ACS News Service Weekly PressPac: October 16, 2013

Engine technology on the road to meeting emissions standards

"Influence of Mileage Accumulation on the Particle Mass and Number Emissions of Two Gasoline Direct Injection Vehicles"
Environmental Science & Technology

An engine design appearing under the hoods of many new cars and light trucks today is close to meeting the latest pollution standards that will require vehicles to emit fewer harmful particles over their lifetimes, scientists are reporting. The new study on emissions from gasoline direct injection (GDI) technology appears in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Matti Maricq and colleagues explain that to meet new regulations, vehicle manufacturers need to make cars both more fuel-efficient and less polluting, which can be a difficult engineering challenge. In 2012, California approved standards to reduce emissions from passenger cars to 3 milligrams, or a millionth of an ounce, per mile over the 2017-2021 automobile model years. Particulate matter in emissions is associated with health problems, such as asthma and other lung conditions. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed the same target and expects it to remain consistent for 150,000 miles of a vehicle’s lifetime. In the meantime, car manufacturers have been putting more cars with GDI technology, which boosts fuel efficiency by injecting gasoline straight into a vehicle’s combustion chamber, on the market. But no one had looked at the emissions picture over the lifetime of these fuel-efficient vehicles to see if GDI cars can also meet the new particulate matter standards.

They tested the particle emissions from two GDI vehicles. They found in these examples that the emissions hovered near or below the limit set by the new California and EPA standards over a lifetime of 150,000 miles.

Credit: iStock/Thinkstock