Research Category: Fuels & Emissions

Benefits from Mid-level Ethanol Blend Fuels Using Government Computer Models

(2016)
DeFour Group LLC/Dean Drake

Currently, the market for corn ethanol is less than 15 billion gallons a year. A mid-level (20% – 30% ethanol) gasoline blend with the octane rating of today’s premium, if widely available, would allow automakers to increase the efficiency of future engines and reduce the cost of compliance with future fuel economy and greenhouse gas regulations. This, in turn, would expand the market for fuel ethanol and potentially lead to an increase in the amount of corn ethanol that can be used in gasoline.

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Hydrous Ethanol Reforming for Reducing NOx Emissions from Diesel Engines

(2016)
University of Minnesota/William Northrop

The University of Minnesota (UMN) has demonstrated a dual-fuel hydrous ethanol injection system for use on existing diesel engines that can replace up to 40% diesel fuel use by energy with ethanol. We have also demonstrated that 180 proof hydrous ethanol production can save 10% in plant natural gas usage and reduce net plant water use up to 6%.

The primary motivations for developing a viable hydrous ethanol dual-fuel system are to expand the market for ethanol to diesel-powered applications and to reduce pollutant emissions from diesel engines.

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Advancing Corn Ethanol in an Era of Low Oil Prices

(2015)
DeFour Group LLC/Dean Drake

Corn ethanol is under attack by a combination of oil interests concerned about losing market share and some environmental groups trying to protect favored technologies like electric vehicles from cost beneficial biofuels. ”Renewables Now!” is a new narrative focusing on this country’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 26% – 28% from 2005 levels by 2025. Only those renewable fuels and efficiency technologies currently invented and proven could be employed to achieve these reductions in such a short timeframe.

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Expanded Small Engines Ethanol Storage Study

(2014)
Minnesota State University-Mankato/Gary Mead

This study will determine the effects of E10, E15 and E20 on the fuel systems of small engines found on handheld and non-handheld power equipment. It will investigate both material compatibility and performance issues. This study is an expansion of the small engines storage study conducted at Minnesota State University-Mankato from 2012 to 2014.

During that first storage study, it was discovered that ethanol blended fuels did have some effects on certain types of carburetors.

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Enhancement of Corn-based Fuel for Recreational Engines and Vehicles

(2014)
Michigan Technical University/Scott Miers

E15 is replacing E10 at fuel stations, which means snowmobiles and other recreational vehicles will be required to operate on a fuel for which they have not been calibrated. When E15 fuel is used in a snowmobile that was calibrated for E0, exhaust system temperature and NOx emissions increase, carbon monoxide and 1,3 butadiene emissions decrease, cold-start performance degrades, and fuel consumption increases.

This project will determine if changes to the engine calibration can minimize the negative impacts of E20 while taking advantage of improved fuel properties to reduce emissions and potentially increase performance.

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Quantifying Energy Savings Gained through Production of Hydrous Ethanol from Corn

(2014)
University of Minnesota/William Northrop

This project represents an expansion of current work at the University of Minnesota in evaluating and developing technology that will allow the expanded use of hydrous ethanol in diesel engines. Early research has proven that up to 150 proof hydrous can be used in a dual fuel mode to reduce soot and NOx emissions below regulated standards without complex after treatment systems and without reduction in engine fuel efficiency. This project combines this ongoing research with previous experience in lifecycle energy analyses to further motivate the expanded use of hydrous ethanol.

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Development of a Port-Injected Hydrous Ethanol System for Diesel Engines

(2013)
University of Minnesota/William Northrop

The purpose of this project is to develop a novel and effective system for operating a diesel engine in a dual fuel mode with hydrous ethanol as the primary fuel. The project seeks to prove the hypothesis that using timed injection of denatured 160 proof hydrous ethanol near the intake port as opposed to continuous fumigation in the intake plumbing will allow higher ethanol energy fraction (EEF) levels than are possible with currently marketed systems,

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Seasonal Storage Issues of Intermediate Ethanol Blended Fuels

(2012)
Minnesota State University-Mankato/Bruce Jones and Gary Mead

The purpose of this study is to determine the effects of storing gasoline including E10, E15 and E20 on the fuel systems of 2-stroke and 4-stroke small engines found on power equipment. The test is designed to closely mimic how consumers store their power equipment over summer and winter. Unlike automobiles which tend to be used frequently and year-round, small engines use is often seasonal and infrequent, which allows fuel to remain in them for extended periods of time,

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Intermediate Ethanol Blends in Small Engines

(2009)
Minnesota State University-Mankato/Bruce Jones and Gary Mead

In order to increase the ethanol content of gasoline to blends higher than 10% for non-flexible fueled vehicles a waiver must be obtained by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In the 1970s when the waiver was granted for E10, the EPA did not require small engines be included in the process. Therefore, no testing was done on small engines. Today the EPA regulates approximately 900 combinations of engine and components with small non-road engines (SNRE).

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