One of the premier consultants in the field of engineering and environment, Ricardo, will be collaborating with Gas Technology Institute (GTI) in two different projects to develop natural gas engines. This collaboration is in a bid to develop engines that are low on emission levels and can be used as alternatives for diesel engines used in the case of medium and heavy duty commercial vehicles that frequently ply on the highways of California.
Generally, engines that run on diesel emit high levels of nitrogen oxides (NOx), greenhouse gases and particulate matter of diesel. As per reports from the California Air Resources Board, the mandatory air quality standards will be exceeded within 2031 in South Coast Basin if the emissions of NOx do not drop by 90% when compared to the present day standards.
As a part of the first project, Ricardo is planning to test two different ignition systems: one which is a high frequency discharge and the other is a pulsed nano plasma engine, with the intent to assess the effect it has on the performance of engines. They will also provide the support required for GTI to develop ultra-low emission natural gas engines for medium sized to heavy duty trucks. Presently, these types of vehicles are among the top 10 contributors for NOx emissions in the South Coast Air Basin.
They will continue to remain one of the largest emitters of NOx until the entire fleet is replaced by vehicles that adhere to the 2010 emission norms. Both the projects will also be sponsored by the Southern California Gas Co.
As per the President of Ricardo, Clive Wotton, the medium and heavy duty trucks cannot be electrified or hybridized like how SUVs and other passengers have been done. Thus, by using natural gas as an alternative for these transport trucks, it would at least be a step closer towards reducing the NOx emissions.
By developing an ultra low emission natural has engine that emits 90% lower NOx than the current trends, the emission levels will be equivalent to that of an electric heavy duty vehicle including the emission involved in generating the electricity required to power the vehicle.