By: Rubina Obaid
Transportation is one of the sectors that majorly contributes to emitting carbon therefore electrification of vehicles is on a boom. Today, thirty% of the new cars are fuel economical but the room for further efficiency is still there. U.S. Department of Energy’s Co-optimization of Fuel in cooperation with the automotive industry has taken an initiative to examine the efficiency of fuel and engines.
Cleantech industries are thriving to reach towards more decarbonized economy for a green future. Transportation is one of the sectors that majorly contributes to emitting carbon therefore, electrification of vehicles is on the boom. Today, thirty percent of the new cars are fuel-economical but the room for further efficiency is still there. U.S. Department of Energy’s Co-optimization of Fuel in cooperation with the automotive industry, has taken an initiative to examine the efficiency of fuel and engines. In order to bring simultaneous improvement for effective reduction in emission and the overall cost of all types of vehicles such as light-duty, medium-duty, and heavy-duty. According to the analyst, electric models of cars will reach the significant price parity with an internal combustion engine for a huge segment of cars in the next two years.
It has been estimated that electric vehicles will make up around 7% of the sales in the next three years that is by 2023, from the current figure which is 3%. Presently, there are 7 million passenger EVs, 500,000 e-buses, around 400,000 e- delivery vans and 184 million electric scooters are on roads. For attaining maximum efficiency for light-duty clean vehicles research companies focused on introducing new technology of spark ignition engines (SI engines) in 2018. In the process heat and power are generated through biogas and are ignited by a spark with a precise ratio of air and fuel mixture and lead to slower combustion due to this lower maximum temperature and less emission. In 2019 Co-optima R&D shifted to multimode solution that inculcates multiple engine operating modes for achieving maximum efficiency and minimizing emission. However, SI engines work more efficiently in high load conditions such as rapid acceleration, climbing a hill or pulling a trailer while less efficient in medium load conditions.
Whereas, advance compression ignition (ACI) withstands perfectly with low or intermediate load conditions. This combustion process offers significant advantages as compared to the conventional piston engine combustion process that makes the real-world driving more fuel economy while maintaining combustion control. Researchers are still exploring various alternatives of using the technology between boosted SI and ACI methods for better performance and efficiency. After putting forth consistent efforts CO Optima team shifted to increase the research related to reduce the cost and efficiency of heavy-duty vehicles. Trucks make up 4% of the whole US automobiles and account for more than 25% of transportation-related fuel consumption and 44 cents diesel more per gallon than gasoline.
In diesel engines mixing controlled compression ignition (MCCI) technology is used which is highly efficient. Though, it requires expensive catalysts and filter technology to control the emission of particulate matter and nitrogen oxide. There are also a few biomass-based diesel fuel alternatives that are viable for commercial use and can be produced at scale. Co-optima further explored promising renewable alternatives for a commercially viable diesel blend and found corn stover as one of the promising options for a biofuel which shows great potential for competitive production cost, best performance, low greenhouse gas emission, and also shows greater compatibility with existing fuel infrastructure. The Co-Optima team is further exploring the value of these fuel blends for improved commercial-scale production, to maximize vehicle performance, efficiency and reduced emission.