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Decarbonizing the Future of Transportation With Cleaner Engines and Fuels

Southwest Research Institute has initiated the newest chapter in the transportation industry's enduring commercial vehicle research consortium. With over 33 years of dedicated research and development, the Clean Highly Efficient Decarbonized Engines 9 (CHEDE-9) consortium has broadened its focus beyond diesel engines to encompass various internal combustion engines and hybrid solutions.

Arial view of heavy truck on a narrow twisting road. Autumn colorful trees by the sides of the road.

Image Credit: ALEX_UGALEK/

Previously named the Clean High-Efficiency Diesel Engine consortium, CHEDE-9 now directs its efforts toward investigating low- and net-zero carbon dioxide (CO2) transportation technologies. Targeting light-duty passenger vehicles, heavy-duty commercial vehicles, and large power systems, CHEDE-9's research encompasses a wide array of decarbonization strategies.

These include the exploration of low-carbon fuels, advanced engine and powertrain systems, and comprehensive life-cycle analyses, amalgamating past achievements with future research endeavors.

CHEDE-9 will have two main areas of concentration. The first research pathway focuses on decarbonized engines and fuels, which includes the study of sustainable low- or zero-carbon fuel development while maintaining high engine efficiency. The second focuses on the development of aftertreatment solutions that reduce NOX emissions. CHEDE-9’s success requires innovation in both research pathways.

Chris Bitsis, Assistant Director, Research and Innovation, Powertrain Engineering Division, SwRI

CHEDE-9 harnesses the latest findings from CHEDE-8 and various other research initiatives led by Southwest Research Institute (SwRI). Notably, it draws upon insights from programs such as the High-Efficiency, Dilute Gasoline Engine (HEDGE-V) and the Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engine (H2-ICE) programs.

The future of mobility is through decarbonization. Those efforts will include making advancements to hybrid-electric vehicles and innovations in internal combustion using hydrogen and other fuel sources.

Chris Bitsis, Assistant Director, Research and Innovation, Powertrain Engineering Division, SwRI

The membership of CHEDE-9 comprises significant engine and vehicle manufacturers, alongside fuels and lubricants companies, as well as other suppliers within the industry. Participation in the consortium provides companies with the opportunity to distribute costs and gain access to a broader scope of research compared to what would be achievable through individual funding efforts.

CHEDE-9 offers three tiers of membership: Founder (100,000 USD/year), Consultant (50,000 USD/year), and Informed (20,000 USD/year). Founder-level members are granted access to all accumulated data, possess voting rights to influence the program's trajectory, and enjoy royalty-free access to the intellectual property generated within the consortium.

SwRI is home to several automotive consortia, such as the Advanced Fluids for Electrified Vehicles (AFEV) consortium, which seeks to advance industry understanding of electric and hybrid vehicle fluids, and the Electrified Vehicle and Energy Storage Evaluation (EVESE) program, which provides test data for member-selected sets of battery cells, among others.

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