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UCR puts big rig on the road for pollution research

UCR puts big rig on the road for pollution research

(March 21, 2001)

The University of California, Riverside will roll out a full-sized big rig designed as a rolling air pollution laboratory Tuesday, March 27, in San Diego at the 11th Coordinating Research Council On-Road Vehicle Emissions Workshop.

The big rig resembles the large trucks that carry groceries or other consumer products, but inside the 53-foot trailer is a state-of-the-art emissions testing lab with global positioning system technology.

Researchers at CE-CERT (College of Engineering-Center for Environmental Research and Technology) will for the first time collect high-quality, detailed emissions measurements of heavy-duty trucks under actual operating conditions, such as climbing a steep hill or changing speeds in stop-and-go driving. In the past, emissions could only be estimated from laboratory testing, or measured with less-precise handheld mobile units. With a better understanding of those emissions, it may be possible to design cleaner and more efficient trucks.

The CE-CERT laboratory, a branch of the UCR Bourns College of Engineering, will provide data important for understanding the impact of heavy-duty engines on the environment, as well as the effectiveness of new fuels, new engines and new ways to control emissions.

The 44,000-pound rig has already been tested at the California Speedway in Fontana, and is ready for use on Southern California freeways. Researchers taking measurements sit in chairs that slide down a center track, to move from one console to another.

Development of the laboratory was supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, California Air Resources Board, South Coast Air Quality Management District and six of the world's seven largest diesel engine manufacturers: Caterpillar, Cummins, Detroit Diesel, Mack, Volvo, and International.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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