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USDA Teleseminar —November 30, 2010. Use of Neat Alcohol Fuels and Fuel Blends in Transportation. Matthew Brusstar Advanced Technology Division Office of Transportation and Air Quality U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Oil Production: Hitting a Wall?. The High Cost of Transportation

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Use of neat alcohol fuels and fuel blends in transportation

USDA Teleseminar—November 30, 2010

Use of Neat Alcohol Fuels and Fuel Blends in Transportation

Matthew Brusstar

Advanced Technology Division

Office of Transportation and Air Quality

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The High Cost of Transportation

U.S. Trade Balance – Goods: 1960-2005

Climate Change: A Gathering Storm

  • Toward the end of the 21st century, assuming moderate emissions growth, the United States will be much warmer and dryer.

  • All economic sectors can be expected to participate in GHG reduction strategies, led by transportation

SOURCE: 2008 Draft Technical Support Document on Climate Change (EPAHQOAR-2008-0318-0082)

Historic CO2 Reductions

EPA GHG Regulations for Light-Duty Transportation

Source: U.S. EPA Report 420-F-10051

Growing volumes of Ethanol

Projected Ethanol Volumes under RFS2

Source: U.S. EPA

Source: U. S. EPA Report 420-R-10006

Upstream GHG Emissions

Not all ethanol is created equal…

Source: U.S. EPA

Source: U. S. EPA Report 420-R-10006

Primary Biomass-to-Alcohol Fuel Conversion Pathways

Feedstock economics, logistics

& sustainability

Fuel Conversion Technology

  • Biochemical (ethanol)

Fuel Transport,

Distribution and End Use

Enzymatic hydrolysis




Energy crops

Crop waste


Forest residue







  • Thermochemical (gasification)



Clean H2


  • Gasifier

  • Entrained Flow

  • Fluidized Bed

  • Fixed/Moving Bed


Efficient options for alcohol end use reducing greenhouse gases and petroleum consumption
Efficient Options for Alcohol End UseReducing Greenhouse Gases and Petroleum Consumption

Engine Technology

  • Dedicated Alcohol SI

  • Flex-Fuel Miller Cycle

  • Glow-Plug Assisted CI

  • HCCI

  • Exhaust Heat Recovery

  • Fuel Cells

Engine Technology

  • Dedicated Alcohol SI

  • Flex-Fuel Miller Cycle

  • Glow-Plug Assisted CI

  • HCCI

  • Exhaust Heat Recovery

  • Fuel Cells


  • Advanced Transmissions

  • Hydraulic Hybrid

  • Electric Hybrid


  • Advanced Transmissions

  • Hydraulic Hybrid

  • Electric Hybrid

Epa s advanced technology division what we do
EPA’s Advanced Technology Division: What We Do

  • Bringing together light- and medium-duty engine technologies and advanced hybrids

    • Joint development with industry

      through CRADAs

    • Vehicle demonstration partnerships

  • Center of excellence for Hydraulic Hybrid Vehicles

    • Advanced hybrid technology: >2X fuel economy at low cost

    • Series hybrids enable unique

      high-efficiency engines

  • ATD is putting advanced

    engines into “real world”

    Hydraulic Hybrid vehicle


Epa s alternative fuels engine program economical high efficiency engine technologies
EPA’s Alternative Fuels Engine ProgramEconomical, High-Efficiency Engine Technologies

  • Supports national policy/renewable fuel initiatives

  • Vehicle demonstration program

    • High efficiency hybrid (hydraulic)

    • Heavy-duty Class 6 delivery truck

    • Captive fleet

  • High efficiency engine program (neat alcohol fuels and blends with gasoline)

    • Ethanol or Methanol engines

      with high efficiency (>40% peak)

  • Lends itself to exhaust thermal energy

    recovery in the form of chemical

    and mechanical energy

  • Combined system yields fuel cell

    efficiency (>55% peak) at a

    significantly lower cost

Combustion properties neat methanol and ethanol efficiency advantages
Combustion PropertiesNeat Methanol and Ethanol—Efficiency Advantages

Burning Velocity = rate of fuel heat release in a spark engine

Faster burn velocity enables more dilution, less throttling

Octane = knock resistance

Enables high compression ratio

Heat of Vaporization = charge cooling

Reduces compression work

Properties of Alcohol Fuel BlendsBlends with Gasoline

Energy density = energy per gallon of fuel, relative to gasoline

Higher injector flow required

Engine improvements can compensate for as much as 25-30% loss in energy density (see box above)

RVP = vapor pressure; measure of fuel volatility

Major factor in evaporative emissions and cold starting

Engine DescriptionLight-duty and Medium-duty test programs

Modifications to Base EngineRetrofit or redesign?

