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Reaction Design Launches Model Fuels Consortium II

15 September 2008

Reaction Design announced the establishment of Model Fuels Consortium II (MFC-II). (Earlier post.) The MFC is a collaboration of engine companies, energy companies and research laboratories, led by Reaction Design, which is developing model fuels to support the development of cleaner-burning, more efficient engines and fuels by enabling accurate simulation results.

The goal of MFC-II is to create software models and tools that let engine designers predict and control soot particle size and number. Nano-particles are increasingly being linked to various medical conditions from asthma to pulmonary fibrosis. New and proposed regulations would limit the number and size of these particles that an engine can produce.

However, without proactive engine design changes, these regulations would significantly increase the cost of automotive after-treatment systems.

As the cost of engine fuels continues to rise and the need to meet tightening emissions specifications drives the need for more sophisticated design methods, close collaboration among fuel and auto industry leaders is essential. MFC-II provides a forum for this collaboration, enabling continued development of tools, fundamental combustion data and models that help solve fuel-efficiency and pollution-reduction challenges.

—Bernie Rosenthal, CEO of Reaction Design

Building on the successful surrogate modeling strategy of the original MFC, the new consortium effort will continue to expand the “members-only” combustion fuels database to refine precision and add new fuel types, as new trends require. This database provides the cornerstone intellectual property for accurate combustion simulation and soot prediction.

With the growing importance of diesel fuels, further development of science-based soot models, with a special emphasis on particle size distribution, will be pursued. In addition, the mechanism-reduction techniques developed in the original project will be further enhanced to meet demands for faster, more precise model generation.

Charter Members for the MFC-II include: Conoco-Phillips, Mazda, PSA, Saudi-Aramco, Suzuki, and Toyota. In addition to the active contributions from these members the MFC-II effort will continue to benefit from the active participation and guidance of a technical advisory committee including chief technical adviser, Charlie Westbrook, widely regarded as one of the pioneers of combustion modeling, together with Prof. Anthony Dean, Colorado School of Mines; Prof. William Green, MIT; Prof. Hiromitsu Ando, Fukui University; Prof. Mitsuo Koshi, University of Tokyo; Prof. Ulrich Maas, Karlsruhe University and Prof. Rolf Reitz, University of Wisconsin.

September 15, 2008 in Fuels | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)


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Seems to be a concerted effort between Big Oil and vehicle suppliers to extend the life of ICE machines.

Nothing wrong here as long as it doen't slow the arrival of improved HEV, PHEVs and BEVs.

Next Generation Ethanol - Just Add Water

The main problem with ethanol is that the majority of engines on the road today are not designed for it. One exception is the Saab 9-5 Biopower engine, which IS optimized for ethanol. It outperforms gasoline, getting 20% more power, 16% greater torque, and 10% better mileage. The Lotus Exige 265E “Flexi” gets 45 more horse power on E85 than it gets on gasoline. Next year, Ford is introducing the EcoBoost engine, which may also have advanced ethanol technology that will rival diesel power for a much lower cost. Within the next two years, Suzuki, Ford, GM and numerous other car makers will introduce engines which exploit the advantages of ethanol. These will be flexi-fueled engines qualified to run on E20, E30, E40, E50, and E85. Major automakers are scheduled to produce smaller, lighter, high compression, turbocharged ethanol optimized engines that are a lot more efficient than current gasoline and diesel engines. The fuel will be cheaper, cleaner and made domestically.

Adding ethanol to gasoline got in the fast lane, because we needed a replacement for MTBE, the oil industry oxidant that was poluting ground water.
Aside from that, our system of blending gasoline and ethanol is not neccesary. That was how politicians created an incentive for oil companies to distribute ethanol, by giving them a 51 cent per gallon tax credit to blend it with gasoline. Problem is, ethanol performs better when it’s mixed with water rather than gasoline. This is called hydrous ethanol.

Nothing new. In the 1920's, the model A Ford cars and trucks ran on 165 proof ethanol, 17.5% water and 82.5% ethanol. Recently, a Pratt Community College engine testing team lead by instructor Greg Bacon, mixed 20% water with pure ethanol, and efficiency in the combustion chamber doubled. When the ethanol explodes, the water instantly turns into additional power in the form of steam and also provides hydrogen and oxygen inside the cylinder. Brazil has been using 4% hydrous ethanol for years. They laughed at us when we started mixing ethanol with gasoline.

Phil Ratte, Mechanical Engineer, BME University of Minnesota said: “From 1981 to 1989, I worked with Herb Hansen, who had been an engineer on a WW II submarine, and a former captain of a nuclear submarine. We developed two prototype cars, a Ford Pinto Station Wagon and a Mitsubishi Sedan, that ran as well on 65 proof ethanol (2/3 water and 1/3 ethanol) as they did on unleaded regular gas.”

