Synthetic fuels for climate protection?

NAMOSYN research project investigates fuel alternatives

Zwei im Kreis geführte Kupferleitungen, ein Monitor und eine Kraftstoffpumpe auf einem Prüfstand.

Hardware-in-the-Loop test rig for the qualification of fuels. Photo: OWI

28 May 2019 – Could diesel and gasoline vehicles make a greater contribution to climate protection in the future? This is a realistic option for the 29 companies and institutions involved in the new research project “NAMOSYN” (Nachhaltige Mobilität durch synthetische Kraftstoffe – Sustainable mobility through synthetic fuels) from research, industry, associations and society. They want to research the sustainable production and use of synthetic fuels according to ecological, economic and social criteria. If such synthetic fuels instead of petroleum-based fuels were increasingly used in the future, the emissions from combustion engines could become climate-neutral and significantly less polluting.

The project partners are looking at various fuel alternatives such as oxymethylene ether (OME) as diesel fuel and methyl formate (MeFo) and dimethyl carbonate (DMC) as petrol fuels, which could be suitable for on-road and off-road vehicles as well as mobile machinery with engine generations available today and expected in the future. OME could also be an alternative for ships and fuel-powered rail and heavy-duty transport, since for technical reasons no batteries will be available in the foreseeable future for all-electric drives with a long range or long operating time.

The research work in the NAMOSYN project focuses, for example, on the efficiency and service life of engines running on alternative fuels and the reduction of the emission level for the various pollutants compared with currently available fuels. The efficient production of the aforementioned alternative fuels using renewable raw materials and energy (electricity) is as much a subject of investigation as the determination of a realistic price level for the fuels. In addition, the compliance of synthetic fuels with standards and the large-scale implementation of their production and application are also important aspects.

TEC4FUELS GmbH and OWI Oel-Waerme-Institut gGmbH are investigating in the NAMOSYN project possible interactions between technical components and synthetic fuels in the engine system as well as questions of fuel ageing and associated changes in fuel properties. These investigations serve to guarantee the operational safety and service life of the fuel system and the engine when operated with synthetic fuels such as OME or DMC/MeFo. TEC4FUELS develops suitable test methods and tests for components and synthetic fuels on HiL test rigs (Hardware in the Loop) for diesel and gasoline systems. OWI investigates the synthetic fuels using forced ageing methods in order to determine potential negative effects on the technical operability of, for example, injection components of predominantly electrically powered (plug-in) hybrid vehicles due to the increasing residence time of the fuels in tanks.

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