Engines—Fueling innovation

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Gasoline-powered automobiles could achieve an 8 percent or greater fuel efficiency gain through a new combustion strategy developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Scientists have demonstrated a new method for reforming fuel over a catalyst, a process that chemically converts fuel into a hydrogen-rich blend.

ORNL’s Jim Szybist works with a multi-cylinder engine at the lab’s National Transportation Research Center. Credit: Jason Richards/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

This blend allows more work to be extracted from the engine cylinders, increasing efficiency and saving fuel. “Typically, you incur a fuel penalty when reforming fuel,” said ORNL’s Jim Szybist. “We’ve created a systematic approach that addresses that issue and can be used with conventional fuels and conventional emissions controls.” The team published the method in Energy Fuels and is working at ORNL’s National Transportation Research Center to demonstrate similar fuel savings at a wider range of engine operation.

Source: ORNL

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