Study to Examine Biofuel Combustion

The U.S. Department of Energy awarded a grant to the fuel research company Reaction Design last week to begin a two-year study of the chemical and transport phenomena that take place during biofuel combustion.

Reaction Design will lead a team of researchers from Chevron and the University of Southern California (USC) to create computer simulation tools that will speed the development process for engine designers and fuel manufacturers as they strive to integrate biofuels into their products. The development and validation of the detailed chemical mechanisms that govern biofuel combustion will focus on U.S. domestic alternatives that show promise in reducing dependence upon foreign petroleum.

Project funding comes from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies (OFCVT) with a mission to develop more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly highway transportation technologies that enable America to use less petroleum.

There is growing evidence that fuel additives originating from biomass reduce soot formation in diesel engines during the combustion process by providing more efficient oxidation of hydrocarbon fuel fragments. Reaction Design’s work will focus on the detailed chemical mechanisms and simulation tools that enable accurate simulation of the combustion process. Armed with these simulation tools, fuel manufacturers can fully understand how various fuel components impact combustion behavior in current and future engine designs.