Volkswagen has joined the Model Fuels Consortium II (MFC-II) (earlier post)—the first German automaker to do so. The initial phase of the Model Fuels Consortium was launched four years ago by Reaction Design to enable the design of cleaner-burning, more-efficient engines and fuels. Volkswagen is particularly interested in the Consortium’s focus on modeling the combustion of both traditional fuels and potential next generation blends with accurate chemistry.
Increasing fuel efficiency and reducing emissions have become the driving forces in the automobile industry. The accomplishments of the first phase of the MFC caused us to broaden our tool landscape and strategies we were putting in place for research. At first, we were skeptical that Reaction Design’s MFC-II would provide a meaningful completion to our technical roadmap, but once we had the opportunity to evaluate extensively the comprehensive solutions being developed by the group, it was clear to us that MFC-II was worth the investment. We view our membership as a valuable resource in our ongoing efforts to develop highly efficient and innovative engine designs.—Axel Winkler, head of the CFD-division at Volkswagen Group Powertrain Research
The members of MFC-II recently gathered to review progress toward the Consortium’s three main goals:
Development of detailed chemical mechanisms for new fuel components that allow representation of a broader set of fuels and more accurate prediction of fuel emissions characteristics;
Development of a science-based, fundamental model of soot-particle growth from gas-phase precursors, including particle nucleation, growth, aging (deactivation), oxidation and agglomeration, providing prediction of particle size and number distributions as fuel and engine conditions vary; and
Expanded capability to connect detailed kinetics with multidimensional engine simulation.
Chemical reaction mechanisms for two new cycloparaffins were completed as part of this year’s MFC-II work: cyclohexane and decalin. These represent important additions, since there are significant quantities of cycloparaffins in conventional fuels and even higher quantities in fuels under development, such as those derived from oil sands. In model fuels, representing these components is important to capturing ignition quality and soot emissions.
Reaction Design researchers also made significant advances in simulation capabilities including dramatic speed-up in the coupling of chemistry with Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) flow simulations and advanced automated mechanism reduction. In addition, fundamental experimental data was reported from a University of Southern California (USC) facility, under contract to the MFC-II, including measurements of the fuel-dependence of soot particle-size distribution functions under controlled combustion conditions. This unique set of data allows the development of a comprehensive model for predicting soot formation with different fuel blends.
Current members of the Consortium include ConocoPhillips, l’Institut Français du Pétrol (IFP), Mazda, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Saudi Aramco, Suzuki, Toyota and VW.