DOE announces $131M to boost innovative clean mobility; Li-S batteries, hydrogen engines and USABC

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced more than $131 million for projects to advance clean mobility, with $71 million from Fiscal Year 2023 project funding (DE-FOA-0002893, earlier post) awarded to 27 projects. In addition, the United States Advanced Battery Consortium LLC (USABC) of Southfield, Michigan, will receive $60 million... Read more →

Researchers from Zhejiang University have developed a highly active, selective, and durable copper nanoparticle catalyst for converting CO2 to dimethyl ether (DME). This was achieved by loading Cu nanoparticles onto hydrophobic and gallium (Ga)-modified silica supports. The Ga-modified silica provided moderate acidity for methanol dehydration to DME, which hindered deep... Read more →

A team from Empa - Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology and FPT Motorenforschung reports in an open-access paper in the journal Fuel on the performance and emission characteristics of an 11-liter heavy-duty compression ignition engine which was optimized specifically for DME (dimethyl ether) combustion. The DME engine... Read more →

Dimeta and Enerkem collaborate on large scale waste-to-DME projects in Europe and US

Enerkem, a producer of bio-methanol from mixed waste at commercial scale, and Dimeta, a joint venture between the two of the largest off-grid energy suppliers, are initiating feasibility studies for the development of two large-scale projects that will convert waste into renewable and recycled carbon dimethyl ether (DME). DME is... Read more →

A research consortium led by Ford Research and Innovation Center Aachen is currently investigating the technical conditions under which diesel vehicles can run on dimethyl ether (DME) as an alternative fuel. DME is a gas that has similar physical properties to the liquid gases propane and butane and is also... Read more →

The US Department of Energy is funding a demonstration of Sunvapor’s solar steam and thermal battery technology to lower further the Carbon Intensity (CI) of the renewable dimethyl ether (DME) produced by Oberon Fuels at its Maverick Innovation Center in Brawley, California. Oberon Fuels’ Maverick Innovation Center The demonstration project... Read more →

DCC plc, an international sales, marketing and support services group, has partnered with Oberon Fuels, the leading producer of renewable dimethyl ether (DME) (earlier post), to advance the design, construction and operations of multiple renewable DME production plants in Europe. The companies have completed an initial feasibility study which confirmed... Read more →

Oberon Fuels announced commercial availability of a blend of propane and Oberon’s renewable DME (dimethyl ether). This blend replaces some of propane’s fossil-derived fuel with a renewable one, enabling up to a 60% reduction in carbon emissions for this popular fuel used in vehicles, forklifts, farm equipment, backyard grills and... Read more →

A public-private partnership between Los Alamos National Laboratory and Southern California-based Oberon Fuels has secured funding from the US Department of Energy (DOE) to scale-up steam reforming technology to produce renewable hydrogen (rH2) from renewable dimethyl ether (rDME)—a novel pathway for reducing the carbon content of the global hydrogen supply.... Read more →

Oberon Fuels, producer of clean-burning dimethyl ether (DME) transportation fuel, has begun production of the first renewable DME (rDME) in the United States, and the only current commercial production of this in the world. Because rDME’s properties allow it to store and transport renewable hydrogen cost-effectively, this milestone unlocks Oberon’s... Read more →

SHV Energy and UGI to launch joint venture to advance use of renewable DME; 300 kilotons rDME/year by 2027

SHV Energy and UGI International, a subsidiary of UGI Corporation, leading distributors of off-grid energy, intend to launch a joint venture to advance the production and use of Renewable Dimethyl Ether (rDME), a low-carbon sustainable liquid gas, to accelerate renewable solutions for the LPG industry. rDME is a liquid gas... Read more →

Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. (MMNA) announced pricing and availability of the 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) crossover. Outlander PHEV is substantially upgraded for 2021, and features a revised powertrain, an enlarged battery pack offering extended all-electric range, and increased performance from a new, more efficient, 2.4... Read more →

Empa, together with FPT Motorenforschung AG Arbon, Politechnico di Milano, lubricant manufacturer Motorex and other partners, is exporing the use of DME as a fuel for heavy-duty engines. A DME test engine has been in operation on a dynamometer in Empa’s Automotive Powertrains Technologies Laboratory. The scientists intend to provide... Read more →

