Friday, October 30, 2015

Dual fuel

A dual fuel system is a system that enables engines to run on two different fuels simultaneously. In most cases this involves a diesel engine that has a gaseous fuel added, such as CNG, LNG, LPG or DME. These fuels are generally cheaper than diesel resulting in a cost reduction. Additionally these fuels promote a higher flame speed enabling the combustion energy to be transferred to the engine pistons more effectively and improving combustion. This results in reduced fuel consumption and lower hydrocarbon, carbonmonoxide and soot emissions.

For optimal results it is crucial to use an advanced electronic dual fuel system, such as the one supplied by Lisa Fuel Systems.

Dieselgate: a technical analysis

I never bothered to write a post about Volkswagen's dieselgate. But I found some conflicting stories about what this meant for people driving a Volkswagen. Will Volkswagen's fix lead to reduced torque and fuel economy?

So far Volkswagen has released few details of what they did technically, but the EPA's Notification of Violation to Volkswagen gives us an insight into what Volkswagen did and from this we can deduct what the consequences will be of fixing it.

Many media have written already that Volkswagen used a 'cheat device'. According to the EPA Volkswagen "installed software in the electronics control module (ECM) that sensed when the vehicle was being tested for compliance with EPA emission standards." "During EPA emission testing, the vehicles' ECM ran software which produced compliant emission results". "At all other times during normal operation" ... "software" ... "reduced the effectiveness of the emission control system (specifically the selective catalytic reduction or the lean NOx trap). As a result, emissions of NOx increased by a factor of 10 to 40 times above the EPA compliant levels".

So what does this mean for your Volkswagen? Both in vehicles equipped with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) and a lean NOx trap (LNT), Volkswagen can fix the problem by updating the ECM software.
As a result if your car has SCR then your car will start to consume a lot more reducer (Adblue). There will be no noticeable consequences for performance. Increased Adblue consumption of course will mean that the Adblue reservoir will have to be refilled more frequently.
On a car with a lean NOx trap (LNT), the car will have to burn off the trapped NOx more frequently, which is done using diesel fuel. As a consequence diesel fuel consumption will increase significantly without other consequences for performance. Volkswagen had trouble meeting emission standards when using their LNT technology. Most likely increased fuel consumption led to Volkswagen's decision to cheat the test.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Solar challenge shows potential for solar cars

Yesterday the team of the Eindhoven University of Technology won the solar challenge for 'family cars'. Earlier Delft and Twente won first and second in the race category.
Photo:Bart van Overbeeke, TU Eindhoven

The good thing about Eindhoven's car is that it is a 'normal' car. It has a licence plate and seating for four. Thanks to its solar panels it can drive all day on a single charge, although at limited speed. The race consisted of two stages of 1.500 km each, which were driven on an average speed of 76 km/h. From sunrise to sunset without refilling its battery. For a more northern country like the Netherlands, the range would be about 1.000 km per day. As the car boasts an electric battery as well, it would be possible to extend that range, or drive at higher speeds (up to 130 km/h) if the battery was refilled en route.
Photo:Bart van Overbeeke, TU Eindhoven

All in all this car shows that solar extended electric vehicles are ready to hit the market.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Cost of hydrogen

ITM Power signed an agreement with Toyota to supply hydrogen. This is the first time I know of a contract has been signed for public sale of hydrogen where the price is mentioned. The price is GBP 10/kg (€ 13,63 or $ 15,46). The Mirai can drive ~480 km on 5 kg, so that's a cost of € 0,14/km. In comparison a vehicle driving 20 km/liter of gasoline costing € 1,60 (Dutch price including high taxes) has a cost of only € 0,08/km. Prices will need to come down for hydrogen to become competitive. A target price for hydrogen is € 5/kg, which would be competitive.