On The Move

CU-ICAR partners with South Carolina-based advanced technology natural gas engine company EcoDual

Mar 7, 2013

Share This Article

GREENVILLE, SC - March 7, 2013 - One of the nation's foremost centers for automotive innovation has partnered with a market leader in advanced technology research and development to advance commercial availability of natural gas engine systems for heavy duty diesel trucks.

The Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) and Beaufort, S.C.-based EcoDual Inc. will focus their combined resources on conversion of diesel engines already on the road to natural gas operation and reduction of exhaust emissions.

The team subsequently will address challenges associated with optimizing natural gas use in new diesel engines under development by OEMs. The team also will research strategies to develop clean combustion engines aimed at minimizing the need for costly and cumbersome "exhaust after-treatment" -- a strategic expertise found uniquely in the CU-ICAR faculty.

"We expect to see a significant uptake in the use of natural gas for heavy duty vehicles in the immediate future, driven by the projected low prices of this fuel compared to diesel," said Zoran Filipi, Timken endowed chair in vehicle system design at CU-ICAR. 

"The increased use of natural gas for transportation is the most cost-effective way to utilize the vast quantity of newly discovered domestic reserves," Filipi said. "This new research relationship with EcoDual is very exciting for us, and will unlock the full potential of this technology, including the possibilities to make engines run cleaner. 

"This partnership creates outstanding opportunities for our students and faculty to engage in transforming the commercial fleets on the nation's roads," he said.

EcoDual's system allows conversion of a heavy duty diesel to run on a combination of natural gas and diesel fuels. More than 60 percent of the engine's power is generated by burning natural gas. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently approved the first EcoDual conversion systems for the 15L Cummins ISX, the nation's most popular Class 8 heavy duty diesel engine. Development is underway for additional Cummins and Detroit Diesel heavy duty engines.

In dual-fuel operation, trucks maintain the same torque, power and fuel economy as when they run on straight diesel fuel. Systems can be configured for ranges of more than 800 miles on compressed natural gas or liquefied natural gas.

Equally important, there is no "range anxiety" with EcoDual systems, as they automatically run on 100 percent diesel if the natural gas tanks ever run out.

Scott Myers, EcoDual's chief executive officer, said, "CU-ICAR is a key development partner who will help us accelerate next-generation product development, and will enable us to broaden our market penetration. 

"Our partnership with CU-ICAR provides tremendous faculty expertise and world-class development facilities.  We look forward to this collaboration."

The Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR)
CU-ICAR is an advanced technology research campus where academia, industry and government organizations collaborate to create a global venue for the automotive industry. The 250-acre campus in Greenville, S.C is composed of five technology neighborhoods, each designed uniquely for optimizing an innovative and collaborative environment. CU-ICAR is home to Clemson's Department of Automotive Engineering, which offers masters and Ph.D. programs and is conducting leading-edge applied research driven by industry needs.

EcoDual Inc.
EcoDual Inc. is an independent provider of patent-pending dual fuel conversion systems enabling existing heavy duty diesel trucks to operate on a combination of diesel and natural gas. The EcoDual team has designed, developed and sold natural gas systems for heavy trucks globally for more than 15 years.