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WVU scientist earns $2.5 million to help pump the brakes on diesel emissions

A portrait of Hailin Li

Hailin Li, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, earned $2.5 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop a software platform that simulates heavy-duty diesel engines in an attempt to cut exhaust emissions. (WVU Photo/Paige Nesbit)

As part of a U.S. Department of Energy initiative to slash carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles, one West Virginia University engineer will target heavy-duty diesel engines.

Story by Jake Stump, Director of Research Communications
Photos by Paige Nesbit, Director of Marketing and Communications


Hailin Li, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, will spearhead the development of a software platform that conducts a fast-integrated simulation of heavy-duty diesel engines, equipped with an advanced after-treatment system. The goal is to speed up new engine technology development to improve engine efficiency and reduce exhaust emissions, Li said. 

In turn, this will help cut greenhouse gases and pollutants from the heavy-duty transportation sector, he added.

Joining him on the project are his WVU mechanical and aerospace engineering colleagues Arvind ThiruvengadamCosmin Dumitrescu and Xueyan Song, two DOE laboratories and three industry partners.

The project is funded by a $2.5 million award from the DOE in its attempt to decarbonize the transportation sector and enhance the infrastructure needed to support the Biden Administration’s goal of a net-zero emissions economy by 2050. Li’s is one of 24 DOE-funded projects under this national effort. According to the DOE, medium- and heavy-duty trucks account for nearly 25% of transportation sector emissions.

The research team will develop the technologies that enable the fast simulation of heavy-duty diesel trucks under actual operation, with minimum computation resources which will eliminate the gap between results measured in laboratory and observed in actual on-road operation.

“Our project accomplishes three things,” said Li, who’s also part of the WVU Center for Alternative Fuels Engines and Emissions. “It’s a strong collaboration between university, government and industry partners; it helps solve real industry problems; and the technology developed will help to significantly improve the efficiency of heavy-duty diesel engines and cut greenhouse gas emissions.”

Li, of the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, has expertise in the areas of advanced combustion concepts, combustion and exhaust emissions from internal combustion engines and the application of alternative fuels including both liquid and gaseous fuels. Li has conducted extensive research projects and built his expertise in edge-cutting areas tending to reduce the exhaust emissions and improve the fuel economies of internal combustion engines.



CONTACT: Paige Nesbit
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Jake Stump
WVU Research Communications

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