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Penn State Awarded $3 Million for New Fuel Consumption Reduction Project

by on December 14, 2016 6:00 AM

Penn State received $3 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to create and utilize intelligent vehicle networks with the goal of reducing fuel consumption in heavy vehicles in transit by 20 percent.

Hosam Fathy, the Bryant Early Career Associate Professor of mechanical engineering, will lead the project as the principal investigator, and will specifically work with the DoE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy to create these new networks. The goal is to use various technologies to help clusters of heavy vehicles — like freight trucks — that travel together reduce their rate of fuel consumption. The project also aims to help vehicles traveling solo to reduce fuel consumption via advanced communication measures. The use of drafting will also be utilized by researchers, who plan on using advanced communication to coordinate

“To aim for a 20 percent reduction in heavy-duty vehicle fuel consumption is very audacious, and only achievable through the co-optimization of different control actions,” Fathy said in an interview. “Both within a given vehicle and among vehicles. We are very indebted to ARPA-E for providing us with the funding to achieve this goal, collaboratively, as a team.”

Fathy said the methods he and and the research groups he’ll be working with can achieve this goal. However, the combination of various technologies — such as inter-vehicle communication along with others — is what excites him.

In all, ARPA-E’s NEXT-Generation Energy Technologies for Connected and Automated On-Road Vehicles program handed out $32 million in funding for 10 new projects to help discover ways to maximize efficiency.

Karen Thole, the head of mechanical and nuclear engineering at Penn State, expressed similar excitement at the opportunity to work on the project. 

“We are pleased to be working with ARPA-E and the other partners on this project,” Thole said. “I am confident that our faculty can make an impact through their expertise to reduce the fuel consumption of heavy duty vehicles.”

David Abruzesse writes for Onward State
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