Ricardo developing medium and heavy-duty natural gas engines

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UK engineering firm Ricardo has announced that it is working on two contracts to develop natural gas engines for medium and heavy-duty commercial vehicles in California.

The company says that it will partner with the Gas Technology Institute (GTI) on the projects, which are co-funded by the Southern California Gas Company, to develop units that drastically cut the levels of NOx, particulates and greenhouse gases produced by equivalent diesel technology.

On the first project, Ricardo will support development and testing of advanced natural gas ignition systems, as part of GTI’s collaboration with the California Energy Commission.

Ricardo says that its role will be to conduct testing of two different advanced ignition systems – High Frequency Discharge (HFD) and Pulsed Nano Plasma (C2) – so that their effect on engine performance can be measured and evaluated.

The second project will see Ricardo support GTI in the development of an ultra-low emission natural gas engine for on road class 4-7 medium and heavy-duty trucks, sponsored by the South Coast Air Quality Management District. These classes of diesel vehicles are currently among the top 10 sources of NOx emissions in California’s south coast air basin, and are projected to remain one of the largest, even as the legacy fleet of older and higher polluting vehicles are replaced by vehicles meeting 2010 emissions standards.

“Medium and heavy-duty trucks are an essential part of the transportation mix in California,” commented Ricardo president Clive Wotton. “But they are also significant contributors to total NOx emissions. Trucks such as these are not as amenable to the type of electrification and hybridization approaches that have been applied very successfully in the passenger car and SUV sector. However, the substitution of diesel with natural gas as a transportation fuel for these classes of vehicle offers some attractive potential benefits in reducing NOx emissions.”

February 2, 2016

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Dean has been with UKi Media & Events for over a decade, having previously cut his journalistic teeth writing and editing for various automotive and engineering titles. He combines extensive knowledge of all things automotive with a passion for driving, and experience testing countless new vehicles, engines and technologies around the world. As well as his role as editor-in-chief across a range of UKi's media titles, he is also co-chair of the judging panel of the International Engine of the Year Awards.

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