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University of Houston wins $1 million EPA grant to test diesel technology on buses
Date:3/18/2011

Diesel fuel tends to conjure up images of smoke-belching vehicles sputtering down the road, but a University of Houston research team is trying to improve the fuel's soiled reputation in the transportation world.

As part of that effort, the UH Texas Diesel Testing and Research Center has received a $1 million grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to test a new technology designed to reduce the amount of ozone pollutants emitted by diesel-powered vehicles and equipment.

The grant money is being used to retrofit 10 school buses operated by the Houston Independent School District and then evaluate the equipment's performance over the next two years in the laboratory as well as on the road.

"Houston is an ozone non-attainment area due, in large part, to the significant amount of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sooty particles released into the air by diesel-powered vehicles and equipment," said Rachel Muncrief, the grant's lead investigator and a UH research assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering. "Retrofits have the potential to significantly reduce the total annual NOx emissions, and they also provide a cheaper alternative to completely replacing dirty diesel engines."

The EPA grant expands on the research and testing the diesel center has been doing since its inception in 2003.

Located in the UH Energy Research Park just south of the university's campus, the diesel center focuses on testing and conducting applied research on technologies designed to decrease emissions and improve fuel economy on heavy-duty diesel trucks and engines. Researchers test and evaluate how well a new technology performs in actual use and in the laboratory.

"We are focused on clean diesel research and technology development," said Mike Harold, M.D. Anderson professor of chemical engineering and the diesel center's principal investigator. "The public has misconstrued diesel as being dirty that it's an old technol
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Contact: Laura Tolley
ljtolley@uh.edu
713-743-0778
University of Houston
Source:Eurekalert

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