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Yale, Penn State team receives $1.2M Co-Optima award to investigate sooting behavior of biofuels

Penn State Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Yuan Xuan and researchers at Yale University will work together to identify clean-burning biofuels for next-generation internal combustion engines under to a $1.2 million award from the Energy Department’s Co-Optimization of Fuels and Engines Initiative (Co-Optima). (Earlier post.)

Co-Optima has two goals: to bring new engines and fuels to market within a decade and to demonstrate new combustion technologies by 2030 with the potential for a 30% reduction in petroleum consumption beyond what is already targeted and a 14% reduction in greenhouse gas emission nationwide.

While we expect an increasing number of electric cars in the future, internal combustion engines will continue to dominate the vehicle fleet for the next several decades—as either prime movers or range extenders. Our research is part of a broad effort to make them more efficient and less polluting. We are working on just one aspect, sooting behavior of biofuels, of this big problem.

—Yuan Xuan

Yale will conduct laboratory research to measure the tendencies of various biofuels—alcohols, esters, ethers, anisoles and others—to release soot when burned, and Xuan will use computation to model emission indexes of the biofuels, enabling the selection of fuels that minimize soot emissions.

There is a huge pool of possible biofuels which can be used for these planned engines. Screening the biofuels is our part. I can input thousands of chemical species and their known characteristics into the computer and predict how they would behave. We will determine sooting tendencies for a large number of promising biomass-derived fuels through experiments and computations, then use the results to identify the fuel properties that maximize engine performance while producing low emissions.

—Yuan Xuan

Xuan joined Penn State in August 2014. His research interests lie in the numerical modeling of flame structures, chemical kinetic studies of soot formation, chemistry-turbulence interactions, and the development of high-performance numerical schemes to simulate complex, large scale turbulent reacting flow problems.

Comments

Arnold

It's hard to argue that there is no benefit from better understanding and that soot is proving to be a much larger environmental hazard that previously known.

Pictures of Arctic ice melt show black carbon particles sifted from the surface ice melt and depositing in dark areas on the surface.
As the water flows away the particles become concentrated in apparently kilogram sized patches.
As solar radiation is absorbed instead of reflected, the underlying ice melts downwards creating deep chasms.

There are of course many other documented health effects on large populations globally.

The concern should be that statements in this context as shared by the authors, such as:

" internal combustion engines will continue to dominate the vehicle fleet for the next several decades—as either prime movers or range extenders."

I would say.
Even if the outcomes are applied to the national or international fleet before the retirement of I.C.E's. (unlikely) the other implication is that by 2040 I.C.E. manufacture ceases and the vehicles retire some ten years later.
The zero 2050 emission roadmap target is rapidly seen as overriding the 50/50 by 2050 target owing to observed accelerating climate realities.

When combined with 'Golden boys' tweets from the 'ivory tower', the reversing EPA's, California's mandates for carbon reduction, and the insistence on pursuing a global arms race on behalf of his military and international arms manufacture'*s mates,
the package is not just unworkable -

it's a s.i.c. joke.

gorr

Breaking News: it's so dull at autobloggreen since their comment section do not work at all since almost a week.

Trees

Arnold's comment is the reason we are researching and attempting to minimize BC emissions. So, why the complaint? International power is primary BC source, so battery car is not the solution. Wind, solar, nuclear and hydro power will help, but that has little to do with the battery car since their power generation wouldn't be able to cover the needs of traditional power requirements, probably for generations.

The slam of CIC is just partisan political self indulgence and not attractive and such reckless attacks just undermine your comments as credible.

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