The California state legislature passed and the Governor signed into law a bill (AB-2663) that lowers the Use Fuel Tax rate of dimethyl ether (DME) from $0.18 to $0.06 per gallon of DME used and $0.06 per gallon of DME-propane fuel blend used on or after 1 July 2021 (the... Read more →

Suburban Propane Partners, L.P., a nationwide distributor of propane, fuel oil and related products and services, as well as a marketer of natural gas and electricity, is purchasing a 39% stake in Oberon Fuels, a San Diego, CA-based development-stage producer of low-carbon, renewable dimethyl ether (rDME) transportation fuel. Oberon has... Read more →

Air Products, a leader in industrial gases and megaproject development, and Haldor Topsoe, a leader in high-performance catalysts and proprietary technology for the chemical and refining industries, have signed a global Alliance Agreement. The two companies will collaborate, using their extensive market network outreach for developing potential projects and the... Read more →

By investing in R&D and performing fundamental studies of the different carrier systems and their properties, Topsoe has developed a new and more robust carrier system. This system forms the basis for the new TITAN series of steam reforming catalysts. The series, launched earlier this month at the Nitrogen+Syngas Conference... Read more →

Oberon Fuels, a producer of ultra-low-carbon, renewable dimethyl ether (rDME) transportation fuel, and SHV Energy, the world’s largest distributor of propane fuel, are partnering to accelerate the use of renewable DME to reduce the carbon footprint of transportation fuel. With only a 20% blend of rDME, propane’s carbon intensity (CI)... Read more →

BASF and Lutianhua plan to pilot a new lower CO2 DME production process

BASF and Sichuan Lutianhua Co., Ltd. (Lutianhua) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to co-develop a pilot production plant that will significantly reduce carbon emissions and increase energy efficiency in producing dimethyl ether (DME) from syngas compared to the traditional process. DME is a methanol equivalent and can be used... Read more →

Oberon Fuels secures $2.9M grant from California for first production of renewable dimethyl ether (rDME) in US

Oberon Fuels, a producer of clean-burning dimethyl ether (DME) transportation fuel (earlier post), has been awarded a grant for $2,876,139 from the California Energy Commission (CEC) for a first-of-its-kind, multi-phase project to produce the first renewable dimethyl ether (rDME), a clean-burning, ultra-low-carbon transportation fuel, in the US. The CEC formally... Read more →

Waste-to-biofuels company Enerkem produces bio-DME

Waste-to-biofuels and chemicals producer Enerkem has successfully produced a clean, renewable bio-dimethyl ether (Bio-DME), a by-product of biomethanol, that could replace the use of diesel fuel in the transportation sector. Using the company’s proprietary thermochemical technology, its innovation group has tested and validated the production of fuel-grade bio-DME made from... Read more →

NAIT partnering with Oberon, Mack and Westcan to advance use of DME fuel in long-haul trucks

The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is partnering with Mack Trucks, Oberon Fuels and Westcan Bulk Transport to develop fuel moisture management technology for dimethyl ether (DME), a cleaner-burning (sulfur-free and no PM), high-cetane (55-60), diesel fuel alternative that can be made from natural gas or methanol produced from... Read more →

DOE releasing $20M in funding to ARPA-E awardees; NEXTCAR and REFUEL projects

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is honoring additional commitments to 10 previously selected Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) awardees for a total of $20 million. This completes the approval process for projects selected in ARPA-E’s Next-Generation Energy Technologies for Connected and Autonomous On-Road Vehicles (NEXTCAR) (earlier post) and Renewable... Read more →

Oberon Fuels, a producer of clean-burning Dimethyl Ether (DME) transportation fuel (earlier post), announced the first customer demonstration of a DME-powered Mack truck, a Mack Pinnacle. Oberon and Mack are working with the NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY) to run the vehicle at the Fresh Kills Landfill and evaluate performance... Read more →

An international team of researchers led by a group from the Combustion Research Facility (CRF) at Sandia National Laboratories recently provided experimental confirmation of the generally accepted low-temperature oxidation scheme of dimethyl ether (DME)—a lower soot and emissions alternative to diesel—at low temperatures (~540 K, 267˚C). Their paper was published... Read more →

Ford Europe leading project investigating DME and OME1 as low carbon, near zero particulate fuels; power-to-liquids pathways using CO2

