CO2 Reduction: Part 1 in a 3-part series
DuPont innovation: Speeding the way to higher engine and fuel efficiency & lower CO2 emissions
According to US monitors, carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere have reached record levels of 400 parts per million—the highest in human history. Higher concentrations of greenhouse gases, of which CO2 is the most important, are blamed for raising the temperature of the planet, and for climate change.
Fossil fuel combustion emitted as exhaust gases from the one billion cars currently on the world’s roads is a significant contributor to total CO2 concentrations. Of all the challenges faced by the automotive industry, CO2 emissions reduction is one of the most urgent—and one that calls for changes in the way automobiles are designed.
In response, the industry is developing multiple new vehicle technologies at breakneck speeds to meet tougher global air quality and fuel efficiency regulations, and avoid growing financial penalties for noncompliance.
Automakers are improving engine efficiency, reducing vehicle weight and developing alternative hybrid, hybrid electric and fuel cell power sources. At the same time, the energy industry is developing renewable sources of gasoline, diesel and electricity, and alternative cleaner burning biofuels. (See Biofuels: Latest News in this issue).
DuPont: Helping tackle the challenge
DuPont is collaborating with the auto industry by applying innovative technology and advanced materials to help tackle those challenges and get reliable, affordable solutions to the market faster. The company’s automotive experts are currently working on material technologies for applications ranging from turbo chargers to boost power, to direct injection and multi-speed automatic transmissions. We’re developing heat-, pressure-, and chemical-resistant plastics, elastomers and composites to help the industry add lighter weight power-boost technologies to smaller, more efficient engines.
In this series of three articles, AutoFocus examines key pathways from DuPont to CO2 reduction via:
1. Fuel efficiency
2. EGR, SCR and NOx reduction systems
Solutions to reduce CO2 via fuel efficiency
Improved engine efficiency via turbocharging and engine downsizing
Turbocharging, coupled with smaller displacement engines, are major routes to CO2 reduction. Turbochargers boost the performance of these smaller engines and together can reduce fuel consumption by as much as 20% in gasoline engines and 30% in diesel engines, cutting CO2 emissions by up to 20%.
However, turbochargers create high pressure and temperature with chemically aggressive environments that are tough on many plastics and rubber materials used for ducts, hoses and associated components.
Recent product introductions include:
- DuPont™ Vamac® Ultra HT-OR, pushing the limits of ethylene acrylic elastomers (AEM) in temperature resistance while retaining inherent chemical and oil resistance.
- DuPont™ Vamac® Ultra LS AEM, offering low swell for oil seals.
- DuPont™ Zytel® PLUS 3rd generation nylon resin, using DuPont SHIELD technology for applications requiring long-term property retention at high operating temperatures. Zytel® PLUS and new generations of Zytel® HTN high performance polyamide can replace metals in air induction systems—air intake manifolds, resonators, charged air coolers, turbo covers—and in other automotive underhood and engine applications.
Improved engine efficiency via low friction
More than 65% of energy loss occurs within the engine and transmission. That’s why DuPont is focusing on how materials and science can reduce friction between moving parts and optimize the mass-to-efficiency ratio. Ball-bearing retainers fabricated from DuPont™ Vespel® parts and shapes can improve turbocharger response times through low weight and inertia.
Vespel® waste gate bushings achieve required sealing while reducing shaft wear and abrasion. Highly abrasion resistant, low friction Vespel® SP polyimide sealing rings, thrust washers and wear pads can replace metals and help to reduce energy loss in continuously variable transmissions, transfer cases and torque converters.
Reduced fuel consumption and CO2 emissions via aerodynamics
Improved aerodynamics—better streamlining, lower air resistance and drag, less turbulence—all help to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. DuPont recently worked with Renault to develop a spoiler made of DuPont™ Hytrel® TPC-ET thermoplastic elastomer that reduces turbulence and improves road holding, while adding minimal mass to the vehicle.
Reducing CO2 via cleaner biofuels
The industry drive to reduce CO2 emissions is also driving the adoption of biofuels, because these are cleaner burning and renewable alternatives to fossil fuels. DuPont Industrial Biosciences is leading the way to enable biofuels companies to more cost-effectively manufacture biofuel using unique combinations of enzyme technology, materials science and bioprocessing.
DuPont is also on the brink of commercializing advanced biofuels at its new cellulosic ethanol facility in the city of Nevada, Iowa, which is due for completion in mid-2014. The $200+ million facility will be among the first and largest commercial-scale cellulosic biorefineries in the world.
EGR, SCR and NOx reduction systems
Look out for the second article about technologies from DuPont for CO2 reduction, “Improving EGR, SCR and NOx reduction systems”, appearing in the next issue of AutoFocus.