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Advancing Biofuels for Transportation and Power Generation with $1.49 Million DOE Award

Mechanical Engineering Professors Sotirios Mamalis and Ben Lawler
Mechanical Engineering Professors Sotirios Mamalis (IACS  Affiliate) and Ben Lawler

 

Reprinted with Permission from the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences

The College of Engineering and Applied Sciences announces that Professors Sotirios Mamalis and Ben Lawler in the 
Department of Mechanical Engineering  have received a $1.49 million grant from the  U.S. Department of Energy  (DOE) - Vehicle Technologies Office. Their proposal, "Naphthenic Biofuel-Diesel Blend for Optimizing Mixing Controlled Compression Ignition Combustion," was selected as part of a total of $10.1 million in funding to Engines and Fuels research projects.

“Our research will advance the state-of-the-art of biofuels by introducing a new naphthenic blend produced from loblolly pine,” said Sotirios Mamalis, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and the principal investigator (PI) for the project. “It will also provide a detailed set of experimental data showing the effects of the biofuel addition on diesel engine combustion and help  identify the next generation of biofuels that can pave the way towards carbon neutral transportation.”

“This research will help invent technologies that promote energy efficiency and environmental sustainability with the potential to impact the future of transportation fuels, while offering significant benefits through reduction in greenhouse gases and improved air quality,” said Fotis Sotiropoulos, Dean, College of Engineering and Applied Sciences.  “Sotirios and Ben are relentless in their pursuit of new technologies that offer alternatives to traditional fuels and combustion. I applaud their efforts and look forward to the outcomes of their research.”

This project is focused on developing and testing a new biofuel that can be used in current and future diesel engines, to displace petroleum-derived fuel and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation and power generation. Unlike existing biofuels that are largely derived from food crops, the proposed biofuel is derived from loblolly pine, which makes it more economically attractive. Stony Brook has partnered with  RTI International  (North Carolina), a non-profit research organization, which will investigate the production and upscale of the new biofuel. Stony Brook University will evaluate the biofuel's chemical properties, and test it in a research engine to assess its performance compared to conventional diesel fuel. The project team will also analyze the lifecycle of the new biofuel, including production and combustion in the engine, to quantify the greenhouse gas reductions that it can offer compared to petroleum-derived fuels. Throughout the execution of this project, the team will work with a group from the  DOE National Laboratories  that is focused on developing advanced biofuels for future internal combustion engines. The project will be conducted over a period of three years.

The award is among 42 projects totaling $80 million selected for funding by the DOE to support advanced vehicle technologies that can enable more affordable mobility, strengthen domestic energy security, reduce the U.S. dependence on foreign sources of critical materials, and enhance U.S. economic growth. This work supports DOE’s goal to invest in early-stage research of transportation technologies that can give families and businesses greater choice in how they meet their mobility needs.

DOE press release:  Department of Energy Announces $80 Million investment in Advanced Vehicle Technologies Research

 

About the researchers:

Sotirios Mamalis  (PI) is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and an affiliate member of Stony Brook's  Institute for Advanced Computational Science (IACS).  His research is in power generation and propulsion systems with emphasis on internal combustion engines using conventional and alternative fuels. He joined the Stony Brook faculty in 2013 and holds a PhD in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan. Visit his research lab’s page at:    Engine Combustion Research.

Benjamin Lawler  (Co-PI) is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.   His research is focused on improving the efficiency and emissions of internal combustion engines, including the use of alternative fuels or advanced combustion concepts. He joined the Stony Brook faculty in 2015, and received a PhD in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan. Visit his research lab’s page at:     Engine Combustion Research.

 

 

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