Fuels and Combustion Research

NREL's research on fuels and combustion spans from individual molecules to vehicle-scale fuel economy and emissions performance.

We explore the chemical basis of how biofuels, new low-carbon fuels, fuel blends, propane, and natural gas perform in engines and vehicles for ground, air, and marine transportation. Our R&D also involves fuel pumps, storage tanks, and distribution systems.

Research and Development

We provide the scientific building blocks needed to spur innovation through fundamental fuels and combustion research and engineering.

Fuel chemical analysis and properties

Fuel chemistry in storage and handling

Combustion mechanism and kinetics

Engine combustion research

Heavy-duty vehicle emissions and fuel economy

Photo of researcher using a microwave plasma atomic emission spectrometer in a lab.


NREL researchers publish journal articles, conference papers, and reports about fuels and combustion R&D.


Co-Optimization of Fuels & Engines: Fuels Properties Database

Features a compilation of properties for various blend stock candidates, including pure compounds.

Access database

Vehicle Fuel Efficiency and Performance

NREL and its industry partners focus on the intersection of fuel chemistry, combustion, and emissions to answer two primary questions:

  1. How can improved fuel chemistry lead to more efficient engine performance?
  2. How can better engine design most effectively leverage fuel properties?

Transportation Fuels Innovation for the Future

Man at a fuel pump filling a garbage truck with compressed natural gas fuel.

NREL's advances in fuel formulation, combustion strategy, and engine design will help develop more fuel-efficient vehicles for ground, air, and marine transportation.

Ultimately, it will help 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.


Contact us to learn more about our fuels and combustion research or to explore partnership opportunities.

Gina Fioroni

Senior Scientist, Acting Group Manager