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Direct-Injection Engine Study Finds That DMF Is a Promising Biofuel, With Combustion Performance and Regulated Emissions Comparable to Gasoline

May 16, 2010

Zhong
Fuel flow rate (gasoline equivalent) under different engine loads for DMF, ethanol, and gasoline at 1500 rpm and λ = 1.0. Credit: ACS, Zhong et al. Click to enlarge.

Researchers from The University of Birmingham (UK) and specialty chemicals company Innospec recently performed a series of experiments in a single-cylinder gasoline direct-injection (GDI) research engine to study the performance of the liquid biofuel 2,5-dimethylfuran (DMF) benchmarked against gasoline and ethanol. Initial results, reported in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels, suggest that DMF is very promising as a new biofuel; not only is the combustion performance similar to commercial gasoline, but the regulated emissions are also comparable.

With recent work improving the high yield conversion of biomass-derived carbohydrates to DMF (earlier post, earlier post), there is growing interest in using this as a bio-based substitute for petroleum-derived gasoline. DMF has a volumetric energy density similar to that of gasoline formulations and 40% greater than that of ethanol.

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A One-Step Process for Converting Biomass and Biomass-Derived Carbohydrates into DMTHF for Liquid Fuels

May 04, 2010

A team at the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) has developed a one-step process for converting hexose from a wide range of biomass-derived carbohydrates, cellulose and even raw lignocellulose (e.g., corn stover) into 2,5-dimethyltetrahydrofuran (DMTHF) in good yields and under mild conditions in water. A paper on the work by Weiran Yang and Ayusman Sen was published online 30 April in the journal ChemSusChem.

DMTHF is similar to DMF (2,5-dimethylfuran, earlier post) in terms of energy density (31.8 MJ L-1), volatility (bp 90–92 °C), and solubility (immiscible in water). However, because DMTHF is a saturated molecule it has good storage and transportation stability and is a better candidate for liquid fuel, Yang and Sen note.

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