Partners from National Labs, Universities, and Industry

The U.S. Department of Energy’s multi-year Co-Optima initiative relies on the combined expertise of the country’s leading researchers and facilities from multiple national laboratories, universities, and industries to help guide the direction of research and development.

The university- and industry-led projects highlighted below work in close collaboration with the National Laboratory Consortium to advance the goals of the Co-Optima initiative.

University-Led Projects Awarded in FY 2016

In 2017, eight university-led projects were awarded to help accelerate the introduction of affordable, scalable, and sustainable high-performance fuels for use in high-efficiency, low-emission engines. Projects address one or more of the following topics:

  • Fuel characterization and fuel property prediction
  • Kinetic measurement and mechanism development
  • Emissions and environmental impact analysis
  • Impact of fuel chemistry and fuel properties on particulate emissions
  • Small-volume, high-throughput fuel testing

Combustion of Petroleum-based Transportation Fuels and Their Blends with Biofuels

Awardees

  • Prime: Cornell University
  • Other: University of California-San Diego

Goals

  • Explore a new approach for developing surrogates and understanding the effects of blending
  • Develop data and a detailed numerical model for a liquid fuel burning configuration to validate kinetics and property databases for predicting performance of combustion engines

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Rapid Construction of Validated Chemistry Models for Advanced Biofuels

Awardees

  • Prime: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Other: University of Central Florida

Goals

  • Construct models for several fuels, refine parameters with quantum chemistry
  • Validate models with advanced laser shock tube experiments

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Miniature Ignition Screening Rapid Compression Machine for Kinetic Measurements of Novel Fuels

Awardees

  • Prime: University of Illinois-Chicago
  • Other: Oakland University

Goals

  • Provide a small volume tester for high throughput fuel and fuel blend ignition screening
  • Provide experimental data and analysis tools for kinetic mechanism development, especially for ignition properties
  • Provide an alternative analysis method for fuel property screening and cross-validation, especially relevant to ACI conditions

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Multitude Characterization and Prediction of DOE Advanced Biofuels Properties

Awardee

  • Prime: University of Central Florida

Goal

  • Provide a detailed data set of multiple combustion experiments relevant to engine combustion of Co-Optima fuels. The data and information for the fuel behavior will mitigate the potential for combustion operability issues due to the particular fuel being used.

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Micro-Liter Fuel Characterization and Property Prediction

Awardees

  • Prime: Louisiana State University
  • Others: Texas A&M University and the University of Connecticut

Goals

  • Characterize fuels with marginal sample volumes and high throughput
  • Develop associated models and metrics for predicted engine performance

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Development of Yield-Based Sooting Tendency Measurements and Modeling to Enable Advanced Combustion Fuels

Awardees

  • Prime: Yale University
  • Other: Penn State University

Goals

  • Use measured and predicted sooting tendencies to select fuels that reduce emissions
  • Develop emission indices relevant to real engines, and to validate and improve detailed chemical kinetic mechanisms

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Characterization of Biomass-Based Fuels and Fuel Blends for Low-Emissions, Advanced Compression Ignition Engines

Awardee

  • Prime: University of Alabama

Goals

  • Provide a fuel-blend combustion property prediction toolset to enable the co-optimization of properties related to ACI engine development
  • Develop, train, and validate a neural network using extensive sets acquired as part of the project.

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Dynamic Species Reduction for Multi-Cycle CFD Simulations

Awardee

  • Prime: University of Michigan

Goals

Increase computational efficiency of detailed 3D CFD simulations to enable improved multi-cycle simulations of Co-Optima-relevant conditions and fuels.

  •  Dynamic Species Reduction (DSR) to reduce expense during gas exchange (80-90%)
  • Product Directed Remapping for multi-zone binning post combustion (50%)

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Bio-Blendstocks to Optimize MCCI Engines – Projects Awarded in FY 2018

Objective: Develop and demonstrate single and multi-component bio-blendstocks for MD/HD mixing controlled compression ignition (MCCI) engines

  • Opportunity for lower-octane components; counterbalance increased high octane demand
  • Multidisciplinary industry and/or university teams
  • Bio-blendstock to be blended into diesel fuel at a minimum of 5% by volume
  • Excludes commercially available blendstocks from conventional feedstocks – e.g., FAME biodiesel

