Near-zero emission engines ... on gasoline?

August 20, 2002

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (Aug. 20, 2002) - The University of California, Riverside (UCR) will release the latest significant findings of its Study of Extremely Low Emission Vehicles (SELEV) program on Wednesday, September 4, 2002.

Findings of the study of internal combustion engine "clean technology" will be discussed at UCR's Bourns College of Engineering, Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT) during the first Clean Mobility Symposium, "Cars, Fuels and the Future of Air Quality."

The UC Riverside Clean Mobility Symposium begins at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, September 4 at the CE-CERT facility, 1084 Columbia Avenue, Riverside, CA 92507.

The three-year study is being conducted to determine how low the level of emissions from certain internal combustion engines can go, how to measure those extremely minute quantities of emissions, and how new emission control technologies will affect overall air quality.

Extremely low-emission internal combustion engines that are powered by gasoline - engines that are available in dealer showrooms today - can have significant environmental impacts without requiring alternative technologies, according to CE-CERT.

The symposium will feature a panel discussion examining the real-world impact of near-zero emission internal combustion engine vehicles, measurement challenges, and impacts caused by increasingly efficient emissions control technologies. The panel also will discuss the environmental impact of improved gasoline and internal combustion engine technologies.

Leading academic, industry, and government experts participating in the panel are:CE-CERT was established in 1992 in part with a $10 million endowment from Ford Motor Co. to the UC Riverside Bourns College of Engineering. It is a model for partnerships among industry, government, and academia. CE-CERT serves the role as the "honest broker," producing sound research and data to improve the technical basis that influences regulations and public policy decisions.

"The SELEV project is significant in that most people will continue to drive internal combustion engine vehicles for many years," says CE-CERT Director Joseph Norbeck, professor of environmental engineering. "This study is designed specifically to determine how this engine technology can continue to decrease emissions while delivering the performance consumers expect from their cars."

CE-CERT established the SELEV program in June 2000 to understand the impact that new-generation vehicles have on overall air quality. In the early 1990s, it was widely believed that a change to alternative fuels would be required to achieve the mandate for ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEV) established by the state of California.

The California Air Resources Board now lists more than 90 gasoline-fueled car models that meet the ultra-low emission vehicle standard for the 2002 model year and six that meet the Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV) standard, with more expected to be added during the coming year.

"California has established itself as the place where the cleanest vehicles in the world will be found, so it is only fitting that CE-CERT at UC Riverside be leading the way in not only testing these super-clean internal combustion engines, but finding new ways to measure them," says Alan Lloyd, chairman of the California Air Resources Board.

ULEVs emit about half as many smog-forming hydrocarbon gases and carbon monoxide as Low Emission Vehicles, themselves significantly cleaner (by more than two-thirds) than vehicle standards from as recent as 1993. The next rung down the emissions ladder includes SULEVs, which have far fewer tailpipe emissions - meeting standards that allow about one-fifth the smog-forming hydrocarbon gases and less than one-tenth the nitrogen oxide emissions of the ULEV standard.

"Honda is committed to improving its internal combustion engines as well as exploring other alternative technologies," says Ben Knight, vice president of research & development, Honda R&D Americas, Inc. "Our goal is to help solve the air quality problem, and we are excited by the ability of gasoline-powered vehicle technology to reduce emissions to near-zero levels and to positively contribute to better air quality."

"Given the ready availability of petroleum and an existing infrastructure to safely and reliably deliver transportation fuels, it's heartening to see that consumers do not have to trade mobility for environmental progress," says Dave Reeves, president of ChevronTexaco's North America Products.

For further information about the September 4 symposium, please contact Tom Fulks or Heather Hellman, Green Car Marketing & Communications, (805) 541-0477 or

The University of California, Riverside offers undergraduate and graduate education to nearly 15,000 students and has a projected enrollment of 21,000 students by 2010. It is the fastest growing and most ethnically diverse campus of the preeminent ten-campus University of California system, the largest public research university system in the world. The picturesque 1,200-acre campus is located at the foot of the Box Springs Mountains near downtown Riverside in Southern California. More information about UC Riverside is available at or by calling 909-787-5185.

University of California - Riverside

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