U.S. Non-Profit CRC Announces 70 Year Anniversary of Research on Performance of Transportation Fuels

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The Coordinating Research Council, Inc. (CRC) announced today its celebration of 70 years in business. Since its incorporation in 1942, CRC's primary research objective has been to define the performance characteristics of transportation fuels and other fluids in vehicle hardware. The motivation for CRC research is to provide the best technical foundation for data-driven decisions by others. Results from this research continue to be used by standard-setting organizations such as ASTM International to develop and improve specifications for safe and reliable consumer products.

The Coordinating Research Council, Inc. (CRC), a U.S. non-profit research corporation, announced today its celebration of 70 years in business. CRC provides a service that has a daily impact on the lives of nearly everyone in the United States and elsewhere across the world. If you have ever wondered how the energy industry knows how to formulate fuels that work so reliably in your vehicle or how the vehicle manufacturers design their engines to operate so efficiently on today’s fuels, CRC is the place where much of the background research is done.    

The primary objective of CRC is to define the performance characteristics of transportation fluids in vehicle hardware. The motivation for CRC research is to provide the best technical foundation for data-driven decisions by others. Results from CRC research have been used for many years by standard-setting organizations such as ASTM International to develop and improve specifications for safe and reliable consumer products. Throughout its history, CRC has worked with various branches of the U.S. military and their suppliers to define performance of fuels and other fluids in military equipment resulting in improved military product specifications.

CRC was officially incorporated in 1942 with offices at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City. The pattern for conducting CRC research was set much earlier (circa 1919) when a group of researchers formed the Cooperative Fuel Research (CFR) Committee of SAE International and began to study the relationships between fuel composition and engine “knock” performance. Engine knock was identified as a major issue limiting safety and engine power in World War I aircraft. Members of the CFR Committee included experts from the automotive industry, the energy industry, government agencies, and academia.

In the 1920s, the CFR Committee developed a fuel characterization tool called the CFR engine. This engine is still used today as the standard method to measure octane-quality of fuels. Gasoline octane numbers are displayed on the dispensing pumps of every station throughout the country. When World War II started, the CFR Committee had already been working on improving the octane quality of aviation gasoline through the 1930’s resulting in fuels that enabled higher efficiency aircraft engines with remarkable advances in power and performance. CRC was incorporated at the outset of the war to continue its research and support the war effort.

This same pattern of committee-managed, consensus-driven research remains in force today and is the hallmark of CRC data quality. CRC research committees are comprised of the world’s leading experts who represent industries that are the most knowledgeable about the products studied along with many other stakeholders who provide important technical guidance. For each new project, CRC committees design the research approach to follow, select the best qualified organization to conduct the work, monitor progress throughout the study, and review and approve all data and the final report. An independent research institution or academic facility is often selected by the committee to carry out CRC-sponsored research. This inclusive and open process yields balanced results of the highest quality which and has stood the test of time throughout the modern era of transportation technology development.

CRC moved to the Atlanta area in 1978. The primary research focus for CRC in recent years has been providing data on the emissions performance of modern vehicles. In recent decades, CRC has conducted numerous in-depth studies of the emissions performance of various fuels in a variety of vehicles and engines. These data have been used by regulatory bodies such as the U.S. EPA and the California Air Resources Board to inform development of government regulations. Various government agencies continue to work cooperatively with CRC to define actual reductions in on-road vehicle emissions that have helped lead to vastly improved air quality in cities across the country, despite the fact that there are many more cars on the road and that people are driving more than ever.

As a non-profit organization, CRC has no economic interest in developing new hardware or fuels. CRC refrains from economic studies and abides by a strict anti-trust policy to protect the consumer and all participants. CRC does not engage in advocacy or lobbying, only technical reporting of performance data. More information is available, including the newly released 2012 CRC Annual Report, at http://www.crcao.org.

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