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Transportation Technology

Heavy Vehicle Transportation Facility

Bus Maintenance
The Idaho National Laboratory (INL) Transportation Facility is large enough to handle almost any heavy-vehicle integration, demonstration, or verification project. The Transportation Facility bays are specially designed to handle difficult fuel, engine, battery, or fuel cell issues with several air exchanges per hour and the necessary lifts and hoists to accommodate all equipment needs. The Facility is equipped with a 500-hp engine dynamometer that can simulate driving cycles. Its trained technicians and mechanics are certified to perform a variety of specialized tasks and in-house warrantee work on most of the 1,600 light and heavy-duty vehicles in the INL fleet.

Transportation Facility capabilities exist to support complex engine or vehicle modifications and conversions, vehicle instrumentation and testing, complex data analysis, cooling and exhaust system modeling/testing, and large systems engineering/integration programs. The Facility is supported by well-equipped analytical and research laboratories staffed by scientists and engineers from most technical disciplines. INL also possesses considerable economic analysis expertise that is capable of evaluating energy and life-cycle costs on components, vehicles, and transportation systems.

Expertise at the Transportation Facility is focused on testing and analysis of vehicle and component technologies aimed at reducing petroleum use. In addition, INL studies the effect of advanced technology on maintenance and engine life, and the economic impact of technology introduction in a controlled fleet environment.

Energy Storage Technologies Laboratory

Battery Lab
The Energy Storage Technologies Laboratory at  INL is a world leader in the testing and characterization of advanced battery and ultracapacitor technologies. It is the only national laboratory to fully document measurement uncertainty procedures for process and data quality, and has pioneered development of advanced analysis procedures for battery and capacitor scaling, thermal management, capacity fade, and power fade. The Energy Storage Technologies Laboratory offers controlled testing on batteries, fuel cells, and ultracapacitors under conditions typical of electric, fuel cell, and hybrid vehicle applications. Tests can be performed on small laboratory-scale components and large multi-component heavy-vehicle storage systems. The Energy Storage Technologies Laboratory at  INL is the lead Department of Energy (DOE) facility for hybrid vehicle battery performance and life-characterization studies. INL has the expertise to support technology development, requirements and procedures development, performance and life testing, and modeling of advanced energy storage devices and systems.

Advanced Vehicle Testing Activity

Hydrogen Tanks
The Advanced Vehicle Testing Activity (AVTA) is an INL- managed DOE activity that tests advanced technology light-duty vehicles and the infrastructure necessary to support the vehicles. In conjunction with private sector testing partners, the testing has included construction and operation of a hydrogen production and fueling pilot plant. The hydrogen, which is produced onsite by electrolysis, supports testing of internal combustion engine vehicles operating on 100% hydrogen and blends of hydrogen and CNG fuels. The AVTA also is testing hybrid electric vehicles, with 1.2 million miles of maintenance, operations, and fuel economy data accumulated to date. Neighborhood and urban-electric vehicles also are included in the testing activity.

INL develops vehicle test procedures with input from industry, fleet operators, and other stakeholders to accurately measure real-world vehicle performance. These test procedures are then used to test production and pre-production advanced technology vehicles on dynamometers and closed test tracks and in government, commercial, and industrial fleets. By benchmarking the performance and capabilities of advanced technologies, INL directly supports development and validation of industry and DOE technical targets. Testing results also are leveraged to develop component, system, and vehicle models, and hardware-in-the-loop developmental laboratory testing.

Test results are available for the following vehicles:

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Department of energy

DOE Office of Nuclear Energy
DOE-Idaho Office
Battelle