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MOTOREX Magazine 2022 122 EN

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WHAT’S NEW DIMETHYL ETHER (DME) E-FUEL CO 2 -NEUTRALITY FOR DIESEL ENGINES A research project by EMPA and a group of collaborators is studying the CO 2 -neutral synthetic alternative fuel dimethyl ether. MOTOREX is contributing its expertise in lubricants to the project. The results are promising. Within the next few months MOTOREX will begin operating a truck modified to run on DME. 6

Although policymakers and many interest groups are loath to admit it, battery-powered vehicles are unlikely to be the only option competing for the future of transportation. Away from roads and densely populated areas or where equipment is running under continual heavy loads, the internal combustion engine will not be leaving the scene any time soon. Far from the media spotlight, the real experts are well aware that electric power from wind and solar are not always available where and when they’re needed. Batteries as a storage medium have a weight problem, to say nothing of the social, environmental, and geopolitical problems associated with their production and disposal. CLIMATE-NEUTRAL LONG-DISTANCE TRANSPORTATION – THESE ARE THE OPTIONS An overview of the different options for powering commercial vehicles, with the pros and cons. FUEL SHORT- DISTANCE LONG- DISTANCE REFUELING INFRASTRUCTURE VEHICLE TECHNOLOGY ENGINE TYPE NOTE BATTERY GOOD POOR EXPENSIVE STILL EXPENSIVE ELECTRIC Heavy batteries mean a lower payload and short range. OVERHEAD POWER LINE POOR GOOD EXPENSIVE EXPENSIVE ELECTRIC A second power source is needed when off the highway ("last mile"). HYDROGEN GOOD GOOD EXPENSIVE EXPENSIVE ELECTRIC Range is shorter than diesel when refueling in gaseous form. Refueling with liquid gas has not yet been proven in practise. POWER-TO-GAS GOOD GOOD AVAILABLE CHEAP GASOLINE / PETROLEUM GAS Efficient methanation of hydrogen not yet practise-proven. POWER-TO-LIQUID GOOD GOOD AVAILABLE CHEAP DIESEL Synthetic diesel produced using Fischer-Tropsch synthesis results in large losses. DIMETHYL ETHER GOOD GOOD CHEAP (AS LPG) CHEAP DIESEL Engine technology not yet researched. © EMPA TECHNOLOGICAL DIVERSITY If a reduction in global CO 2 emissions is to be achieved, the solution is likely to lie in greater technological diversity. Alongside battery-powered vehicles, alternative fuels (e-fuels) are also likely to play an important role. One of these is the synthetic fuel dimethyl ether (DME). DME is synthesized from water and CO 2 from ambient air using energy such as electricity. When made with renewable energy it’s known as rDME. The result is a fuel similar to liquefied petroleum gas which can be stored, transported, and distributed through the existing service station infrastructure with relatively little loss or risk. It can be used in slightly modified diesel engines. The combustion process releases the previously captured CO 2 . research subsidiary. CNH is the world’s leading manufacturer of vehicles and engines for transportation, construction, and agricultural equipment. MOTOREX has been involved in the project from the beginning, investigating the specific challenges of this kind of combustion process for motor oil. THE PROJECT AT EMPA Engine tests using DME have been in progress for some time at the Swiss Federal Materials Testing Institute (EMPA) in Dübendorf near Zurich. One of the partners in the project is FPT Motorenforschung AG (FPT = Fiat Power Train), a Case New Holland (CNH) engine © EMPA MOTOREX MAGAZINE 122 I JANUARY 2022 7



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