In a new study, MIT researchers have developed a new concept for hybrid heavy-duty trucks.
Heavy-duty trucks are very useful to transport many of the world’s goods from farm or factory to market.
Currently, all heavy-duty trucks are powered by diesel engines. They contribute to a big portion of greenhouse gas emissions.
In the current study, the team aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in these heavy trucks. They developed a new way of powering these trucks.
In their design, they use a plug-in hybrid engine system, in which the truck would be powered by batteries.
The engine will be a spark ignition engine, not a diesel engine. This new engine allows the trucks to conveniently travel the same distances as today’s conventional diesel trucks.
It will be a flex-fuel model that could run on pure alcohol, pure gasoline, or a mixture of these fuels.
The team suggests that this flex-fuel hybrid option provides a way for trucks to gain early entry into the marketplace.
Moreover, it can produce much less nitrogen oxide (NOx), a major component of air pollution, and it can emit far less greenhouse gas than pure gasoline engines.
Compared with all-electric heavy-duty trucks proposed by Tesla, the new trucks designed by the team would weigh far less and be more fuel-efficient.
The researchers ran detailed computer modeling to analyze desired engine characteristics.
They also screened the results using an artificial intelligence system and found clear indications of the most promising pathways.
The finding showed that such substitutions can be quite practically and financially feasible.
The team suggests that the new method could drastically curb pollution, increase efficiency, and reduce or even eliminate their net greenhouse gas emissions.
The researchers of the study are MIT Energy Initiative and Plasma Fusion and Science Center research scientist Daniel Cohn and principal research engineer Leslie Bromberg.
The finding is published in SAE Technical Paper Series. It was presented at the annual SAE International conference.
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