25741 Development of second-generation biofuels, aiming at road vehicle climate impact reduction
Richtingen: Master of Science in Electromechanical Engineering


Meeting the challenge of achieving a low-carbon future will require a comprehensive portfolio of technologies and policy measures. In 2017, road transport contributed 21% of the EU's total emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2). While different solutions to this problem are being investigated by means of alternative fuels and power trains, it is a fact that billions of vehicles in use today will remain in function for years to come. A sustainable and short-term solution lies within the development of 2nd generation biofuels, as they allow formulating so-called “drop-in” fuel blends (fuels with reduced fossil content that work in the currently sold vehicles). The use of second-generation biofuels together with first-generation biofuels would decrease the fossil content of the current fuels, if they can be successfully blended. Recently, a novel biorefinery process was developed to efficiently produce a drop-in advanced biofuel from woody biomass sources that does not compete with the land use for food production (a typical problem of first-generation biofuels)


To this day, little is known of the combustion behavior of the 2nd generation biofuel blends in their pure form. The different components that make up a biofuel should be investigated, and their combustion behavior (Octane Number, emission characteristics) when blended together should be examined and possibly modelled , since most combustion behavior cannot be predicted in a mere linear way. Next to that, their effect on combustion behavior when blended with fossil fuels or fossil/1G biofuel blends should be investigated.

Promising blends of 2G biofuels should then further be examined in real-life situations to explore their potential as a drop-in fuel for CI and SI engines alike.

Within the research group “Transport Technology”, a CFR Spark-ignited engine and a Toyota D4D DI CI engine were selected for this research. These engines will be used to investigate the fundamental combustion characteristics of 2G biofuel blends, as well as their practical use when blended with real-life Ggasoline and diesel fuels in order to find a short-term sustainable solution for today’s Internal Combustion Engines.

A short and clear opinion for the use of biofuels can be found here: https://www.eubce.com/argument-for-biofuels.html