Petrobras and Saudi Aramco have joined the Model Fuels Consortium (MFC). The two new members add to the ranks of energy companies (Chevron and Conoco-Phillips) supporting the consortium’s charter to develop, validate and apply advanced simulation methods that can improve engine and fuel design resulting in increased fuel efficiencies and reduced emissions.
Additional members of the MFC include Cummins Engine Company, Dow Chemical Company, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Honda, L’Institut Français du Pétrole, Mazda, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, PSA Peugeot Citroën, and Toyota. (Earlier post.)
Launched in 2005 by Reaction Design, the MFC directs the expertise and resources of fuel producers, engine manufacturers and automakers to develop the model fuels that are essential to accurate simulation of the complex chemical processes that drive combustion. The MFC’s stakeholders face regulatory and economic pressures to meet increasingly stringent emissions standards and demanding fuel efficiency requirements.
To manage the ever-expanding range of design options and their inherent tradeoffs, engine and fuel developers have boosted their reliance on combustion simulation, thereby reducing their dependence on costly and increasingly inadequate empirical tests. Model fuels are a carefully chosen mix of a few pure chemicals that together mimic the combustion behavior in computer simulations of the much more chemically complex commercial fuels. Once validated, the model fuels accurately simulate combustion, allowing fuel and engine designers to optimize engine performance and emissions control faster and at less cost than with traditional physical fuel/engine testing. Developing validated fuel surrogates and associated computer simulation tools are the main focus of the consortium.
Reaction Design now has fuel mechanism development projects covering most fuels of interest to the transportation and energy production markets. The MFC is focuses on gasoline and diesel fuel combinations while separate research projects sponsored by NASA and the US Department of Energy are underway to investigate the clean combustion of biofuels and Fischer-Tropsch fuels for jet engines and autos, respectively.