Fuels & Lubricants Technology
Fuels and lubricants research at FEERC involves study of the impacts of fuel and lubricant properties on advanced combustion processes as well as on emissions and emission control strategies and devices. The range of fuels studied includes liquid fuels from synthetic and renewable sources as well as conventional and unconventional fossil-based sources. Combustion and emissions studies are leveraged with relevant single and multi-cylinder engine setups in the FEERC and access to a suite of unique diagnostic tools and a vehicle dynamometer laboratory. ORNL/DOE research has been cited by EPA in important decisions such as the 2006 diesel sulfur rule and the 2010/2011 E15 waiver decision. Major program categories and examples include:
- Fuel Effects on Combustion, Efficiency, and Emissions Research includes gasoline and diesel range fuels, exploring the ability of fuels to enable advanced combustion approaches such as reactivity controlled compression ignition (RCCI), fuel chemistry effects on thermochemical recuperation, high-octane fuels to enable downsized and downspeeded high efficiency engines, effects of fuels and lubricants on particulate and gaseous emissions from advanced and conventional combustion, and effects of new fuels on the legacy fleet.
- Fuel Effects on Emissions Control Technology Emissions control technology can be affected positively or negatively by fuel changes. Research has included investigations into EGR cooler fouling with conventional and renewable fuels and improving the understanding of fouling mechanisms, exploiting fuel properties to enable lean NOx aftertreatment such as with ethanol and silver-alumina catalysts, and exploring the impact of fuel-borne metals such as sodium and potassium on diesel particle filters.
- Advanced Lubricants Lubricants research has led to the development of novel ionic liquids as ashless additives for improved lubricants that can enable improved engine efficiency, and examination of the effect of lubricants and lubricant additives on exhaust catalysts. Lubricant effects on emissions generation is studied with a suite of unique diagnostic tools. Effect of lubricant on low-speed pre-ignition is being investigated to help realize improved SI engine efficiency.