diesel

New White Diesel Fuel Can Save Energy, Reduce Emissions

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - One thing we can say for sure: people are not likely to give up the convenience, freedom and utility offered by motorized transportation as long as there are options available. Given that our current fleet of gasoline and diesel powered cars and trucks are emitting huge amounts of climate-wrecking carbon dioxide, it’s clear that things have got to change. With all the options on the table: hybrids, electric, hydrogen, compressed air, and a myriad of alternative fuels, it’s anyone’s guess how things will look, even a few years from now, never mind a couple of decades down the road.

Ultimately, if we are going to stick around, we’ll be driving cleaner cars—the cleaner the better, and the sooner the better. What if we could drive a car that used today’s technology, only powered by burning water? That would certainly be very clean—no carbon, no methane, no particulates, sulfur or nitrogen. Of course, we know that water doesn’t burn, but diesel fuel does. And researchers have known for years that a small amount of water can be added to diesel fuel to extend fuel economy while also burning cooler and cleaner. Generally speaking, experiments have found reductions as high as 90% in particulate matter as well as a 37% decrease in NOx.

This can be accomplished with a water-fuel emulsion achieved by blending the two liquids together as if making a milkshake. Researchers in New Zealand found that a mixture containing 12-15% water worked best.  The problem with this is, like with a milkshake, that if you let it sit for a while the two liquids will begin to separate at which point the engine will stall. So the challenge has been to find a way to stabilize the emulsion.

Now, a British company called SulNOx Fuel Fusions claims to have found a way utilizing nanotechnology to create fuel-water emulsion that they call “white diesel.” According to a company press release this emulsion improves fuel economy and reduces emissions “by improving atomization of the fuel and lowering engine temperatures. “

The presence of water in the emulsion has the effect of “breaking down the fuel particles [which] increases their surface area which helps the fuel to burn more completely and efficiently.”

Leaks Make Natural Gas Vehicles Less Climate-Friendly Than Diesel

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - A couple of weeks back, we wrote about how natural gas was being used to replace diesel to fuel many large trucks. California-based Clean Energy Fuels Corp. opened several natural gas filling stations in locations stretching from coast to coast. We wrote, “Natural gas has become an attractive option for high-horsepower trucks, because it is less expensive (by up to $1.50/gal), cleaner (23% less GHG emissions), and offers better price stability when compared with conventional diesel. It's also better for the health of drivers and the communities in which they operate. Given the high level of natural gas availability in the US at this time, it also offers the opportunity to reduce dependence on imported oil.“

A recent study, just released, reveals some information that could potentially pour cold water on this approach. The study, which was jointly conducted by scientists at Stanford University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), found that there is currently 50% more methane already in the atmosphere than had previously been thought. The researchers have determined that this gas must come from leaks throughout the natural gas supply chain.

After conducting a detailed analysis, weighing both the benefits and costs, the team determined that from a greenhouse gas perspective, the added methane resulting from these leaks, more than offsets the reduction in carbon dioxide resulting from the switch from diesel to natural gas. In other words, according to the study’s lead author, Adam R. Brandt, Assistant Professor of Energy Resources at Stanford, “Switching from diesel to natural gas, that’s not a good policy from a climate perspective.”

The leaks, however, were not severe enough to tip the balance when it came to replacing coal-fired power plants with natural gas. That's because of the enormous amounts of CO2 that comes from coal. Even factoring in the methane leaks, gas-powered plants have half the impact of coal plants.

Leonardo Academy Gets EPA Grant to Promote Clean Diesel

Leonardo Academy gets grant to make diesel more sustainable.

Subscribe to diesel