DaimlerChrysler subsidiary Detroit Diesel Corp. (DDC) announced yesterday that it will work with the Dept. of Energy (DOE) and its partners to apply $27 million in federal grants for advancing energy efficiency of EPA 2010 emissions-compliant commercial vehicles.

DDC will work with the Freightliner Group, Sandia National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Shell International Gas Limited on a proposed high efficiency clean combustion program. The aim is to combine several processes into one system for clean, efficient combustion across the entire engine speed-load range. The program will also develop engine systems, hardware and controls that will contribute to thermal efficiency, DDC said.

A separate exhaust energy recovery program is intended to improve heavy-duty diesel engine fuel economy by identifying engine technologies that could recover and use exhaust energy. This program will focus on technologies such as “turbocompounding” to optimize integration of powertrain components.

“For both programs, we are looking at achieving a goal of 10% thermal energy improvement, which if achieved nationally, could translate to a cumulative savings of about 297 million barrels of fuel, about 120 million metric tons reduction of CO2 and about $22 billion in transportation cost savings over a nine-year period starting as early as 2012,” said Carsten Reinhardt, DDC president & CEO.

“We’re constantly reviewing how we design, develop and manufacture our products to make sure we are providing the most productive, lowest emissions technology,” Reinhardt added.

The funding will draw from the DOE’s budget allotted to its FreedomCAR and 21st Century Truck Partnership, a DOE spokesperson told Fleet Owner. In fiscal year 2004 it had appropriated $14.3 million and in 2005 it is requesting $13.9 million.

“The technology from DOE’s 21st Century Truck Partnership is being deployed now and is starting to find its way into commercial trucks,” Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum told Fleet Owner. “It’s an example of a good use of public funds that will be used to advance the energy efficiency of these commercial technologies. The engineering work is very expensive and this is a good recognition that these partnerships do bear fruit.

“There has been tremendous advances made with DOE investments with companies such as Cat and Detroit Diesel to reduce the amount of heat that is just wasted and not used for power,” Schaefer added.

A DDC spokesperson told Fleet Owner that it is too early to comment specifically on the technologies that may be involved.