Energy Institute team awarded $1.2 million to study natural gas engine efficiency

April 13, 2018. A team of researchers from Colorado State University’s Energy Institute has received a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to look at making natural gas engines as efficient as diesel engines in the same class. Specifically, the researchers will develop medium- and heavy-duty, on-road natural gas engines that are as efficient as traditional diesel engines often used in long-haul 18-wheeler trucks, garbage trucks and delivery trucks.

   The research could result in cost savings and improve air quality. Currently, natural gas is a cheaper and cleaner fuel than diesel. Natural gas engines emit fewer carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to climate change, less particulate matter (PM) that can affect the heart and lungs and cause serious health effects, and fewer oxides of nitrogen (NOx) that contribute to ground-level ozone and smog.

   For these reasons, the team is excited to join together with commercial partners Cummins Inc. and Woodward, Inc. to tackle this engine technology challenge. The team includes Associate Professor Daniel Olsen; Assistant Professor Bret Windom; and Professor Anthony Marchese, all in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

   “We are excited to get to work alongside respected industry partners like Woodward and Cummins to advance natural gas engine technology,” said Olsen.