- The Washington Times - Friday, January 15, 2010

The U.S. Department of Energy is awarding General Motors Co. a $7.7 million grant to accelerate development of four technologies to improve the fuel economy of light-duty vehicles by at least 25 percent while meeting strict future emissions standards.

The GM project integrates technologies including lean combustion, stop-start, active thermal management and an innovative passive selective catalytic reduction (SCR) after-treatment system that collectively push the efficiency of conventional propulsion to its upper limits.

“The DOE grant helps accelerate our efforts in bringing breakthrough technologies to production that optimize fuel efficiency, emissions and vehicle performance,” said Dan Hancock, GM vice president of global powertrain engineering.

While the benefits of lean combustion have been known for years, commercial implementation of lean combustion requires an affordable emissions “after-treatment” system capable of meeting stringent U.S. environmental standards. The funding from the DOE offered under this project enables GM to further develop cost effective and novel lean after-treatment technology.

In addition to a “passive SCR” after-treatment, the advanced engine development project will also employ a stop-start subsystem. Stop-start subsystems eliminate fuel waste during idle, and reduce hydrocarbon emissions, thus reducing demands on the after-treatment system. An active thermal management system will also be developed to further improve both fuel economy and emissions.

The DOE-funded project will involve the 2010 Chevrolet Malibu with an advanced Ecotec direct-injected engine and six-speed automatic transmission. Successful project implementation will enable GM to rapidly deploy this technology because Ecotec engines are globally used in a wide range of light-duty vehicles.

Work on the project will be conducted primarily at GM’s advanced engineering center in Pontiac, Mich., and will begin immediately.

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