SIAT 2009: The call for sustainable mobility

The quest for sustainable mobility and, indeed, fundamental business sustainability, has become the holy grail for an automobile industry worldwide that has been battered by a series of body blows in the last year – first the high prices of steel and oil and rapidly shifting customer preferences, followed by the liquidity crisis that consequently accelerated the downcycle for commercial vehicles – and dogged by the hype and hysteria surrounding climate change and the growing credence given to sc

Autocar Pro News DeskBy Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 29 Jan 2009 Views icon3728 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
SIAT 2009: The call for sustainable mobility
The quest for sustainable mobility and, indeed, fundamental business sustainability, has become the holy grail for an automobile industry worldwide that has been battered by a series of body blows in the last year – first the high prices of steel and oil and rapidly shifting customer preferences, followed by the liquidity crisis that consequently accelerated the downcycle for commercial vehicles – and dogged by the hype and hysteria surrounding climate change and the growing credence given to scare scenarios imputed (primarily) to automotive emissions.

Accordingly, the entire programme of the 11th edition of the biennial Symposium on International Automotive Technology (SIAT) at ARAI in Pune from January 21 has been structured to reflect the new priorities arising from the drive for sustainability. Organised by ARAI in association with SAE India, NATRiP, and SAE International, the symposium and the concurrent SIAT Expo have both attracted record participation this year – 25 keynote and 87 technical papers, and 77 exhibitors – despite the gloom that pervades the industry.

For the first time the abstracts of all the papers, classified by topic and referenced to the sessions at which they will be presented, have been made available in advance on the SIAT Website (siat.araiindia.com). Also for the first time, the Expo has been enhanced with eight ‘technology theatres’ on January 24, at which companies including AVL, Ricardo, and MTS will present technologies and trends that can help the Indian industry get equal to the challenges of a changing market.

As at the last few SIATs, all papers selected for presentation this year too qualify as SAE papers. Safety, emissions, powerplants, vehicle engineering, alternative fuels, and alternative energy, CAE, and NVH remain key topics, but the overarching theme this time is sustainable mobility. The second day’s opening keynote by W.B. Bunn and T.W. Hesterberg of Navistar Inc places this imperative within the context of business sustainability and sets out the critical role that “product stewardship” plays in efforts to achieving this.

to the future

Among the first technical papers on this subject, three concern an important mode of sustainable transport, i.e. the bus. A joint presentation by ARAI and Tata Motors looks at ways to determine the strength of the superstructure of a bus during rollover, in accordance with the Bus Body Code AIS-031 (equivalent to the ECE R66). An engineering evaluation of various aspects – including determining a vehicle family and worst case within that family – necessary for application of the standard is an extremely complicated undertaking given the near-total absence of standard designs. In such a scenario, each of the four test options specified in the code is evaluated for its suitability with respect to practical implementation.

In the following presentation, a VE Commercial Vehicles representative discusses procedures for simulation and analysis of rollover performance, one of the test methods specified by AIS-031, using LS-DYNA and for the correlation of the numerical results with field tests.

The use of weight-efficient high-strength steels in rollover-resistant structures, developed in Europe in the 1990s for compliance with ECE R66, has become more cost-effective as the price of steel doubled in the last year and the price gap to mild steel has shrunk. In the next paper, IDIADA Automotive Technology and Henkel Technologies, both of Spain, introduce a solution for rollover resistant structures using a combination of high-strength steel and structural foam that improves the energy absorption and reduces the final weight of current rollover-resistant bus structures. Several parts of the bus structure have already been manufactured as prototypes for test and manufacturability.

Other keynotes on this theme by presenters from Toyota Kirloskar Motor, Ricardo Ltd, Daimler AG, and the International Energy Agency restrict themselves to environmental impact and concepts for CO2 emissions reduction. While Ricardo believes new technologies will be required to adapt combustion systems to an increasing range of fuel specifications, the Volkswagen AG paper goes one step further, advocating a systems approach to powertrain R&D containing roadmaps for the issues of primary energy for transport and energy carriers, besides the powertrains themselves.

