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Automotive: Fuel efficiency drives automotive design

Rising fuel costs will be the predominant issue shaping automotive trends in coming years according to a report from material supplier Zeon Chemicals L.P. (Louisville, KY). James D. Eddy, Zeon’s automotive industry manager outlines seven mega trends, including a renaissance of turbocharging; continued evolution of the internal combustion engine; increased biofuel development; consolidation of automotive fluids within assembly plants; ongoing vehicle electrification; the need for environmentally friendly refrigerants; and development of “round-the-globe engineering.”

Eddy posits that rising fuel costs will push technologies that allow more power to be produced by smaller engines, including a resurgence turbocharging. Widely used in Europe with diesel engines, Eddy says turbocharging will reappear in North American gasoline engines as part of 2010 introductions. Some the turbochargers will use external air coolers, which could create opportunities high-heat-resistant elastomers for conditions above 170°C.

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