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BEAUTY project developing new bioethanol engines

An EU-funded collaboration between universities and industry in Europe, Israel and the US is working to develop new engines, combustion technologies and fuels that will allow a substantial increase in the use of bioethanol in an urban context.

Co-ordinated by Centro Ricerche Fiat (CRF), the BEAUTY project (Bio-Ethanol engine for Advanced Urban Transport by light commercial and heavy-dutY) is targeting an increase in powertrain efficiency by 10%; ensuring Euro 6 level emissions; and supporting cold startability down to -15°C (5 °F) ambient.

The 2-year, €6.15-million (US$8 million) program, which began in January 2009, is adapting and optimizing existing powertrains, systems (including aftertreatment), components and materials. The project covers a range of combustion approaches, including:

  • Stoichiometric S.I. engine for HD applications
  • Surface ignition Diesel engine for LD applications
  • Controlled Auto-Ignition (CAI) S.I. engine for LD applications

Different fuel compositions are being used for the different approaches, not only in terms of gross bioethanol content, but also in terms of hydrocarbon composition, volatility, and octane number. The project is coupling experimental activities to life cycle analysis that will consider the entire impact of both first and second generation ethanol.

We have not yet completed our experiments but we are obtaining some very interesting results confirming the possibility of developing advanced internal combustion engines dedicated to bioethanol. With a spark ignited approach and also with a Diesel approach we have succeeded in using a high percentage of ethanol, with a high conversion efficiency and lower fuel consumption, resulting in fewer CO2 emissions.

—Andrea Gerini, CRF

Partners include:

  • Austria: AVL List GMBH;
  • Germany: Rheinische-Westfälische Technische Hochschle Aachen; Daimler AG; FEV Motorentechnik GMBH;
  • Israel: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev;
  • Italy: Centro Ricerche Fiat SCPA (Project coordinator); Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche;
  • Poland: Politechnika Warszawska;
  • Switzerland: E4TECH SARL;
  • United Kingdom: University of Nottingham; and
  • United States: Exxonmobil Research and Engineering Company.



Why limit it to bioethanol?.. is there any difference with ethanol made from coal?..


Anything that uses coal is neither renewable nor carbon-neutral.


Even without AGW, coal is a primitive fossil that requires massive scarring above and below ground. It burns dirty and costs big $$ to scrub. And it is NOT sustainable. So why not do as this project suggests and build mechanics optimized for sustainable biofuels like ethanol.

BTW, the food for fuel issue is no longer valid as new sources of cellulosic ethanol come online.


Running diesel on ethanol is interesting, I recall a diesel ethanol bus story on here.

"cold startability down to -15°C (5 °F) ambient"

I have read that if you use fuel heaters before the injectors this is not a problem.

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