Ricardo Inc - the US subsidiary of the automotive engineering consulting company - has announced its Chicago Technical Center (CTC) Test Cell Expansion Project. The project represents an investment of $US4.8 million for the company in heavy-duty engine emissions testing.

The project, which will add two new heavy-duty emissions test cells specifically designed for developing engines to US Environmental Protection Agency 2007 emission requirements, will be completed in August 2004.

The first phase of the project, completed in September 2001, added heavy-duty engine transient testing to the company's existing CTC Test Cell 2. This first phase included a new full dilution constant volume sampling tunnel, dilute exhaust analytical instrumentation as well as upgraded engine and dynamometer control software for meeting the requirements of the US On-highway Federal Test Procedure and other transient emissions cycles. Since completing the phase one expansion, CTC has been performing certification-quality emissions testing of heavy-duty engines up to 500 horsepower.

Phase two of the expansion, now underway, will add two new test cells at the facility. CTC Test Cell 3 is specified as a 750hp heavy-duty transient cell sharing the phase one emissions equipment. Test Cell 4 is a 600hp heavy-duty engine development test cell with transient drive-cycle capability and dual-line raw gas emissions. Test Cell 3 will be operational in July 2004 and Test Cell 4 will be available one month later.