Alternative fuels for passenger cars
Scope: Designing and testing direct and DUAL-FUEL injection systems for natural gas engines
Increasing severe emissions standards are prompting the automobile industry to explore new types of propulsion (hybrid cars, fuel cells, and electric cars) and to try to recover energy in the form of electricity from various mechanisms in the car (braking and dissipated heat, for example). Nevertheless, pure electric propulsion does not seem realistic in the short term and parallel research is continuing to optimise combustion engines, i.e., to reduce their fuel consumption and polluting emissions.
The automobile industry is banking on the following technologies:
- Downsizing: Today’s 1200 cc engines give the same performance as older-generation 1600 cc engines thanks to turbocompressors and direct fuel injection.
- Stratified injection and a lean air-fuel combustion ratio allow localized combustion in the combustion chamber with low engine load levels (in the operating ranges in which stoichiometric combustion leads to an engine output that is less than 20%).
- Alternative fuel: Natural gas can cut CO2 emissions by up to 37% with direct injection compared with a petrol or diesel engine of the same HP. Burning natural gas in a diesel engine (DUAL-FUEL technology) gives the highest combustion yields (45% in a diesel engine versus 36% in a petrol engine) and reduces the diesel engine’s particle and nitrogen oxide emissions by 70 and 40 percent, respectively. However, the main arguments in favour of the DUAL-FUEL technology are the pleasantness of driving on a par with that of the original diesel engine (high torque at low engine rpm) and the possibility of maintaining the “pure diesel” mode to be able to keep running when refilling with gas is not possible.
The aims of the COSMOZ project are :
- to develop Walloon expertise in converting petrol and diesel engines to natural gas using DI-CNG and DUAL-FUEL direct injection, respectively.
- to jump-start expertise in the combustion of lean natural gas and in the post-combustion of unburned methane hydrocarbons in the exhaust.
The market study that Agoria conducted in 2010 and recent feelers sent out by Minister Marcourt’s office have concluded that vehicle propulsion is a promising niche for Wallonia. It offers opportunities to provide ENGINEERING SERVICES to carmakers in the short term and to sell new PRODUCTS (starting with niche markets) in the longer term.
For further information, please visit http://www.polemecatech.be/en/projets/cosmoz
University of Liège
Campus of Sart-Tilman (bât. B49)
Allée de la découverte, 17
Tel: +32 43 66 48 21
On the web:
Linkedin : http://be.linkedin.com/in/dremen