Ford Motor Company is leading a €3.5-million (US$3.9-million) research project to investigate the use of alternative fuels that could offer customers the power and performance of modern internal combustion engines with environmental benefits comparable to an electric vehicle. The German government is co-funding the three-year project that will test the... Read more →

California approves sale of DME as compression-ignition engine fuel

The California Department of Food and Agriculture has approved specifications for dimethyl ether (DME) used as fuel in compression ignition engines. (The Department of Food and Agriculture Division of Measurement Standards has the responsibility for establishing and enforcing the quality standards for spark- and compression-ignition engine fuels sold in California.... Read more →

Oberon’s biogas-based DME now eligible for D3 and D5 RINs under the RFS

Oberon Fuels Inc., the first company to announce plans to commercialize biogas-based dimethyl ether (DME) fuel production in North America (earlier post), announced that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved Oberon’s biogas-based DME for inclusion under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Oberon’s biogas-based DME is now eligible for... Read more →

WTW energy expended and GHG emissions for conventional fuels ICE and hybrid vehicles shows the potential for improvement of conventional fuels and ICE based vehicles. Source: EUR 26236 EN - 2014 Click to enlarge. Europe’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) and its partners in the JEC Consortium—JRC, EUCAR (the European Council... Read more →

Australia CSIRO and India CSIR launch A$6M partnership on dimethyl ether

Australia’s CSIRO and its equivalent in India, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), have launched a three-year, A$6-million (US$5.6-million) collaboration focused on improving processes involved in the production of dimethyl ether (DME), a clean-burning synthetic liquid fuel. DME is non-toxic and non-carcinogenic and can be produced from natural... Read more →

Dutch/Russian effort to commercialize new process to convert flared gas to gasoline via a DME pathway

The independent Dutch research organization TNO is working with the Russian A.V. Topchiev Institute for Petrochemical Synthesis (TIPS) on marketing a new technology developed by TIPS to convert flared gases into hydrocarbon fuels such as gasoline. The new method offers a range of benefits compared with the common, but nearly... Read more →

New study on DME auto-ignition at engine-relevant conditions

Dimethyl ether (DME) is of interest as an alternative fuel for compression ignition (CI) engines due to its ease of production and advantageous properties as a diesel alternative. As an example of that interest, Volvo Trucks has just announced its intent to begin production of DME-fueled heavy-duty trucks in North... Read more →

Volvo VNL D13 with DME. Click to enlarge. At an event in Sacramento, California, Volvo Trucks announced that it will commercialize dimethyl ether (DME)-powered heavy-duty commercial vehicles in North America, with limited production beginning in 2015. Volvo also revealed ongoing customer field testing of DME trucks in the US (with... Read more →

SoCalGas, Oberon Fuels partner to produce Dimethyl Ether from natural gas for transportation fuel; first such commercial facility in US

Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) and Oberon Fuels, a San Diego-based low-emission alternative fuels company, announced a joint research and development agreement to design and construct the first commercial facility in the United States to produce Dimethyl Ether (DME) from natural gas for use as a transportation fuel. The planned... Read more →

Comparing fuel consumption with diesel, 50D/50E and 50D/50E + 7% DME. Credit: ACS, Ashok 2011. Click to enlarge. In a study published in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels, M. P. Ashok of Annamalai University, Tamil Nadu, India reports that adding dimethyl ether to an ethanol/diesel emulsion results in an... Read more →

Volvo FH with a 13-liter engine that runs on DME. Click to enlarge. Swedish oil company and distributor Preem recently inaugurated a BioDME filling station in Stockholm, and the first five Volvo DME (dimethyl ether) trucks (earlier post) in commercial operation have taken to the road in a two-year field... Read more →

Catalytic performance on the bifunctional catalysts. CZA is unpromoted, CZA-Zr is promoted with Zr; CZA-Ga is promoted with Ga. Credit: ACS. Click to enlarge. Researchers at the Petroleum Displacement Technology Research Center, Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology (KRICT), have developed new bi-functional catalysts, promoted with Zr (Zirconium) or Ga... Read more →

Swedish Energy R&D Board Awards Up To US$72M to Chemrec for BioDME and Biomethanol Demo

The Swedish Energy R&D Board will provide an investment grant for the demonstration at industrial scale of the Chemrec technology for production of the renewable motor fuels BioDME (dimethyl ether) and Biomethanol. The new plant will be built at the Domsjö Fabriker biorefinery in Örnsköldsvik. (The biorefinery Domsjö Fabriker produces... Read more →

