The winner is announced

On 16 April 2018 the European Commission awarded the Horizon Prize on Engine Retrofit for Clean Air at a ceremony during the Transport Research Arena (TRA) in Vienna, Austria.

The € 1.5 million prize was awarded to the winning consortia consisting of lead company Amminex Emissions Technology, supported by TU Graz, Johnson Matthey PLC and International Council on Clean Transportation Europe.

The results are remarkable: the technology demonstrated that effectively retrofitting diesel vehicles is feasible and the demonstrated reduction of emissions both on test bench and during real driving were remarkable, putting the retrofitted vehicle ahead of many EURO 6 vehicles currently on the market. On the test bench the demonstrated reduction of emissions over very demanding test conditions, which included test at 7°C, was over 80%. The results were even better in real driving on normal roads, where it matched or in some cases was even lower than current EURO 6 vehicle emissions in the recently introduced real driving protocol. The vehicle was also tested on steep mountain roads – and this even more demanding scenario emissions decreased by almost 90%.

The cost of this technology (including installation and reagent costs for 100.000km) is less than €2000, with potential to be further decreased thanks to economies of scale should it be massively deployed.

Why this prize

European citizens in many urban areas suffer from serious health impacts due to air quality issues. This prize aims at reducing the pollution produced by the existing fleet by promoting the development of retrofittable technology (i.e. devices or modification of existing engines). The implementation of the technology should extend the life of retrofitted vehicles while greatly reducing their impact on the urban environment and could allow city authorities to consider measures to encourage their use to solve air quality issues.

Supporting information:

  • According to the European Environment Agency air pollution is the top environmental risk factor of premature death in Europe
  • Tests affirm that on-road NOX emissions of light-duty diesel vehicles differ substantially between laboratory testing and actual on-road driving, with average discrepancies of 4-7 times even for very recent vehicles
  • WHO studies reveal that exposure to air pollutants during pregnancy has been associated with adverse birth outcomes, including reduced foetal growth, pre-term birth and spontaneous abortions
  • Recent studies on air pollution suggest that exposure in early life can significantly affect childhood development and trigger diseases like allergies, asthma or diabetes later in life

Challenge

The Horizon Prize for the cleanest engine retrofit will be awarded to the contestants who will demonstrate on a running vehicle a solution for an existing engine and powertrains that best addresses the issue of greatly reducing emissions of NOx, particles, hydrocarbons in real driving conditions, while ensuring low levels of undesired other pollutants also in the future. The technology should not affect the operational capabilities of the retrofitted vehicles, for instance it should not significantly increase the fuel consumption, at the same time providing sufficient dynamic performance for normal vehicle driving.

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