Naphthenic Biofuel-Diesel Blend for Optimizing Mixing Controlled Compression Ignition Combustion

Awardees

  • Prime: Stony Brook University
  • Other: RTI International

Goals

  • Investigate the use of a naphthenic distillate as a multicomponent liquid bioblendstock for use in MD/HD MCCI engines
  • Analyze the bioblendstock composition and perform engine experimental testing to quantify its effects on MCCI combustion

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Tailored Bio-Blendstocks with Low Environmental Impact to Optimize MCCI Engines

Awardees

  • Prime: University of Michigan
  • Other: Penn State University

Goals

  • Develop and demonstrate a microalgae bio-blendstock with greater than 60% greenhouse gas reduction potential relative to petroleum diesel, that can reduce sooting propensity, increase cetane number, and improve engine thermal efficiency

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Bioproduction and Evaluation of Renewable Butyl Acetate as a Desirable Bioblendstock for Diesel Fuel

Awardees

  • Prime: Auburn University
  • Others: Cornell University, University of Alabama, Microvi Biotech, and Virginia Tech

Goals

  • Develop an integrated bioprocess for efficient butyl acetate (BA) production
  • Evaluate BA  for its potential to serve as a bio-blendstock for diesel through fundamental experiments on combustion and full-scale engine testing
  • Achieve 30 g/L BA production (with a yield of 0.4 g/g and a productivity of 0.6 g/L/h)
  • Conduct droplet combustion and engine tests to evaluate BA as a viable bio-blendstock for diesel fuel

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Renewable Fuel Additives from Woody Biomass

Awardees

  • Prime: University of Massachusetts Lowell
  • Others: University of Maine, Mainstream Engineering

Goal

  • Apply an integrated approach to the development and production of bio-blendstocks that improve the energy density, sooting propensity, and cetane number of base diesel fuel, while maintaining cold weather behavior

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Mono-Ether and Alcohol Bio-Blendstocks to Reduce the Fuel Penalty of Mixing Controlled Compression Ignition Engine Aftertreatment

Awardee

  • Prime: University of Wisconsin-Madison

Goals

Optimize composition of a diesel bio-blendstock with >50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions relative to conventional diesel fuel. Bio-blendstock blended with #2 diesel fuel at >5 vol. % will:

  • Reduce soot mass emissions by >25%, increase the cetane number, and reduce the pour point and cloud point temperatures
  • Reduce the fuel energy penalty of operating MCCI engine aftertreatment resulting in a >1% improvement in system energy efficiency
  • Meet ASTM D975 diesel fuel specifications

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Light Duty Multi-Mode (SI/ACI) Co-Optimized Engine & Fuel – Projects Awarded in FY 2018

Objective: Achieve 10% fuel economy improvement by co-optimizing engine and fuel in multi-mode system

  • Enable deeper engagement with industry in Co-Optima initiative
  • Multi-industry, multidisciplinary teams
  • Address challenges related to transition between modes; transient control; speed and load range; HC and CO emissions
  • Show plausible bio-route to fuel

Poly(oxymethylene) Ethers as a High Cetane, Low Sooting Biofuel Blendstock for Use in Medium to Heavy Duty Mixing Controlled Compression Ignition Engines

Awardee

  • Prime: Colorado State University
  • Others: University of Colorado Boulder and Yale University

Goals

Researchers from Colorado State University, University of Colorado Boulder, and Yale University through modeling and experimental methods are investigating the soot reduction potential, combustion performance enhancement, and physico-chemical properties of Poly(oxymethylene) ethers (POM-E) and are seeking to identify the optimal biofuel blendstock comprised of POM-Es which present viable production pathways from lignocellulosic feedstocks and enhance the overall energy conversion process within MCCI engine platforms.

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Co-Optimized Engine and Fuel Demonstrator for Improved Fuel Economy While meeting Future Emission Requirements

Awardees

  • Prime: Hyundai-Kia
  • Others: Michigan Tech and Phillips 66

Goals

Demonstrate on a multi-cylinder 2.0L I4 engine on dyno 150hP (15bar BMEP @ 4500rpm) reached,Engine out emissions meet LEV III (ULEV70) tailpipe assumptions. Demonstrate in aimulation:

  • 15% vehicle fuel economy target on simulated FTP75.
  • Must utilize or make assumption for bio-renewal gasoline fuel usage

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