UC Riverside engineers receive award from Society of Automotive Engineers

Author: Holly Ober
May 28, 2020

A group of UC Riverside faculty and student automobile engineers won an Environmental Excellence in Transportation Award from the Society of Automotive Engineers International. 

Established in 2000, this award showcases the work of individuals and teams who through their ingenuity and dedication have made significant innovations in reducing the environmental impact caused by the transportation industry. The four categories of the award include public awareness, mobile energy and emissions, new methods and tools, and materials development and usage. 

The UC Riverside group won the New Methods and Tools award for its project, “Development of Fractional Cabin Air Recirculation System, Standard Testing Method for Vehicle Cabin Air Quality, and Cabin Air Quality Index.”

The group, led by mechanical engineering professor Heejung Jung, has developed a more efficient way to filter out the smallest air particles that can damage human lungs inside an automobile cabin. 

Jung’s group has also developed a standard testing method to quantify a vehicle’s ability to maintain clean cabin air quality, which until now has been impossible. The group hopes its testing method will encourage auto manufacturers to develop and adopt more efficient and effective control devices and methods for cars, and inform consumers with a simple index called Cabin Air Quality Index, which the team has also developed.

The research started in 2012 with a recognition that Southern California residents and people living in large cities are exposed to a high number of air pollutants during a commute at least 30 minutes long. Kent Johnson, an associate research professor at CE-CERT; and Nick Molden, founder and CEO of Emissions Analytics, helped attract international interest for the research. Some of the team members are currently participating in efforts led by the European Union to develop a vehicle air cabin quality standard. 

Other team members:

Mike Grady, a graduate student at the time of his contribution currently working at Northrop Grumman

Chengguo Li, a staff research associate at CE-CERT

Art Miller, a senior scientist at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health 

Liem Pham, Ph.D., a graduate student at the time of his contribution currently working at Boeing

Eli Brewer, a graduate student at the time of his contribution currently working at ViaSat