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New technology to Monitor Vehicle Emissions on the move

A new technology has been launched that calculates the true emissions of a moving vehicle, reporting the level and composition of its pollutants.

Eco-Log takes information from a vehicle’s On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) system to predict its emissions characteristics, rather than directly measure the gases in the exhaust pipe. This data is then transmitted back to base over the mobile phone network.

A Prototype Eco-Log ‘black box’ is currently fitted to a Ford Focus 1.6 TDCi. The Focus is one of the new generation cleaner diesels, coming equipped with a diesel particulate filter and an exhaust gas recycler as well as a diesel catalyst.

Outputs from the Eco-Log can make sober reading. Chart 1 shows the Focus running quietly for 1km on a level road; Chart 2 shows it travelling a 1km distance with hard acceleration and overtaking.

The bars show grams per km of CO2 and the main diesel pollutants: HC (Hydrocarbon), Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx), Carbon Monoxide (CO) and Particulate Matter (PM).

Alexander Willard, CEO and founder of Lysanda, comments on the immediate benefits for fleet operators: “The Eco-Log is aimed initially at Fleet Managers, to enable them to monitor how their vehicles are being driven and the exact fuel economy each one achieves in its daily operations, mile by mile, minute by minute. It could help them improve emissions efficiency by identifying particularly heavy footed drivers and particularly inefficient vehicles. We have estimated that this could generate savings of at least 5% per year.”

He continues: “In the future, the Eco-Log may also assist fleet operators when the London Low Emission Zone is introduced in 2008. This technology will allow fleet operators to prove the true emissions of their vehicles, and therefore demonstrate compliance with the restrictions imposed for the zone.”

Eco-Log has been developed by Essex-based automotive software company, Lysanda. Lysanda was founded in 2004 by Alexander Willard, a former power-train specialist and programme manager with Ford and Jaguar. The company received a portion of its initial funding from EEDA, the East of England Development Agency. Trade & Industry Secretary Alastair Darling recently visited EEDA in Cambridge and took a demonstration drive to see the Eco-Log in operation. He said: “The device designed by Lysanda is just the sort of amazing idea we want to support”.