Modine Manufacturing (MOD), a world leader in thermal innovation, is developing a series of compact heat exchangers designed to capture waste heat from the exhaust stream of a diesel engine and convert this heat into useful power to improve engine efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions.

As part of this development effort, Modine has been involved in a Department of Energy-sponsored program called SuperTruck and has provided these heat exchangers to a Cummins-Peterbilt concept vehicle for comprehensive road testing. During this road testing, the vehicle achieved 10.7 miles per gallon.

The truck also demonstrated a 75 percent increase in fuel economy in head-to-head testing over a 24-hour time period compared with a 2009 baseline truck. These results translated to a 43 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and an 86 percent gain in freight efficiency.

The vehicle was on display at a recent event in Maryland where President Obama announced that work would begin on the next phase of national greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency requirements for commercial trucks.

The Department of Energy (DOE) initiated the multi-year SuperTruck program in 2010 with the goal of designing a heavy-duty Class 8 truck that achieves a 50 percent improvement in overall freight efficiency. The DOE set the goal of attaining part of the overall efficiency gains from engine improvements with the remaining gains coming from other vehicle improvements such as aerodynamics, use of lighter-weight materials, and reduction of friction in the drive train. Class 8 trucks represent only about four percent of the on-road vehicles in the United States but are responsible for almost 20 percent of the country’s on-road fuel consumption.

The Cummins-Peterbilt collaboration was one of several DOE-selected partner projects. The objectives of this partnership were to develop and demonstrate a highly efficient and clean diesel engine, an advanced Rankine-based waste heat recovery system, an aerodynamic Peterbilt tractor-trailer combination, and an auxiliary power unit (APU) to reduce engine idling. Cummins and Peterbilt selected Modine to provide the heat exchangers for the waste heat recovery system.

The Rankine-based waste heat recovery system operates similarly to a conventional stationary power plant. A power fluid is boiled using the heat from the diesel engine exhaust and is sent to a turbine, which converts this heat into mechanical energy. By recovering this energy from the exhaust, the diesel engine uses less fuel and CO2 emissions are reduced. Multiple heat exchangers are required for this system to operate efficiently.