Accounting for about 29 percent of the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the transportation sector is the largest contributor of GHG emissions in the United States. In an effort to reduce those numbers, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s (TTI’s) Environmental and Emissions Research Facility (EERF) has emerged as a leader in the race to find more sustainable transportation solutions — and it’s not quite done growing yet.
Equipped with one of the largest drive-in environmental chambers in the United States, the EERF provides a space for groundbreaking emissions and fuel efficiency research. A one-of-a-kind facility, it focuses largely on studying the emissions of large vehicles — such as tractor-trailers and buses — and finding ways to reduce their environmental impact.
“Through the EERF, we are making significant strides in addressing the environmental challenges posed by the transportation sector,” says TTI Research Specialist Jeremy Johnson. “We are focused on studying the emissions of large vehicles and helping both the public and private sector test solutions to reduce their environmental impact. The EERF’s unique capabilities allow us to conduct groundbreaking research and develop innovative solutions that will drive sustainability forward in the transportation industry.”
Originally constructed in 2010 in Bryan, Texas, the EERF is a state-of-the-art facility that can house and test full-size vehicles in a controlled environment. Featuring a 75-foot-long environmental chamber that can simulate various driving conditions — such as extreme temperatures and humidity levels — the facility is unlike any other in the nation. Additionally, the EERF offers opportunities for testing new vehicles, components, automotive products and many other products. This year, the EERF unveils the exciting renovations that will allow researchers to drive sustainability forward.
Funded through the Governor’s University Research Initiative (GURI), in a partnership between TTI, Texas A&M University’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, the EERF is transforming its facilities to feature a handful of new assets. They include the following:
- Upgrading the original environmental chamber, the EERF showcases the installation of new equipment including a system for additional cooling capacity that will allow the facility to reach temperatures as low as –40°F and a new dynamometer, which allows for vehicles to be driven inside the chamber.
- Housed next to the original EERF facility, a new building is scheduled to open in 2023. This building will feature a new power laboratory and a smaller testing chamber and will focus on transportation, especially electrified transportation, and the impact it has on the grid.
The GURI grant will also include a solar field at the EERF location that will unlock new charging capabilities and electric-vehicle testing.
The addition of these cutting-edge innovations will continue to help put TTI at the forefront of developing sustainable transportation solutions.
“The modifications to the EERF represent a significant milestone in our pursuit of sustainable transportation,” says TTI Agency Deputy Director Joe Zietsman. “With the expanded environmental chamber, we can now conduct even more comprehensive emissions, fuel efficiency and energy consumption testing. These enhancements provide us with exciting prospects for electric-vehicle testing and charging capabilities. The advancements made by the EERF position TTI and its partners at The Texas A&M University System as a leader in the development of sustainable transportation solutions, playing a vital role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting a greener future.”