Jul 012003
Authors: J.J. Babb

CSU’s engineering department may help clean up the world’s pollution.

Engineering professor Bryan Willson is leading a project with the Partnership for Clean Air in Manila, Philippines, to reduce the city’s air pollution caused by the more than 250,000 motorized tricycles. The tricycles are powered by two-stroke engines which emit a great deal of pollution.

“Two-stroke engines are recognized as a primary contributor to pollution and health problems in the Philippines and many developing nations, but the vehicles powered by these engines are also a key to business and social structure,” Willson said in a press release. “To address the Philippine government’s desire to reduce vehicle pollution and citizen desires to keep tricycles legal, we are adapting direct-injection technology for retrofit on the existing two-stroke engines in Manila.”

The harmful emissions from these tricycles force many citizens in Manila to cover their noses and mouths while walking through the city. According to a press release, the World Bank estimates that particulate emissions alone result in more than 2,000 premature deaths, 9,000 cases of severe respiratory illness and over $420 million of associated economic losses in Manila every year.

Willson with the help of mechanical engineering graduate students Tim Bauer, Nathan Lorenz and Horizon Briggs, mechanical engineer Professor Allan Kirkpatrick and business Professor Paul Hudnut hope to decrease the pollution through replacing the two-stroke engines with direct-injection engine systems.

The idea of replacing the two-stroke engine with direct-injection systems has been used for the past fifty years on the engines that power the natural gas pipelines in the United States.

The Manila Clean 2-Stroke Project was launched at the National Transport Day Celebration on June 1 in Philippines’ National Stadium rally of 40,000 tricycle drivers. There Philippine President Gloria Arroyo met with CSU’s project team.

CSU’s work could help to reduce the pollution from two-stroke engines by up to 90 percent, reduce the fuel consumption by one third and thus may reduce the air pollution in many developing nations, according to the group.

The reason officials in Manila approached CSU’s engineering program is due to the reputation and awards they won two years ago when CSU students used the same direct-injection approach to reduce snowmobile engines’ pollution.

A major problem implementing the new engine tricycles is the fact that many people will not be able to afford the new engine. With the help of Hudnut, the group hopes to implement a business plan to make the tricycles affordable to the population. It is clear the cost benefits of the new systems would greatly outweigh the costs of the new engines, according to the group.

“Retrofitting direct-injection technology onto two-stroke engines used in the developing world is potentially one of the most cost-effective ways of improving air quality in urban areas,” said Bauer in a press release. “The retrofit cost is approximately $150 to $200 per conversion. Retrofitting all of Manila’s two stroke tricycles would have a one time cost between $35 million and $50 million, but would save the city a large portion of the $430 million per year in costs currently incurred due to its air pollution problems.”

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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