Krishan Arora, Mike Baker, Glenn Barber, Peter Brett, Ross Dewhurst, Melvyn Dover, John Gamston, Steven Goodier, Annie Leeson, Vincent Panel, Ben Russell, Alessandra Scotese, Oliver Taylor, Julian Von Thungen-Reichenbach-Evans, Chris Wilks, John Ward-Zinski, and Roy Williamson

Castrol, Oxford, UK

Castrol’s NEXCEL system is a sealed oil cell that contains both the engine oil and the oil filter, so it can be easily removed and replaced by hand in about 90 seconds versus 20 minutes for a conventional oil change. The sealed cell ensures that used oil is collected and handled safely, facilitating enhanced recycling and reuse of the waste oil into high-quality lubricants through a dedicated re-refining process.

Castrol has demonstrated that NEXCEL reduces CO2 emissions on modern engines through improved thermal management. The technology also paves the way for a new generation of precision-engineered oils to further improve engine performance and emissions.

“Here at NEXCEL, we have a vision for the future where changing your car’s motor oil is quick, clean, and environmentally sustainable. All of us in the NEXCEL team are working towards this, together with some of the world’s leading automakers. For our efforts to be recognized by such an esteemed group of judges and in such a competitive group of entries, makes us very proud indeed.”

NEXCEL makes the oil change extremely quick and clean for workshops, allowing them to offer more service options to customers. The sealed system ensures no spillage of used engine oil, resulting in improved safety for technicians servicing the vehicles. Moreover, it does away with the requirements for a large and often dirty tank for bulk storage of used oil.

After use, the oil cells are collected and the oil can then be re-refined back into high-quality lubricants. NEXCEL oil cells are designed from materials that will enable them to be re-used up to five times. Use of an engineering thermoplastic in the design supports scalable manufacturing in line with the requirements of the automotive manufacturing industry. Furthermore, the oil cells are capable of being fully recycled at the end of their useful life. If NEXCEL were fitted onto every car in the world today, it would save more than 200,000 road tankers of virgin oil from being produced every year.

The NEXCEL system — which includes the oil cell, oil cell dock, and lubricant — is integrated into vehicles at the design stage. Currently, the system is fitted as standard in the new Aston Martin Vulcan track-only supercar. Road cars fitted with NEXCEL are expected to go into production within five years. The technology also has potential use in heavy-duty and off-highway vehicles.

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/auto_winner2016 

HONORABLE MENTIONS

The “Lighting Bug” Technology

Marcus Boykin, B-G Innovative Safety Systems, Lexington, TN

The Lighting Bug technology sustains two working headlights on vehicles at all times. It offers plug-and-play installation to an automobile’s existing wiring harness that plugs into the headlight bulbs. There are no tools required, and it usually installs in less than five minutes. The Lighting Bug monitors for failed low beam lights and automatically converts the high beam into a low beam state until the failed bulb can be replaced.

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/lightbug 

Ultralight Electric Bus

Bruce Emmons, Auokinetics Inc., Troy, MI

The Autokinetics AK12EV Ultralight Electric Bus is a full-size city bus that achieves the equivalent of 32 mpg, while a standard diesel bus gets only 3.5 mpg. The unibody structure, which is made entirely of lightweight, high-strength stainless steel, allows downsizing of the motor, battery, wheels, tires, and other components.

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/bus 

InnoCat

Berker Hüsam and Elif Hüsam, Berker Nanoteknoloji Ltd., Odunpazari, Eskisehir, Turkey

The InnoCat catalytic converter is a low-cost structure that can be used in both new and old cars. The converter’s filter, or skeleton, is made of carbon, unlike existing ceramic converters. This makes the structure low-weight, durable, and low-cost. InnoCat has four times lower NOx emission compared with current commercial converters.

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/innocat 

GlidePath — Intelligent Driver Assistance System at Traffic Signals

Matthew Barth, Guoyuan Wu, Kanok Boriboonsomsin, Peng Hao, Xuewei Qi, Osman Altan, and John Stark, University of California, Riverside, CA

GlidePath is an intelligent driver-assistance system that uses signal phase and timing information (SPaT) from upcoming traffic signals to determine the best driving-speed profile to pass through intersections. The system also uses GPS, radar, and digital map information. It can be implemented as an embedded system in the vehicle or as an aftermarket application on smart devices.

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/glidepath 


NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the November, 2016 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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