21 November 2000

The San Antonio, TX-based Southwest Research Institute™ (SwRI™) is launching a research consortium to develop technological solutions for nonroad, naturally aspirated, diesel engines to achieve the adopted and expected US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tier 3 emission levels set to go into effect in 2008 for 37-75 kW engines.

A kickoff meeting for the Naturally Aspirated Tier 3 (NAT3) consortium is scheduled on 30 November 2000 for all interested parties.

The nonroad engine industry faces special problems meeting the Tier 3 standards because naturally aspirated diesel engines play a predominant role in the various nonroad markets, which consist of vehicles such as forklifts, tractors and front-end loaders. Tier 3 compliance is significantly more difficult for these smaller, naturally aspirated diesel engines than for more expensive turbocharged and intercooled nonroad diesel engines. Through NAT3, nonroad engine, vehicle and equipment manufacturers will investigate pre-competitive technologies aimed at helping diesel engines of less than 75 kW power levels to achieve Tier 3 standards.

Technical goals of NAT3 are to determine technology to achieve and demonstrate compliance with the following:

  • Oxides of nitrogen (NOx) plus non-methane hydrocarbon (NMHC) levels of 4.23 grams per kilowatt-hour (g/kWh).
  • Particulate matter (PM) levels of 0.12 g/kWh.
  • Carbon monoxide (CO) levels of 3.15 g/kWh.

These goals address EPA concerns, including the Tier 3 standards for NMHC+NOx, CO, and the anticipated Tier 3 standard for PM, as well as anticipated future European and Japanese emissions regulations. The emissions goals have an allowance of 10% for deterioration factors and manufacturing variability. NAT3 will try to achieve the emission goals with fuel economy, carbon dioxide (CO2) and specific engine power levels comparable to Tier 2-compliant, naturally aspirated engines.

Three technical projects are proposed to begin the NAT3 program: direct injection, indirect injection, and homogeneous charge combustion ignition (HCCI) configurations. NAT3 is a three-year research program with a yearly renewable contract.

The advantage of a consortium for a member company is that the yearly contribution is leveraged 15 to 25 times, depending upon the number of participants, to provide substantially more research than would be possible by funding from a single member.

SwRI expects 15 to 25 members for NAT3 and has introduced the program to European, Asian, and American companies. The kickoff meeting in San Antonio will be followed by a dinner reception. Interested parties who are unable to attend the kickoff meeting may join NAT3 at any time. For more information, contact Jeffrey A. Leet, manager of the Diesel Engine Section of SwRI’s Engine Research Department, at (210) 522-2567, fax (210) 522-2019, email jleet@swri.org.

Source: SwRI