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by Yevgeny MULTYKH, Cand. Sc. (Hist.), Assistant Professor, Transportation Jurisprudence Department, Moscow Motor Road Institute
The exhibition grounds of the State Research Center "NAMI" are never idle. Displayed here are all the various innovative technologies and hardware related to automanufacturing and all that goes with it. And environmental protection is not neglected either.
Environment figured prominently at a Moscow-held international exhibit on March 23 - 26, 2004, with the focus on ecologically friendly automobiles. Taking part were automanu-facturers from this country and abroad.
In his opening address "NAMI" Director General A. Ipatov stressed the importance of ecological safety of autovehicles for people's health.
Not only in terms of the harmful exhaust fumes choking urban and natural environment, but also in noise pollution, vibration, topsoil damage, garbage and junk.
In their crusade for ecologically safe transportation many industrialized countries have imposed stiff EURO standards for exhaust fumes so as to minimize the health hazard. These regulations have impelled automanufacturers to step up work in the making of ecologically pure vehicles.
Common hydrogen holds good promise as an ecofuel. It has a high energy per weight ratio, 120.7 J/t. Combining with oxygen in an electrochemical generator, it induces direct conversion of chemical energy into electricity with a very high efficiency factor. The hydrogen combustion products do not contain toxic substances either.
One exhibit on display was an internal combustion engine that can work on a hydrogen synthetic gas fuel.* The exhaust fumes contain no carbon monoxide or methane; and the concentration of nitrogen oxide is down by 80 percent, and of carbon dioxide - by 20 percent.
Another setup allows to obtain a hydrogen mixture just onboard via catalytic decomposition of methanol, with the heat released thereby disposed of and utilized.
"NAMI" promulgated a program for the manufacture of diesel engines conforming to the EURO standards. Guests and potential consumers could see: microprocessor-controlled fuel technology; an upgraded cylinder-and-piston setup; a system neutralizing exhaust fumes; an electronic system of engine and automobile control as well as other novel devices. Also, new grades of lubricants and fuels with a low concentration of sulfur were on display.
Other firms and companies came up with their products, too. For one, a technology of using liquefied gas as motor fuel in cars and trucks, which reduces the exhausts of nitrogen oxides and smog-forming particles by 25 percent, and of superfine particles-by 30 to 35 percent.
A fuel system on the Gazel car - developed by the Moscow-based Helimash Company-was a major attraction. It comprises a cryogenic fuel tank filled with liquefied natural gas and methane at minus 162°C; a reinforced box with safety valves and standard gas-regulating fixings; a heat exchanger/evaporator and facilities ensuring the safe drainage of gas. The driver's cab is furnished with a double-throw fuel switch ("gas/tank") and an indicator of the fuel level. The gas fuel mixture was developed by "SAGA" of Moscow.
There was something else to catch everybody's notice, too-in particular, air detoxification systems. "NAMI" presented a neutralizing filter for diesel engines bringing down the discharges of carbon oxide down to 10 percent, hydrocarbons - to 20 percent and disperse particles - to 10 percent. The rated service life of this filter holds for no less than 250,000 km logged.
The "NATI" center (Novy Byt, Chekhov District, Moscow Region) brought in an air regenerator for driver's cabs in dump trucks, bulldozers, excavators and other heavy machines.
Our foreign guests did not come empty-handed either. Thus, the Hollingsworth&Vose GmbH&CO. KG of Germany brought a whole range of automobile filters made of paper stacks, composites and non-cloth materials. And the Engines Engineering of Italy displayed ecologically safe car designs.
What with the turbulent, go-ahead automobile revolution and so many cars and other vehicles congesting our cities and towns, the only way out for us is to develop ecologically friendly transit facilities. Such was the message of the automotive industry exhibition in Moscow.
*See: A. Eidelman, "New Engines on Display", Science in Russia, No. 3, 2004. - Ed .
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