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SwRI opens new high-horsepower dynamometer facility to service marine, rail and petroleum industries

For immediate release

San Antonio — October 7, 2014 — A newly opened high-horsepower engine dynamometer facility allows Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) to improve its engine research and evaluation services to industries that use engines up to 7,000 horsepower for applications in transportation, pipelines and power generation.

SwRI engineers perform large-engine services including alternative fuel evaluations, emissions research, control system development, engine performance improvement, engine and component design services, fuel injection system development, standardized testing, modeling and noise evaluation.

“This new facility, with two 7,000-hp test cells, makes SwRI one of very few independent laboratories with 10 test cells capable of absorbing 4,000 hp or more,” said Thomas Boberg, program manager in SwRI’s Engine, Emissions and Vehicle Research Division.

The facility’s centerpiece is a Froude Hofmann model F63RE dynamometer rated to 6,700 kilowatts (9,000 hp) and a maximum speed of 2,500 rpm. The test cell’s support equipment (conditioned combustion air, cooling system, fuel mass flow measurement and exhaust system) was designed to comfortably support 7,000-hp engines. The first cell was completed in September and the second cell will be available in early 2015. In addition to the two test cells, there is an engine preparation and staging area within the same building.

All cells accommodate engines that use a variety of fuels, including natural gas, diesel and biodiesel, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), dimethyl ether (DME) or Fischer-Tropsch gas-to-liquid fuels. In all, SwRI operates more than 200 engine dynamometer test cells.

“SwRI has a 40-year history of working with leading global manufacturers of large, medium-speed engines and helping them improve fuel economy, performance and emissions. Our facilities support a wide range of research, mechanical development and new-technology integration programs,” Boberg said.

High-horsepower engines provide power for ships and locomotives, pipeline gas compressors, stationary and portable power generation facilities, offshore drilling rigs and oil and gas recovery systems.

SwRI established a separate locomotive engine facility in 1990 in a San Antonio railyard to facilitate work on engines installed in locomotives. SwRI has performed research, development and evaluations of locomotive exhaust emissions, alternative fuels, dual-fuels, injection timing and aftercooling, as well as work in support of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

For more information, contact Deb Schmid, (210) 522-2254, Communications Department, Southwest Research Institute, PO Drawer 28510, San Antonio, TX 78228-0510.

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Photo: 7,000 hp engine test cell
Two new 7,000 hp engine test cells are the latest additions to SwRI’s expanding large engine test and development facilities.