Skip to main content
Feature Story | Transportation and Power Systems Division

Argonne teams with automotive industry to evaluate GHG-reducing methodologies

Collaborating with industry to create modeling for obtaining off-cycle credits

Argonne teams with automotive industry to develop methodologies to evaluate GHG-reducing technologies

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory are helping automobile original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and suppliers determine the potential of new technologies to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG).

Argonne partnered with a multi-national manufacturer, their supplier and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to create a framework to quantify technology benefits that might be applied to obtain technology-specific CO2 credits for the Environmental Protection Agency’s GHG vehicle emission standards. 

Fuel economy impact of the 2-Layer system for a range of applied ambient temperatures. Each bar represents a comparison of fuel economy results for simulations with the system active and inactive. (Image by National Renewable Energy Laboratory [NREL] of Golden, Colorado.)

Auto manufacturers must obtain on-cycle or a combination of on- and off-cycle credits to meet the federal GHG standards.

On-cycle refers to the EPA standardized vehicle drive cycles used to measure and label the fuel economy of a vehicle,” said Forrest Jehlik, a principal engineer at Argonne’s Center for Transportation Research. Off-cycle refers to benefits of advanced technologies that improve GHG emissions but are not easily quantifiable during a standardized chassis dynamometer drive cycle.”

Jehlik said Argonne evaluated different proprietary heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) technologies through Strategic Partnerships Project (SPP) agreements with automotive original equipment manufacturers. The outcome was a suitable methodology for obtaining off-cycle credits. Of course, discussions between EPA, the manufacturer and partners were a critical requirement during and after the methodology development,” he said.

The goal of the project was to determine the real-world benefits of applying advanced HVAC technologies on GHG reduction,” Jehlik said. Actively and passively managing cabin comfort, applying waste heat utilization strategies and HVAC system component modifications were all elements of the project.

Experimental tests for the project were conducted at Argonne’s Advanced Mobility Technology Laboratory (AMTL) four-wheel-drive dynamometer test cell. Multiple vehicles were evaluated with the technology enabled and disabled to determine changes in the energy efficiency and hence GHG emissions. The project involved collecting experimental data and building thermally sensitive cabin models. In collaboration with NREL, researchers applied supervised machine learning to the tens of thousands of modeled trips of various drive cycles and regional annual temperature distributions to determine the real world GHG reduction benefits,” Jehlik said

Development of a methodology for the vehicle manufacturers to petition EPA for off-cycle GHG credits incentivizes the manufacturers to integrate the technology across their fleets. This in turn has real world benefits on reducing petroleum consumption and GHG gases. This aids the manufacturers, the environment, and serves DOE’s mission of petroleum reduction and transportation sustainability, Jehlik said.”