Cleaner emissions. Renewable fuels. Increased fuel economy for heavy-duty diesel vehicles. The UH Texas Diesel Testing and Research Center is challenged with all three. Located in the university’s Energy Research Park, the center works with local, state and federal entities to test vehicles and measure fuel economy and effectiveness of emissions reduction equipment.
“The public has construed diesel as being dirty. It’s an old technology, but what is not recognized often enough is that diesel is more efficient,” said Professor Mike Harold, principal investigator. “If you can make it clean, you can kill two birds with one stone. You save fuel and reduce CO2 emissions, and you have exhaust coming out that’s much cleaner than the dirty diesel of the past.”
Using something called a chassis dynamometer, essentially a treadmill for large scale vehicles and one of only a few in the country, the center collects data in a controlled environment.
“The exhaust basically is sent through a bunch of analyzers that give real time data about the composition of the exhaust,” he said. “Over a 20 minute experiment, we are able to get back very precise information about the emissions.”
Together with industry leaders, professors, graduate and undergraduate students work on emissions research and on cutting edge studies that could benefit vehicles in the future.
“What we’re trying to do is apply the basic research to applied technology development,” said Harold. “Getting involved with industrial partners with more applied problems that have more direct relevance to society.”
The Texas Diesel Testing and Research Center is part of what’s happening at the University of Houston. I’m Marisa Ramirez.
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