Special engines and fuels can reduce air emissions by 7%

(ORDO NEWS) — Improved fuels and new engine designs could reduce emissions and water consumption over the next 30 years, according to a new study by Argonne scientists.

Improved fuel mixtures as well as new engine designs could reduce emissions of greenhouse gases that pollute air and water use over the next three decades, according to a study by researchers at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory.

A paper published last month in the journal Energy & Environmental Science examined the potential impact of fuel mix diversification in the US, including increasing the proportions of biofuels and engines designed to use these fuel blends. This, the authors write, can improve the efficiency of engines by up to 10% over conventional fuel engines.

The study was supported by the Co-Optima Initiative, which is jointly led by the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office of the US Department of Energy, the Bioenergy Technology Office and its Automotive Technology Office. In Co-Optima, researchers look at fuels and engines as dynamic design variables that can work together to improve efficiency and performance in both light vehicles and trucks.

This study used computer models to analyze the economic and environmental impacts of the widespread adoption of three different biofuels or biomass-derived fuels that can be mixed with the common ones: ethanol, isopropanol and furan. The team included researchers from Argonne, the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and Lexidyne, a data analysis firm based in Colorado.

Simulation results of the new prototypes have shown that from 2025 to 2050, cumulative greenhouse gas emissions will be 4-7 percent lower for the light cargo sector. Starting in 2050, emissions can be reduced by 7 to 9 percent. Water consumption declined 3-4 percent and fine hazardous particles, known as PM2.5, fell 3 percent between 2025 and 2050.

The analysis showed that fleet development, incorporating more advanced engine designs, jointly optimized to take advantage of bio-blending, could generate between 278,000 and 1.7 million US jobs annually, depending on the rate and scale of expansion. However, this transformation will take time.

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