Center for Alternative Fuels Engines and Emissions

West Virginia University's Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines and Emissions (CAFEE) is a worldwide leader in the research and development of the concepts and technologies necessary to improve transportation and power system efficiency, while working toward a cleaner environment. CAFEE believes combining energy innovation with environmental responsibility is essential to creating and maintaining a successful economy.


Transportation and power systems are essential to all societies. A non-profit research center operating within academic surroundings, CAFEE is renowned for its system of successfully measuring exhaust emissions of both conventional and alternative-fueled engines, as well as heavy-duty vehicles, improving energy efficiency and lessening environmental impact. CAFEE today is a $4 million annual enterprise within the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources Advanced Energy Initiative. The center consists of seven faculty members, five full-time staff engineers, five technicians, and more than 30 Ph.D. and M.S. graduate students. The CAFEE staff works extensively on emission reduction research — particularly engine technologies, post-combustion technologies, after-treatment evaluation, and fuel technologies.


CAFEE research appeals to both equipment manufacturers, who must certify their vehicles to meet government emissions performance standards, and government agencies, which are charged with enforcing such regulations. The center has received research funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency, major engine manufacturers, the California Air Resources Board, fuel providers, and several state and municipal transit agencies.

Expert Team

CAFEE's research team of faculty, students, and technical staff is one of the most experienced in the nation in the characterization of emissions and the performance of heavy-duty vehicles. CAFEE's research extends to all types of engines, including heavy-duty on-road, light-duty automobile, aircraft, marine, mining equipment, and power generation.


  • CAFEE developed the world's first mobile on-board emission testing system, an achievement born from the Environmental Protection Agency's dictate that heavy-duty equipment manufacturers comply with emissions standards while the vehicle is in actual use rather than in static lab tests.
  • CAFEE features one of the few engine labs in the country recognized by both the stringent California and Texas air quality boards, where reporting requirements must be accurate within ±0.5%.
  • For the U.S. Department of Transportation, CAFEE developed discrete and continuous emission and performance models, including the well-received Integrated Bus Information System (IBIS), a life-cycle cost model that incorporates capital, maintenance, and operating expenses to provide a holistic, realistic view of public transportation technologies costs.
  • CAFEE's laboratories conduct high-level research for a variety of companies and organizations, among them fuel suppliers (BP, Chevron), engine manufacturers (Caterpillar, Cummins, Detroit Diesel), vehicle manufacturers (Ford, General Motors), and federal and state agencies that regulate engine emissions.
  • CAFEE built the largest national database of heavy-duty vehicle exhaust emissions and fuel efficiency data. The transit bus portion of which is accessible to the public as part of the IBIS website.

Research and Testing Activities

  • Vehicle Emissions and Fuel Economy Measurement
  • Engines Emissions Research and Certification
  • In-Use Vehicles Emissions and Fuel Economy Measurement
  • Locomotive Emissions Testing and Certification
  • Marine Vessel Emissions Testing
  • Hybrid Electric Vehicle Development
  • Engine Control, Calibration, Modeling, and Diagnostics
  • Gas Turbine Research & Development
  • Innovative engine Design — including Linear, Free-Piston Engine Development

Laboratories and Facilities

CAFEE possesses the only mobile heavy-duty chassis dynamometer in the region, which allows it to visit sites where vehicles are being used in real world situations. CAFEE also operates Mobile Emissions Measurement Systems for in-use, on-board emissions measurements for transit buses, trucks, off-highway machinery, locomotives, and marine vessels. Also administered by CAFEE is the Engine Research Center at WVU oversees research and development on a wide range of engines, alternative fuels, technologies, and propulsion systems.

A History of Success

Over the past two decades, CAFEE has measured heavy-duty vehicle emissions from over 1,000 buses and trucks at more than 100 locations across North America. CAFEE experience includes vehicles operating on ultra-low sulfur diesel, biodiesel, CNG, LNG, hydrogen, electricity, and a variety of other fuels


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