ORNL partners on SuperTruck featured in Obama speech


ORNL is a partner in the ORNL is a partner in the "SuperTruck" vehicle demo that backdropped President Obama's speech. (hi-res image)

On Tuesday, Feb. 18, President Obama unveiled the timing for the next phase of fuel economy regulations for trucks.  He delivered his speech at a Safeway store in Maryland.

Behind the president was a "SuperTruck" demo vehicle built by Oak Ridge National Laboratory partners Cummins and Peterbilt.

"And thanks to a partnership between industry and my administration, the truck behind me was able to achieve a 75 percent improvement in fuel economy over the last year -- 75 percent.  That's why we call this "SuperTruck," President Obama said.

Where's the science in a big truck? The Fuels, Engines and Emissions group at the Department of Energy national lab invented and applied a noninvasive optical probe to measure gas mixing and distribution among the engine's six cylinders to help Cummins validate its computational fluid dynamics models in developing an engine achieving 50 percent efficiency, which rivals fuel cells efficiency.  The probe provides high-fidelity spatial and temporal resolution.

Also relevant to the president's announcement is the research happening in ORNL's Vehicle Systems Integration lab on behalf of EPA and others to determine the best way to characterize and certify advanced truck powertrain greenhouse gas emissions.  The findings will be used by EPA-NHTSA in their rule-making process.

ORNL's VSI lab at the National Transportation Research Center is essentially the only facility large enough to accommodate Class 8 truck powertrains with the needed level of control sophistication.

 -  Bill Cabage,  (865) 574-4399,  February 20, 2014

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