines nearly twice its 2.8L displacement.

The Cummins ETHOS 2.8L engine also incorporates an integrated stop-start system, which further reduces fuel consumption and emissions. In stop-start mode, the engine shuts down after the vehicle comes to a complete stop and the brake pedal remains depressed. As the driver's foot is lifted from the brake, the system automatically starts the engine to seamlessly allow acceleration from the stop.

Cummins worked closely with Allison Transmission to integrate the 2000 Series transmission for smooth and efficient stop-start operation. The transmission is equipped with hydraulic circulation features to ensure smooth operation and quick vehicle launch during stop-start driving.

Additional partners in the project included Valvoline, which provided NextGen engine oils specifically designed for lower CO2 emissions, and Freightliner Custom Chassis, which provided a prototype MT45 Class 5 step-van vehicle.

Source: Cummins Inc.