Bus on diesel tech

The largest single focus is on diesel technologies, the subject of 11 papers in the emissions and powerplant categories. At the keynote session following the inauguration, Haren Gandhi and his colleagues from Ford Motor Company will present on NOx control systems it is developing for heavy-duty vehicles sold in high-sulphur-fuel markets. The following paper by Franz Moser of AVL describes ways to improve efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions of heavy duty trucks in long-haul operation by continuous improvement using known technologies, downsizing and downspeeding, and electrification of the powertrain.

The first technical paper in the emissions category is an interesting assessment by the Navistar presenters of health studies on diesel exhaust, which they criticise as inadequate as they are based on emissions from older diesel engines and do not reflect the potential health effects from the current generation of engines. In addition, they submit that epidemiological studies and extensive investigations in laboratory animals have not conclusively demonstrated a causal relationship between exposure to diesel exhaust and lung cancer.

SCR systems for BS4 are the topic of two separate papers by Ashok Leyland and Johnson Matthey. The former presents the results of its work on getting its trucks to meet BS4 using SCR, which it concludes is an attractive and feasible option even for BS5, whereas the latter describes the development and characterisation of vanadia-based SCR systems and the use of computer modelling to refine the optimum volume and urea injection strategy to provide a cost-effective exhaust aftertreatment system.

A Mahindra & Mahindra team discusses its experience developing a BS4 version of its 2.2-litre CRDe engine and its efforts to optimise the overall system using a conventional air intake and without any particle-trapping device in the exhaust, whereas Ecocat Oy presents its work on enhancing the properties of platinum-based diesel oxidation catalysts by introducing palladium into the formulation. Its study combines lab test data and light duty and heavy duty engine tests. In the powerplant section, an interesting paper by a Ricardo sextet suggests that the future of the passenger car diesel will be 3-cylinder designs with specific ratings of 75kW/l and above, with superior NVH characteristics to the inline 4-cylinder configuration now dominant. The British engine design consultancy presents its own 3-cylinder research engine as a potential basis for future application in both, mature and developing markets.

Gasoline engine downsizing and turbocharging have the potential of improving fuel economy by up to 20 percent in Indian conditions, according to a team from Honeywell Transportation Systems, USA, which presents data from a wide range of engines/vehicles set against the results of a simple analysis of engine/vehicles and drive cycles relevant to India. They attempt to demonstrate how the benefits of turbocharging increase with increasing traffic congestion as well as with increasing downsizing, although flow range and surge limit remain challenges while turbocharging smaller-displacement engines And finally, a pair of papers by N Saravanan of Tata Motors present the results of experiments into powering a diesel engine with hydrogen, in the first case in a direct-injected (DI) engine using timed port injection with diesel as an ignition source, which increased brake thermal efficiency by 17 percent and reduced specific energy consumption by 15 percent and smoke by 18 percent compared to a baseline diesel engine, with lower HC, CO, and CO2, but 34 percent higher NOx. The second paper investigates hydrogen port injection with SCR, which additionally yielded a reduction in NOx emissions of up to 74 percent.
RELATED ARTICLES
BRANDED CONTENT: Recognising and empowering the crucial role mechanics play in the automotive ecosystem

auther Autocar Pro News Desk calendar18 Jun 2024

SKF India's initiative to support and honour CV mechanics through their "Install Confidence, Install SKF" truck activati...

Vredestein launches new 21/22 inch tyres for premium SUVs

auther Autocar Pro News Desk calendar17 Jun 2024

The 115-year-old premium European tyre brand owned by Apollo Tyres since 2009 is enhancing its market presence in India ...

New Tata Nexon rolls out from repurposed Sanand Plant

auther Autocar Pro News Desk calendar17 Jun 2024

Within a year of acquiring the former Ford plant in Sanand, Tata Motors has successfully repurposed it and rolled out th...