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Optimizing fuel use and reducing emissions

Taking up the dual challenge of diversifying energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector requires engine/fuel compatibility enabling the optimal use of traditional or alternative fuels with increasingly globalized vehicle ranges.

IFPEN is working on the development of new highly energy-efficient, low-emission engine/fuel pairings.

The issue of alternative fuels is examined in the “New Energies” section.

In the field of aviation fuels, the CAER project coordinated by IFPEN was completed in August 2015. The research carried out has led to a better understanding of the respective benefits and limits of the various technologies assessed:

  • HEFA (Hydrotreated Esters and Fatty Acids),
  • BtL (Biomass to Liquid), SIP (Synthetic Iso-Paraffins),
  • as well as disruptive technologies based on genetically modified micro-algae and yeasts.

The project’s integrated approach, combining powertrain/fuel compatibility, logistics, resource production and environmental and economic aspects, has led to a greater understanding of the challenges facing the biojet fuel sectors.

Finally, the CAER project provided a genuine platform for exchange at national level in France, bringing together industrial and academic players in the aviation sector. The platform provided the basis for an effective contribution to the international certification process.

The issue of engine/fuel pairing in the car industry is the focus of a ten-year R&I contract signed in 2013 with Aramco Overseas Company (AOC), a subsidiary of Saudi Aramco. In 2015, a first study relating to the use of naphtha in compression spark ignition engines demonstrated an 8% fall in CO2 emissions. A second study aimed at developing an octane on-demand concept on a spark ignition engine also led to an improvement in CO2 emissions and the global vehicle performance.

             Visit by the Aramco Overseas Company (AOC) Chairman in August 2015
                                    in the context of an R&I contract with IFPEN.

Also in 2015, IFPEN and AOC finalized their research in the field of Low Temperature Combustion (LTC), identifying an optimal fuel in terms of the reduction in NOx and particle emissions. This program demonstrated the possibility of simultaneously optimizing fuel production and use for the transport sector.

Lastly, IFPEN is studying the potential of Natural Gas for Vehicles (NGV), with its numerous associated benefits: lastly plentiful resources and reduced carbon footprint. In particular, IFPEN is conducting R&I work on:

  • gas and dual-fuel combustion,
  • as well as ignition issues in gas engines.

IFPEN has thus developed Cigal, an innovative combustion concept validated on several engines, optimized to operate with natural gas. This concept is based on the simultaneous injection of two fuels – one of which is gas – with a synergy that best exploits the intrinsic properties of each one. By improving combustion efficiency in this way, excellent performance levels are achieved, with, in particular, a low-end torque similar to a diesel engine, reduced consumption and hence a better range and lower CO2 emissions over a large operating range. In 2015, IFPEN produced a demonstrator vehicle using this concept.

                   Demonstrator vehicle using Cigal, an innovative combustion concept.    

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Key figures

Theoretical gain in terms of CO2 emissions thanks to the use of NGV.