While vehicles are becoming more efficient, the properties of conventional fuels continue to limit the performance of internal combustion engines in most cars and trucks currently on U.S. roads.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Co-Optimization of Fuels & Engines (Co-Optima) initiative is bringing together top scientists, engineers, and analysts from nine national laboratories with more than 20 university and industry partners across the country to investigate fuels and engines as dynamic design variables that can work together to boost efficiency and performance, while minimizing emissions. Applications include the entire on-road fleet, from light-duty (LD) passenger cars to heavy-duty (HD) freight trucks.
Potential benefits include dramatic improvements in vehicle fuel economy and increases in the use of domestically sourced fuel for transportation. This, in turn, has the potential to create new U.S. jobs and keep energy dollars in the United States, while reducing emissions and costs for consumers and commercial operators at the pump.
A major portion of Co-Optima research is focused on identifying blendstocks that can be added to conventional liquid fuels to tailor the fuel properties. Researchers are considering blendstocks that can be produced from a wide variety of domestic resources, including nonfood domestic biomass such as forestry and agricultural waste.
This initiative will provide American industry and policymakers with the knowledge, data, and tools needed to decide most viable and environmentally-friendly options for automakers and fuel manufacturers.