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NZ Sensors Warn Of 'Knocks' In Aussie Trucks

NZ Sensors Warn Of 'Knocks' In Aussie Trucks

Release for the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology by ID Communications.

A small Lower Hutt firm's engine management system is helping to reduce exhaust emissions from trucks belonging to one of Australia's biggest companies.

The innovative system has knock sensors that relay information to mini-computers. The sensors have been developed to control what goes on inside the engines of trucks driven by Boral, a worldwide building, transport, timber and energy business.

"These sensors are similar to those that come in modern fuel-injected or turbo-powered cars," Harvey Reid, the managing director of Lower Hutt-based DieselGas says.

But they haven't been used in large diesel engines before. So Boral commissioned DieselGas to develop a dual-fuel - diesel and natural gas - engine management system for its quarrying trucks.

The project to develop the knock sensors was helped by Technology New Zealand, the Government agency that invests in research into new products, processes and services. "The engine in the trucks is the 405 horsepower Detroit Series 60.

It's turbo-charged, and it's one of the latest and best engines for big trucks," Mr Reid says. He says the dual-fuel engines reduce exhaust emissions and have low fuel costs. Diesel is used to start the engine, then the gas supplies the power.

The challenge was to make a knock sensor to monitor the detonation that can occur in a dual-fuel engine if the gas composition changes or the air-fuel ratio is wrong.

"So we had to build the dual-fuel system and a sensor that would give a warning if detonation [knock] occurred inside the engine, to allow the engine management system to take some corrective action." Mr Reid says the alternative-fuel engine management system, which DieselGas built in-house, has been undergoing tests in Boral's trucks for the past year. It has been designed so it can be put into any model or make of diesel engine in the world.

He says the company is negotiating another project overseas that is potentially worth tens of millions of dollars. The extra work would mean more jobs at the Lower Hutt company. -ends- Caption: Harvey Reid of DieselGas Ltd - aiming to reduce the exhaust emissions of big dual-fuel trucks.

Contact * Harvey Reid, 3 Rishworth St, Lower Hutt. Ph: 569-6988. Email: * Philip Mowles, Technology New Zealand at the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, Ph: (04) 498-7845 or 025 815-426. Website:

Prepared on behalf of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology by ID Communications. Contact: Ian Carson (04) 477-2525. Email:

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