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NREL - National Renewable Energy Laboratory
About NRELEnergy AnalysisScience and TechnologyTechnology TransferTechnology DeploymentEnergy Systems Integration

Advanced Combustion and Fuels Projects

NREL's advanced combustion and fuels projects bridge fundamental chemical kinetics and engine research to investigate how new vehicle fuels and engine technologies can deliver more energy-efficient transportation systems and meet stringent emission standards. NREL uses a systems approach to this research in its efforts to decrease U.S. dependence on imported petroleum.

Advanced combustion and fuels research activities include:

  • Developing and characterizing research-grade reference fuels, surrogate fuels, and advanced alternative/renewable blending streams
  • Developing experimental and simulation research platforms to enable efficient combustion and diversification of fuel options
  • Developing and validating accurate, efficient fuel ignition and combustion kinetic models
  • Using engine-based studies to correlate data for experimental and simulation efforts
  • Studying combustion-related fuel properties.

Ignition Kinetics, Combustion, and Fuel Properties

More energy-efficient and environmentally friendly vehicles call for simultaneous increases in powertrain efficiency and reductions in emissions, requiring significant advances in internal combustion engines. In turn, advances in engine combustion rely on thorough understanding of fuel properties, especially ignition kinetics behavior. Advanced alternative and renewable fuels that have the greatest potential for petroleum displacement behave much differently than traditional petroleum-based fuels in engines and the combustion process.

NREL's researchers are building a better understanding of the relationships among fuel chemistry, engine performance, and emissions in order to eliminate technological and marketplace barriers for advanced combustion engines and alternative fuels. Lab researchers focus on the intersection of fuel physical and chemical properties, ignition kinetics, combustion, and emissions. This work supports simultaneous development of biofuels, advanced petroleum-based fuels, and advanced combustion engines.

More Information

For information about related projects, see Biofuels and the Renewable Fuels and Lubricants (ReFUEL) Laboratory. The U.S. Department of Energy Vehicle Technologies Office's Fuels and Lubricants subprogram supports NREL's advanced combustion and fuels research activity. NREL's researchers also collaborate closely with industry stakeholders, academic researchers, and other national laboratories.