On the road to a clean combustion engine

OME: Researchers test synthetic fuel.

Dominik Pélerin with the full-engine testbed. (Image: Moritz Ermert / TUM )
Dominik Pélerin with the full-engine testbed. (Image: Moritz Ermert / TUM )

Combustion engines release carbon dioxide, particularly matter, and nitrogen oxides. Moreover, the case in some cities is that some engines have already imposed driving bans for certain kinds of diesel-powered vehicles.

In a new study by the Technical University of Munich has suggested that the synthetic fuels like the group of oxymethylene ethers (OMEs) might hold the answer. Scientists tested how this kind of fuel behaves in engines and have developed an optimized combustion process.

Synthetic fuels consume essentially free of unwanted side-effects, for example, soot and hydrocarbons, and along these lines give an extra air-quality advantage over other long-standing fashioner fills. Be that as it may, they additionally have impediments: generation costs are higher than those of non-renewable energy sources and there are no creation facilities accessible yet.

Scientists primarily performed computer simulations and experiments on a single-cylinder engine testbed. They decided the ideal parameters for proficient combustion. For instance, the engineered fuel has a lower calorific value than diesel, which implies more fuel must be infused into the motor to accomplish a similar execution. The researchers consequently adjusted the injectors in like manner.

Moreover, since the engineered fuel does not deliver residue, a lot of fumes gas can be recycled into the motor without debasing the intake. This approach inhibits the development of nitrogen oxides on the grounds that the recycled fumes gas anticipates high temperatures amid combustion.

Scientists then tested the parameters on a full-engine testbed comprising a six-cylinder production engine that was adapted specifically to run on synthetic fuel. The tests on the full engine confirmed the previous results.

Dr. Martin Härtl, who coordinates the project said, “We determined that using this fuel can significantly reduce pollutant emissions. The Euro 6 level, the currently applicable limit, is easily met when using the synthetic fuel. We are also convinced that high-performance exhaust after-treatment can even reduce emissions to almost zero.”

OME made from waste CO2 – carbon dioxide generated in processes in the steel and cement industries, for example, or in coal and gas-fired plants – and electricity from renewable sources, would even be carbon neutral. Particularly interesting is the use of OME in vehicles and systems in which internal combustion engines cannot be readily replaced by battery-powered electric drives, explains Härtl. Examples include long-haul trucks, energy provision in remote areas and the aviation and shipping sectors.