NREL's applied fuels performance research takes a whole-vehicle-systems approach, examining not just co-optimization of low-carbon fuels and internal combustion engines, but also fuel production, infrastructure, handling, combustion, and emissions.
Putting more energy-efficient vehicles on the road—to displace oil consumption, decrease greenhouse gas emissions, and improve the nation's energy security—requires simultaneous advances in fuel formulation, combustion strategy, and engine design.
NREL and its industry partners focus on the intersection of fuel chemistry, combustion, and emissions to answer two primary questions:
- How can improved fuel chemistry lead to more efficient engine performance?
- How can better engine design most effectively leverage fuel properties?
Learn about NREL's fuels performance work in these areas:
- Co-Optimization of Fuels & Engines initiative
- Combustion and engines
- Fuel chemistry
- Emissions and fuel economy
Find out about related NREL biomass research projects that focus on converting renewable biomass feedstocks into transportation fuels, chemicals, and products.
For more information, see the Fuels Performance fact sheet.
NREL conducts fuels performance research projects at the Fuel Combustion Laboratory and ReFUEL Laboratory. NREL also has access to external test facilities that supplement the lab's on-site capabilities.
NREL researchers document their findings in conference papers and presentations, technical reports, journal articles, and fact sheets. Search the NREL Publications Database to access published documents and data.
Explore a sampling of recent fuels performance publications:
- Co-Optimization of Fuels & Engines for Tomorrow's Energy-Efficient Vehicles. A.K. Breitenbach. (2016)
- Fuels Performance: Navigating the Intersection of Fuels and Combustion. A.K. Breitenbach. (2014)
- Long-Term Storage Stability of Biodiesel and Biodiesel Blends. E. Christensen and R.L. McCormick. Fuel Processing Technology. (2014)
- Electrical Conductivity and pHe Response of Ethanol Contaminants. J. Luecke and R.L. McCormick. Energy Fuels. (2014)
- Effect of Accelerated Aging Rate on the Capture of Fuel-Borne Metal Impurities by Emissions Control Devices. A. Williams, R.L. McCormick, M.J. Lance, C. Xie, T. Toops, and R. Brezny. SAE International Journal of Fuels and Lubricants. (2014)
- A Perspective on Oxygenated Species in the Refinery Integration of Pyrolysis Oil. M.S. Talmadge, R.M. Baldwin, M.J. Biddy, R.L. McCormick, G.T. Beckham, G.A. Ferguson, S. Czernik, K.A. Magrini-Bair, T.D. Foust, P.D. Metelski, C. Hetrick, and M.R. Nimlos. Green Chemistry. (2014)
- Saturated Monoglyceride Effects on Low-Temperature Performance of Biodiesel Blends. G.M. Chupka, L. Fouts, J.A. Lennon, T.L. Alleman, D.A. Daniels, and R.L. McCormick. Fuel Processing Technology. (2014)
- Impact of Higher Alcohols Blended in Gasoline on Light-Duty Vehicle Exhaust Emissions. M. Ratcliff, J. Luecke, A. Williams, E. Christensen, J. Yanowitz, and R.L. McCormick. Environmental Science and Technology. (2013)
- Experiments and Computational Fluid Dynamics Modeling Analysis of Large n-Alkane Ignition Kinetics in the Ignition Quality Tester. G.E. Bogin, E. Osecky, J.Y. Chen, M.A. Ratcliff, J. Luecke, B. Zigler, and A.M. Dean. Energy and Fuels. (2014)
- Review and Evaluation of Studies on the Use of E15 in Light-Duty Vehicles. R.L. McCormick, J. Yanowitz, M. Ratcliff, and B.T. Zigler. (2013)
- Ignition Quality Tester (IQT) Investigation of the Negative Temperature Coefficient Region of Alkane Autoignition. G.E. Bogin, E. Osecky, M.A. Ratcliff, J. Luecke, X. He, B.T. Zigler, and A.M. Dean. Energy and Fuels. (2013)
- Effects of Gasoline Direct Injection Engine Operating Parameters on Particle Number Emissions. X. He, M.A. Ratcliff, and B.T. Zigler. Energy and Fuels. (2012)
Contact Matthew Thornton for more information about NREL's fuels performance projects.