UW-Madison’s Dr. Andrea Strzelec Wins $2.6M DOE Grant to Accelerate Advancements in Near-Zero-Emissions Vehicles

MADISON, Wis.—Dr. Andrea Strzelec has been selected to receive a $2.6 million award from the US Department of Energy (with a $3.3M total budget) for her project “Comprehensive Integrated Simulation Methodology for Enabling Near-Zero Emission HD Vehicles” to accelerate advancements in near-zero-emissions vehicles. Dr. Strzelec is the program director for the Master of Engineering in Engine Systems (MEES) in the Interdisciplinary Professional Programs Office of the College of Engineering and an honorary associate research scientist in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Transportation accounts for approximately 30% of total US energy needs and generates the largest share of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. “We want to help engine manufacturers define the best combined engine-aftertreatment system to deliver the lowest possible emissions and mitigate the climate impacts from carbon dioxide, while continuing to improve engine efficiency and performance,” says Strzelec. “Even if we switched to 100% electric vehicles today, the current grid isn’t equipped to provide enough energy—or clean energy—to do that, since most electricity in the US is derived from fossil fuels that generate CO2. We can have more immediate impact on climate change by improving engine efficiency and emissions because the infrastructure is there to service the existing fleet.”

Dr. Strzelec is the principal investigator for the project team, which includes UW Mechanical Engineering professors Mario Trujillo and Sage Kokjohn, as well as Gamma Technologies, Isuzu Technical Center of America, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, FEV North America, Umicore Autocat USA, and Marathon Petroleum Corporation. Gamma Technologies is a generous supporter of the MEES program and has provided numerous GT-SUITE licenses for academic use.

The three-year project is one of twenty-four research and development awards issued by the US Department of Energy to accelerate advancements in near-zero-emissions vehicles, part of President Biden’s goal of achieving a net-zero emissions economy by 2050. The initiative aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from passenger cars and light and heavy-duty trucks—the two largest contributors in transportation sector emissions.

Dr. Strzelec’s research interests are in the areas of exhaust aftertreatment, fuel effects on combustion, and sustainable energy, and she co-authored (with fellow UW alum Dr. John Kasab, AVL) the book Automotive Emissions Regulations and Exhaust Aftertreatment Systems. She is the current Chair of the SAE Exhaust Aftertreatment and Emissions Committee. In addition to serving as MEES program director, Dr. Strzelec teaches courses on thermodynamics, exhaust aftertreatment systems, and combustion. She also works closely with the UW Nuclear Reactor Director Robert Agasie on Neutron Radiography and X-ray imaging.