Brian H West

Group Leader | Fuels and Engines Research, NTRC

Brian is Group Leader for the Fuels and Engines Research Group at the National Transportation Research Center, where he also manages ORNL's Fuel Economy Information (FEI) Project. The FEI project supports DOE and EPA by preparing and distributing the annual Fuel Economy Guide, as well as maintaining and continuously updating the website Brian’s research at ORNL has involved vehicles, fuels, engines, lubricants, and emissions control technologies. His work with Lean NOx Traps was cited by EPA in the ultra-low diesel sulfur rule in 2000; he led portions of DOE’s Intermediate Ethanol Blends Program, enabling EPA’s approval of the waiver allowing E15 in 2001 and newer vehicles (2010 and 2011 rulings); EPA’s Tier 3 emissions rule allows NMOG calculations from his publications on ethanol blends research to be used in certification, saving the expense of exhaust speciation. Brian was also a member of a team that received an R&D100 award for their work on advanced lubricants incorporating ionic liquids. His current research is focused on demonstrating the fuel economy and GHG benefits of high octane fuels, vehicle research to support development of accurate, up-to-date, and useful driving tips on the website, and supporting the Co-Optimization of Fuels and Engines Initiative.

The Fuels and Engines Research Group conducts leading edge R&D for the Department of Energy, industrial partners, and other federal agencies investigating advanced engine and combustion concepts, novel fuels and advanced aftertreatment systems. Our team specializes in research on high-efficiency combustion, emissions controls, emissions chemistry, renewable fuels, and lubricant technologies using innovative diagnostic instruments and research procedures developed within ORNL. The applications include engines for transportation, distributed energy, and portable power. Research spans basic chemistry and materials to components to engine systems to full vehicle applications.  Research at NTRC leverages one-of-a-kind expertise and facilities at ORNL in the areas of leadership computing, neutron sciences, microscopy, materials characterization, advanced manufacturing, and biosciences.

Career highlights:

  • Group Leader, Fuels and Engines Research (2017-present)
  • Manager of Fuel Economy Information Project (2017-present)
  • Deputy Director of Fuels, Engines, and Emissions Research Center (2008-2017)
  • Co-Lead of DOE High Octane Fuels Study (2013-2016)
  • Co-Lead of DOE Intermediate Ethanol Blends Program (2007-2013)
  • Co-chair for APBF-DEC NOx Adsorber Tech Team (1999-2005)
  • Led Federal Highway Administration project to develop data-based modal vehicle fuel consumption and emissions tables for use in traffic models (1993-1997)
  • Led special projects under auspices of The Federal Methanol Fleet project (1988-1992)


  • M.S., Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Tech, 1988
  • B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Clemson University, 1986


Fellow of SAE International (2012); active as an author, reviewer, and organizer.
Served on SAE Fellows Committee (2014-2016)
SAE Harry L. Horning Memorial Award for best 2013 paper focused on the mutual adaptation of fuels and internal combustion engines (2015).
R&D 100 Award, jointly among ORNL, GM, Shell, and Lubrizol, "Ionic Liquid Anti-Wear Additives for Fuel-Efficient Engine Lubricants," R&D Magazine (2014).
Science Communicator, UT-Battelle Awards Night, 2012
DOE R&D Award for Leadership in Vehicle Testing during Intermediate Ethanol Blends Program (2010)
SAE Lloyd L. Withrow Distinguished Speaker Award (2009)
Two patents