The NRC Phase 1 report (Recommendation 2-2; NRC, 2008) recommended the creation of “a portfolio management process that sets priorities and aligns budgets among the agencies and industrial partners.” In response, the Partnership stated that although this recommendation “will be considered … the ability to directly align budgetary decisions across the agencies, however desirable, may be outside the scope of this voluntarily collaborative organization” (see Appendix C). Given the individual control and oversight of the four agencies, the committee concluded that, although indeed highly desirable, such a portfolio management process is simply not likely to happen with the decentralized nature of the Partnership.
Although prioritization of projects across agencies is unlikely to happen in any meaningful way, the DOE has focused much of its 21CTP effort going forward on three SuperTruck projects, two funded with ARRA funds and one receiving DOE appropriated funds. These projects are directed toward demonstrating feasibility, fuel efficiency, and emissions compliance with full vehicle hardware for Class 8 long-haul freight trucks, as recommended in the NRC Phase 1 report (see Chapter 8 “SuperTruck Projects” in this report). The committee applauds the prioritization of available ARRA and DOE funds on these projects. Although improved collaboration and coordination among agencies would be welcome, the committee judges overall 21CTP program management to have improved since the Phase 1 report.
Finding 2-1. The 21CTP is a virtual organization facilitating communication among four agencies, government laboratories, and industry, but it has no direct control over research activities or funding across the agencies or by its industry partners. The committee continues to believe that the lack of single-point 21CTP authority is far from optimal, although it recognizes that this is necessary because of the various congressional committees that the agencies report to and that provide their budgets.
Recommendation 2-1. The Department of Energy (DOE) is urged to continue to improve the functioning of the 21CTP “virtual” management structure in every way possible. Such improved functioning would include strengthening interagency collaboration (particularly that involving the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] and the Department of Defense [DOD])1 and documenting and publishing specific 21CTP activity within all four agencies.
Finding 2-2. The EPA, DOD, and Department of Transportation (DOT) did not have a well-defined list of the projects and associated budgets that were included under the 21CTP umbrella. This stems in part from the virtual nature of the Partnership and partly, particularly within the DOE, from the natural overlap in activities on batteries, hybrids, materials, and other areas between the activities for light-duty vehicles and the 21CTP. Many of these activities are reviewed at the annual DOE Merit Review and at Directions in Engine-Efficiency and Emissions Research (DEER) conferences, and the new SuperTruck projects include an annual reporting requirement, but there is no dedicated report for the 21CTP.
Recommendation 2-2. The DOE should issue a brief annual report documenting the specific projects within the 21CTP and the progress made. The annual report should provide references to published technical reports from the involved agencies. This would especially help outside groups, future review committees, the Congress, and others to understand the structure, activities, and progress of the Partnership.
The NRC Phase 1 report includes 12 findings and recommendations regarding engines. The Partnership concurred with many of the recommendations and incorporated several of them in the SuperTruck contracts. It did not, however, concur with the two findings and recommendations (NRC, 2008, Findings 3-1 and 3-8 and Recommendation 3-1 and 3-8) about the 50 percent brake thermal efficiency (BTE) goal for 2010 and the 55 percent BTE goal for 2013. However, the committee notes that the 21CTP has now changed the year for meeting the 50 percent BTE goal to 2015 and that for the 55 percent goal to 2018.2
Finding 3-1. The committee reviewed nine diesel engine programs that were funded at a total of more than $100 million by the DOE and industry and that included the High Efficiency Clean Combustion (HECC) program, the Waste Heat Recovery (WHR) program, and others. Some programs met or exceeded their goals, for example achieving a 10.2 percent improvement in brake thermal efficiency (BTE) versus a 10 percent goal, whereas others did not quite meet the goals of 5 percent or 10 percent improvement in BTE. By combining HECC and WHR, each demonstrating greater than 10 percent improvement in BTE, together with other technologies, it should be possible to improve BTE by 20 percent to achieve the original DOE target of 50 percent peak BTE. However, the DOE target of 50 percent peak BTE was not met by the original goal of 2010.
1 Subsequent to the committee’s review of 21CTP programs, the DOE and the DOD entered into the Advanced Vehicle Power Technology Alliance (AVPTA) partnership on July 18, 2011. See, for example, “DOE, Army Alliance Underlines Achieving Energy Security” by Chris Williams, available at http://www.army.mil/article/62727/. Accessed October 18, 2011.
2 The 55 percent BTE goal in the 21CTP updated white paper, “Engines,” (DOE, 2011) is for a prototype engine system in the laboratory by 2015, whereas in the DOE Multi-Year Program Plan, the goal is for 2018 in a prototype engine (DOE, 2010b).