The State of Louisiana is now planning an experimental hydrous ethanol program that may also be replicated in other states. Dongfeng, a major Chinese auto maker is introducing a car this year that runs on 65% ethanol and 35% water. This is a standard internal combustion engine with a slightly modified fuel system. They claim hydrogen is formed. Toyota also has a similar hydrous ethanol add-on that produces on board hydrogen. Internal combustion engines can run efficiently on ethanol and water.

The BTU argument that ethanol is inferior to diesel and gasoline is not valid. Pure ethanol has higher octane, faster flame speed, lower burn temperature and less heat loss. Most importantly, ethanol mixes readily with water, a source of hydrogen and oxygen. So if we can dilute 1/3 pure ethanol with 2/3 water and run our vehicles on it, what are we waiting for? Hydrous ethanol could get us entirely off of gasoline.

Maybe that’s why Toyota is building ethanol plants in Brazil, and GM is investing in ethanol development in the U. S. They must know something we don’t know about ethanol.


Burning ethanol instead of gasoline helps to solve one problem, Moving off foreign oil dependence. And, that's a good thing! However, as with any ICE, you are still burning chemicals in the atmosphere and that's really the major problem to solve. Ideally, we should be able to power most of our transportation devices and power plants without creating giant pollution problems. Currently science points toward transitioning to electric drive transport and solar/renewable power plants. Seems to me that's where we should be putting the bulk of our research funding. Burning ethanol, even with water, still produces harmful atmospheric aerosols, just of a different nature.

Now let’s get real. This year, over 95% of all new vehicles run on liquid fuels. We will not be junking overnight the 225 million liquid fueled vehicles we currently have on the road, valued at $6 Trillion. It will take 15 to 20 years for us to turn this around and to replace conventional vehicles with plug-in hybrids and electrics. During that time period, we need domestic transition fuels. Otherwise, we add $500 Billion every year to the National Debt, because we buy foreign oil with interest bearing debt instruments and government bonds. It is possible to modify existing ICEs to run on ethanol and water. And it’s possible to power the small ICEs on the coming plug-in hybrids with hydrous ethanol. Likewise, we won’t be replacing all coal burning, natural gas burning, biomass burning power plants with solar, wind, and renewables overnight. That will also take many years. So for the next 15 to 20 years, what is the cheapest and cleanest domestic transition fuel? Is it gasoline, diesel, biodiesel, E-85, or 2/3 water blended with 1/3 ethanol? Idealism is not the answer.

I cannot address all the general but vague "runs as well" etc claims made for hydrous ethanol but I do know that water brings no BTUs. Water injection in a piston engine acts primarily as a detonation suppressor and a cylinder charge coolant. The creation of steam and the disassociation of H2O into H2 and O absorb heat. The steam, H2 and O are gaseous and so return some of the heat loss.
The H2 and O might then burn, but that only gives some of the heat back from the previous step and might be inefficiently late in the expansion stroke.
Turbo-charging, particularly before knock detectors, O2 sensors and sophisticated engine controls often used water injection to allow large boost (suppress detonation and cool the intake).
I think these MFC-II guys probably know what they are doing to optimize fuel formulations and are much less sinister than those purveying junk science.
Send your money to the guys selling plans to run your car on water, not to the 60 proof guys.
The first crooks have earned your support.

Roughly, a 50-50 blend of pure ethanol and water will ignite. But if more than 50% water is used in the blend, it will need to be heated and vaporized prior to combustion. Then, what’s the lowest percentage of ethanol that can be used to transform the water? This is less about BTUs and more about the synergy of ethanol and water interacting, especially if the water is splitting into hydrogen and oxygen inside the cylinder.

More like cosmic convergence.
There is little if any synergy with adding water.
Extracting energy to split water is just like using electricity to “free” hydrogen from oxygen; you get out what you put in, MINUS the losses.
There are many years of research in water injection for ICEs and turbine engines.
Just like perpetual motion, just because it is not obvious why it won't work, does not mean it will.
Also before it comes up, claims for emission reduction are likely to be based on gullibility.
I think it is cold fusion's turn next.

Phil Ratte (Mechanical Engineer, BME University of Minnesota) took hydrous ethanol a giant step further: “From 1981 to 1989, I worked with Herb Hansen, who had been an engineer on a WW II submarine, and a former captain of a nuclear submarine. We developed two prototype cars, a Ford Pinto Station Wagon and a Mitsubishi Sedan, that ran as well on 65 proof ethanol (2/3 water and 1/3 ethanol) as they did on unleaded regular gas.”

This is a credible report. It’s NOT about cosmic convergence, perpetual motion, water injection, or cold fusion. People who cannot explain how something extraordinary is accomplished typically resort to debunking it. And they deny that it ever happened, even when it happens before their very eyes.

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