Engine efficiency 1 9l engine over 25 better than best gasoline engines
Engine Efficiency: 1.9L EngineOver 25% better than best gasoline engines

  • E100 Brake Efficiency

    • Peak over 41%

    • Diesel-like efficiency

  • M100 Brake Efficiency

    • Over 42% peak; better than baseline diesel

    • Broad range over 40%

Engine efficiency with alcohol blends preserving high efficiency with less alcohol
Engine Efficiency with Alcohol BlendsPreserving high efficiency with less alcohol

  • Ethanol blends

    • Highest efficiency with neat blends

    • Peak efficiency with E30 exceeds best gasoline engines

  • Methanol Blends

    • Increasing efficiency with higher methanol content

    • 38% peak efficiency with M50

Engine efficiency e30 blend efficiency enhancement using a mid level blend
Engine Efficiency: E30 BlendEfficiency enhancement using a mid-level blend

  • E30 (30% ethanol)

    • High efficiency over a broad range

    • Demonstrates efficiency benefits of dedicated fuel vehicles, even with as little as 30% alcohol

    • High-load efficiency gain exceeds loss in fuel energy density

Advanced hybrids opportunities for high efficiency engines
Advanced Hybrids: Opportunities for High-Efficiency Engines

Mid-size car example

  • Advanced Hybrid engine characteristics

    • High peak efficiency, wide range of efficient power: less need for low-load efficiency

    • High power density

    • Low cost

  • Series Hybrids advantages

    • Narrower load-speed


    • Less aggressive transients, more load averaging

    • No low-power operation

Medium duty 4 5l e85 map
Medium-Duty (4.5L) E85 map

Hydraulic Hybrid

Operating Line

140 kW

In-Vehicle Results: Dedicated E85 Engine, Hydraulic Hybrid

Medium-duty delivery truck application

Uses cooled EGR, cycle optimized for higher octane fuel

No bottoming cycle

Peak Eff



engine power

(50-55 kW)

Brake Efficiency: %

Medium duty m85 m100 map
Medium-Duty M85/M100 map

Hydraulic Hybrid

Operating Line

140 kW

Remaining technical challenges
Remaining Technical Challenges

  • Proving the concept out in the field

    • Durability

      • Fuel system

      • Intake valve seats

      • Cylinder liners and piston rings

      • Ignition system

      • Wear surfaces (effect of oil dilution)

    • Hot- and cold-weather performance

      • Spark authority at high ambient temperature

      • Cold starting at very low temperatures

    • Ultra-low tailpipe emissions

  • Demonstrating scaleability to larger-displacement engines

Technology demonstration opportunities
Technology Demonstration Opportunities

  • E85 engine on Hydraulic Hybrid UPS truck

    • Demonstrating roughly 75% improvement in diesel-equivalent fuel economy

    • Around 15% better actual miles-per-gallon of fuel than the baseline diesel truck

    • Engine is demonstrating around 5% better fuel efficiency compared to the diesel

  • Road demonstration

    • Current plans are to run package delivery routes starting March/April 2011

Recoverable energy from ice s
Recoverable Energy from ICE’s

Exhaust Power 30-32 kW

Fuel Energy in

100 kW


Shaft Power 38-42 kW

Power to Coolant 28 - 30 kW

Advantage obtained using adiabatic coatings/insulation


  • Peak Thermal Efficiencies

    • Spark ignition ~ 34 - 38% BTE

    • Compression Ignition ~ 38 - 42% BTE

  • Approximate Proportions of Energy from a CI Engine

Exhaust heat recovery systems
Exhaust Heat Recovery Systems

  • Enabled by load-averaging with series hybrids

  • Engine + reformer achieves brake efficiency of 55-60%

  • Recovers exhaust energy in two forms:

    • Chemical: superheats methanol under high pressure and dissociates it into H2 and CO, which is burned in the engine

      • Endothermic dissociation reaction increases the LHV of the fuel by ~ 19.5%

        Reaction: CH3OH ---> 2H2 + CO

        Energy Balance: 638.1 ---> 2(239.8) + 282.8 kJ/mol

        762.4/638.1 =>+19.5%

    • Mechanical: expands the reformed H2 and CO prior to injection in the engine, providing useful shaft work

Brake thermal efficiency with exhaust heat recovery




Engine Only

Brake Thermal Efficiency (%)

Engine + HyTEC










Engine Speed (RPM)

Brake Thermal Efficiency with Exhaust Heat Recovery

Modeling projections based on results of component-level testing of the reforming catalyst and fuel/exhaust heat exchanger

Choices for the future creating opportunities for dedicated fuel vehicles
Choices for the Future…Creating opportunities for dedicated fuel vehicles

  • U.S. is striving for dramatic petroleum consumption and GHG reductions in transportation to 2016 and beyond

    • Light-duty and heavy-duty standards

    • Renewable fuel standard (RFS2)

  • EPA is developing unique high efficiency alcohol engines, enabled by series hybrid technology

    • Opportunities for dedicated alcohol with exhaust heat recovery

    • Technology demonstrations in captive fleet applications


For more information:

Contact: Matthew Brusstar, U.S. EPA