KAUST researchers have teamed up with Saudi Aramco scientists to test future fuels for next-gen gasoline engines.
According to the researchers, gasoline compression ignition (GCI) is an experimental engine technology that could consume 25% less energy than a conventional automobile engine.
GCI uses a gasoline-type fuel, but rather than ignited with a spark, it is compression-ignited like diesel. GCI therefore offers the best-of-both-worlds by combining the fuel efficiency of diesel engines with the low NOx and soot-particle emissions of gasoline.
Aamir Farooq at KAUST’s Clean Combustion Research Center, and his collaborators were responsible for analyzing the combustion chemistry of two low-octane gasolines ignited under engine-relevant conditions.
“Our focus was to probe the chemical kinetics of auto-ignition of two low-octane gasolines with widely different compositions but similar octane ratings,” says Tamour Javed, who worked on the project as part of his PhD research.
“To optimize the performance of GCI engines, we used high-fidelity predictive computer simulations,” explains Farooq. “A big part of such simulations is the description of fuel chemistry.”
But since a real gasoline fuel is too complex to simulate, the researchers have made use of a simpler representation of the real fuel known as a ‘surrogate.’
The team compared each low-octane gasoline with a potential two-component surrogate, measuring how closely its ignition behavior mimicked the real fuel. In most conditions, the two-component surrogate proved to be a good representative of real low-octane fuel, its behavior only diverging at low ignition temperatures.
Although it will take a significant update in refinery infrastructure to bring low-octane fuels to market, Farooq contends that in the short-term, low-octane fuels could be made by combining conventional fuels.
Image credits and content: KAUST