Bio-DME: wood to wheel. Click to enlarge. In a joint project with the EU, the Swedish Energy Agency, fuel companies and the transport industry, Volvo Trucks is investigating the potential for large-scale investment in dimethyl ether (DME) fuel produced from biomass (Bio-DME). Volvo Trucks is participating in the project by... Read more →

Overview of project area. Click to enlarge. Chemrec’s pulp mill-integrated BioDME (dimethyl ether) biorefinery demonstration plant project will break ground in September in Piteå, Sweden, with expected biofuel production by mid-2010. The project will demonstrate the production of BioDME for use as a renewable fuel in diesel engines from forest... Read more →

A consortium is seeking US stimulus funding available through the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) program to convert 20 hybrid diesel-electric buses to hybrid dimethyl-ether (DME)-electric propulsion. Among the consortium members is Alternative Fuel Technology, Inc., a developer of fuel injection equipment... Read more →

DME Low-Temperature Combustion Concept Maintains Low NOx with Decreases in CO and HC Emissions

Researchers at Shanghai Jiao Tong University are exploring a new combustion concept for dimethyl ether (DME): low-temperature combustion (LTC) of a compound charge combining port aspiration and in-cylinder direct injection (DI). In comparison to a DME homogeneous charge compression (HCCI) combustion mode, DME LTC can extend the engine operating range... Read more →

Dimethoxymethane (DMM)/Diesel Blends as a Low-Cost Approach for Emissions Control

Relationship between NOx and smoke of the DMM blends under one set of speed and load conditions. Click to enlarge. Credit: ACS Researchers at Xi’an Jiaotong University in China have investigated the combustion, performance, and emissions of a direct-injection (DI) diesel engine fueled with dimethoxymethane (DMM)/diesel blends, with DMM content... Read more →

BioDME Projects Begins, Chemrec to Build BioDME Plant

Principal units of Chemrec’s oxygen-blown, pressurized black liquor gasification development plant 1 (DP1) in Piteå, Sweden. Click to enlarge. The European project BioDME has begun, with the first project meeting held today at Chemrec’s plant in Piteå, Sweden. The goal of BioDME is to demonstrate production of environmentally optimized synthetic... Read more →

Volvo to Field Test 14 Trucks with Third-Generation, 13-Liter DME Engines

Field trials involving fourteen dimethyl ether (DME)-powered Volvo trucks will begin in the next 18 months. Volvo companies Volvo Powertrain, 3P and Volvo Technology will field test 14 trucks equipped with Volvo’s third-generation, 13-liter DME-fueled (dimethyl ether) engines in Sweden beginning in late 2009 to early 2010 as part of... Read more →

Researchers Propose New Combustion System For DME Engine: CCCI

Comparison of fuel consumption and emissions with a variation of CO2 in the air charge in CCCI combustion. Click to enlarge. Researchers at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China are developing a new combustion system for an engine fueled with dimethyl ether (DME): compound charge compression ignition (CCCI). The CCCI... Read more →

Swedish Energy Agency Grants Volvo $2.1M for Heavy-Duty Vehicle DME Field Tests

DME produced from biomass offers the most cost-effective avoidance of CO2 of transportation fuels under consideration, according to Volvo. (Data shown is for light-duty vehicles.) Click to enlarge. The Swedish Energy Agency has granted AB Volvo SEK 12.8 million (US$2.1 million) in support for field testing of the third-generation DME... Read more →

UOP and USC to Partner on Converting CO2 to Methanol or DME for Fuel

UOP LLC, a Honeywell company, and the University of Southern California’s (USC) Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute will partner to develop and commercialize new technology to transform carbon dioxide into cleaner-burning alternative fuels. USC has developed fundamental chemistry to transform carbon dioxide to methanol or dimethyl ether. The agreement grants UOP... Read more →

Volvo Demonstrates Trucks Running on Seven Different Renewable Fuels; Evaluates the Fuels

Volvo’s seven renewable fuel trucks and a summary chart of the fuel evaluation. More evaluation detail below. Click to enlarge. The Volvo Group showed seven of its diesel trucks modified to run on 100% renewable fuels: biodiesel, biogas, biogas combined with biodiesel, ethanol/methanol, dimethyl ether (DME), synthetic diesel and hydrogen... Read more →