Fuel and oil: a year-end update
Much has happened this year in the areas of diesel engine oils and alternative fuels. We have approximately one year under our belts with the new API CK-4/FA-4 API performance categories. CK-4 is an improvement over CJ-4 in the areas of oxidative stability, viscosity control (shear stability), air entrainment (aeration), and catalyst/particulate trap durability. CK-4
A zero emissions reality?
Given the current surge of interest in electric vehicle technology, “zero emissions” is a popular product bullet point to tout. Yet, as far as I know, of all transportation fuels, only hydrogen emits no pollutants when it is combusted. In electric vehicles, batteries must be charged, and that charge electricity is provided by your friendly
Is a single automatic transmission fluid possible?
For years, individual hydraulic automatic transmission manufacturers have specified proprietary automatic transmission fluids (ATF) for a variety of reasons. In the early years of ATF development, two manufacturers had significantly differing philosophies about automatic transmission clutch plate friction. Ford used clutch plate materials and fluids that maximized static coefficients of friction and would result in
The truth about biodiesel
My latest rant is the result of reading that Minnesota is going to require B20 biodiesel fuel usage in all diesel engines. Please, don’t misunderstand me: I’m all for biodiesel as an alternate diesel fuel. However, the EPA, environmental activists and “Big Ag” often don’t let the truth get in the way of their mission.
The reality of electric commercial vehicle use
I recently came across two articles that I found staggering. The first asserted that France wants to quit selling gasoline and diesel fuel by 2040 (Britain made a similar announcement a few weeks later). The second detailed Volvo’s announcement that it will equip every car it sells with an electric motor starting in 2019. Since California
Debating the merits of ethanol
I just returned from the National Hot Rod Reunion in Bowling Green, Ky. To get there, I traveled through some of the most fertile soil in America: The Mississippi River bottom in the Missouri “boot heel.” This land used to be planted in cotton as far as the eye could see. But we lost the
What’s the alternative? A look at hydrogen, natural gas and zero-emissions trucks
Physicists tend to be long-term thinkers. If you recall, I mentioned in January 2010 that we would eventually end up using hydrogen fuel for our vehicles and nuclear energy to generate electricity. I also mentioned that gaseous fuels made perfect sense as an interim alternative fuel for our fleets. I had high hopes for algae-based
An update on API CK-4, FA-4 oils
The transition from API CJ-4 heavy-duty diesel engine oils to the new CK-4 and FA-4 lower viscosity oils is proceeding smoothly, according to the API. After almost five years of lab testing and oil development has been completed, approximately 400 CK-4 and 60 FA-4 products have been licensed since December. Several diesel engine manufacturers are
Let’s talk fuel economy and engine emission reductions
I feel like Diogenes, the Greek philosopher who walked around with a lantern searching for an honest man. As a physicist, I forever search for the truth, but I’m often disappointed. Many people would have you believe that the truth is variable depending on your point of view, but that just isn’t the case. Science
Lubricating oils for alternative fuels
A tremendous amount of attention has been focused on alternative fuels. However, little attention has been paid to lubricating oils for use with alternative fuels, and each alternative fuel prefers oils with slightly different compositions. In general, the heavier and more complex a fuel is, the more that is required of its lubricating oil. Diesel,
How the Trump administration may benefit the trucking industry
Now that a new regime is in power in the U.S. government, what do we expect to see that will benefit the trucking industry? With a little help from our federal government, this nation may get on better economic feet. First: infrastructure. Everything I read about newly appointed Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao says she will
Change is coming to U.S. energy policies
The 2016 presidential election is behind us and as of now, the U.S. has a Republican Commander-in-Chief. So, how will this new regime change our energy policies? Let’s run through some scenarios. Currently, cap and trade legislation is simply another form of taxation, and proponents are estimating the receipt of $900 million in cap and trade