Bioenergy

Scientists Study Ethanol Exhaust Emissions

Two scientists at the University of California’s Riverside’s College of Engineering Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT) were awarded more than US$800,000 from the Coordinating Research Council, for a one-year study to better understand the impact of fuel properties on emissions for gasoline blends containing ethanol.

Riverside, California – September 11, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] The researchers, Dr. Tom Durbin and Dr. J. Wayne Miller were awarded the grant for their proposal “Effects of Ethanol and Volatility Parameters on Exhaust and Evaporative Emissions.” In the past decade, to create cleaner burning gasoline, various compounds have been added to fuel to reduce emissions. California petroleum processing plants are in the process of phasing out the blending of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) into gasoline and are beginning to introduce fuel blends containing ethanol which is produced from renewable agricultural resources. The objective of the research project by Durbin and Miller is to generate information that can be used to better predict the effects of ethanol content and gasoline volatility parameters on exhaust emissions from the newest vehicles that meet current and upcoming emissions standards. “This research is important especially now because ethanol is going to play an important role in the blending and supply of gasoline in California and elsewhere throughout the country,” said Durbin, associate research engineer at CE-CERT. Durbin and Miller will test a total of 12 fuels containing various concentrations of ethanol using a fleet of 12 commercial vehicles with advanced emission control technologies. The test fleet will include vehicles ranging from Low-Emission Vehicle (LEV) to Super-Ultra-Low-Emission Vehicle (SULEV) certification. Testing will include regulated emissions and real-time engine-out and tailpipe emissions. In addition to measuring the effects of ethanol and fuel volatility on exhaust emissions, the research will also measure formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, benzene and 1,3-butadiene emissions. “By understanding how these compounds change according to the ethanol and fuel volatility in the twelve fuel samples, we will be able to evaluate the effects of fuel properties on toxic emissions as they enter the atmosphere,” said Miller, director of the Emissions and Fuels Research Laboratory at CE-CERT.