Collaborative Research in Energy with South Africa: Fundamental Characterisation of Autoignition and Flame Propagation of Synthetic Fuels

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: Mechanical Engineering

Abstract

Sustainable and secure fuels for road and air transport are essential to the vitality of both western and developing economies. Novel alternative fuels and supplies are required to meet the global challenges of declining oil reserves and concerns over the security of remaining supplies, as well as the enviromental imperative for greener fuels to offset CO2 generation. Liquid fuels offer the highest energy density for transportation applications and Synthetic liquid fuels, which can be produced from renewable and non-food bio feedstocks as well as solid and gaseous fuel supplies, offer exciting possibilities for partial or even total substitution of remaining fossil fuel supplies. There is a growing international interest in synthetic jet-fuels, for example, with the Fischer-Tropsch process central to their production. South Africa are pioneers and international leaders in the F-T process. The behaviour of these new fuels must be fully characterised and understood if they are to be widely employed and technologies developed for their effective deployment. This proposal relates to the vital and inter-related fuel characteristics of autoignition and burning velocity. In this collaboration with internationally leading South African synthetic fuels researchers at the University of Cape Town, these fundamental characteristics will be experimentally determined for both synthetic kerosenes, to be used in aviation jet-fuels, and synthetic gasolines for road transporation.The project also includes mathematical and computational modelling employing the data generated from the experimental studies, including on how autoignition and gas motion couple to generate pressure waves and pressure oscillations and engine cycle models to predict the performance and knock properties of synthetic fuels.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Much progress has been made in developing fundamental knowledge of fuel blending and performance which is being used by oil companies to inform fuel development. In parallel, the studies have made major contributions to reductions in fire and explosion hazards throughout the automotive, aviation, and energy sectors. Energy efficient fuels The detailed observations and modelling of high-pressure combustion and auto-ignition, not only showed the widely used Octane Number criteria to be misleading for modern engines, but it also led to the development of alternative design approaches. These, combined with fuel tests in the Leeds bomb, have supported Shell's development of new vehicle fuels with increased burn rate and reduced auto-ignition. Specialist support was given also to the development of Shell's Formula One fuels. The characterisation of synthetic fuel components and determination of blending rules are of ultimately benefit to UK society and industry via the continued introduction of more secure and sustainable supplies. Results are of direct relevance to fuel production industries that include the project collaborators, Shell and SASOL. They directly affect reciprocating and gas turbine engine developers which rely on these fuels. Further impact will be progressive over many years in terms of the influence on long term sustainability and ability to improve product efficiency and to meet imposed targets on emissions reduction. The experimental Auto-ignition and Burning velocity characterisations, together with the increased theoretical understanding will benefit those tasked with incorporating synthetically derived additions into commercial fuels. Such additions are providing more effective use of depleting fossil fuel reserves. Energy efficient engines. Engines with high burn rates are generally cleaner and more efficient, provided knock is avoided. As a result of the direct collaborations with Shell and SASOL, and related collaborations with engine manufacturers (Jaguar Land-Rover (JLR), Lotus, Rolls-Royce (R-R), and VW) the Leeds experimental and modelling insights into burning rates and auto-ignition delay times have had a widespread influence on reciprocating engines and gas turbines. Significant improvements have been made to performance, efficiency, emission reduction, avoidance of knock in spark ignition engines and avoidance of flashback and high-altitude flame-out in aero gas turbines. These have contributed to fundamental improvements in the design and engineering of commercially very successful, high pressure, knock-free, turbo-charged, engines in the UK. Collaborations with Shell have made major contributions in the key area of carefully-controlled high pressure combustion, just short of the knock limit. Impact on Society, Culture and Creativity The Team contributed to BBC programmes, for radio on oil field blow-outs and for TV on the Olympic flame (2012). The findings on the limitations of Octane Numbers have had international repercussions throughout the automotive and oil industries.
First Year Of Impact 2011
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Chemicals,Energy,Environment,Transport
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description Fully industrially funded PhD project
Amount £120,000 (GBP)
Organisation Lubrizol Corporation 
Sector Private
Country United States
Start 02/2015 
End 08/2018
 
Title Rapid Compression Machine 
Description An existing rapid compression machine has been completely re-engineered to produce a world leading machine that has a very fast operating time with minimal piston bounce and can operate at conditions of relevance to engines. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The machine has provided data on auto-ignition times for various fuels and fuels blends to SASOL and to Shell. Such data will inform improvements to automotive and aircraft fuels and, therefore, will have significant energy and environmental impacts 
 
Title auto-ignition database 
Description At a two day Workshop at the Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago in August 2012. a Consortium was created and it was agreed that the different machines, of different designs, should measure the ignition delay times, t, of iso-octane under nominally the same conditions of concentration, namely, stoichiometric composition with a fixed oxygen content of 21%, pressure at the end of compression, Po, of 2.0 MPa, and in the temperature range 650K-950K. The required variations of temperature at the end of compression, To, were to be attained by either changing the initial temperature or by varying the amounts of diluents with different specific heats (N2, Ar and CO2). The results were submitted and collated by the workshop organisers, Argonne National Laboratory, and reviewed by staff at the National University of Ireland-Galway, University of Connecticut, University of Michigan and University of Lille. The Leeds team provided experimental values of auto-ignition delay times, to the consortium. The Leeds team obtained data from the six different international facilities. They analysed the data and proposed a methodology for extracting rig independent values of auto-ignition delay time by considering the strengths of each machine and correcting for different compression times and rates of heat transfer. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2012 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The Leeds work has provided a methodology for extracting rig independent values of auto-ignition delay time by considering the strengths of each machine and correcting for different compression times and rates of heat transfer. The resulting data, which is more accurate and reliable than previous data should have significant impact of future fuel development 
 
Description Argonne National Laboratory MEASUREMENTS OF IGNITION DELAY TIMES IN RAPID COMPRESSION MACHINES 
Organisation Argonne National Laboratory
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The Leeds team provided experimental values of auto-ignition delay times, to the consortium. The Leeds team obtained data from the six different international facilities. It analysed the data and proposed a methodology for extracting rig independent values of auto-ignition delay time by considering the strengths of each machine and correcting for different compression times and rates of heat transfer. The work will be published in technical papers and in a PhD thesis.
Collaborator Contribution A two day Workshop, organised by Scott Goldsborough at the Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago in August 2012 brought together a diverse group of researchers, including experimentalists, modellers and theoreticians with expertise in Rapid Compression Machines, RCM. Current experimental techniques, machine design, diagnostics and computational methods were reviewed, in order to obtain more insight and understanding of the relatively low temperature chemistry phenomena within RCMs, as well as of the general challenges involved in their use. A collaborative effort was initiated amongst the different participants to evaluate and understand the differences in the ignition delay times that had been measured with the different RCMs. A Consortium was created and it was agreed that the different machines, of different designs, should measure the ignition delay times, t, of iso-octane under nominally the same conditions of concentration, namely, stoichiometric composition with a fixed oxygen content of 21%, pressure at the end of compression, Po, of 2.0 MPa, and in the temperature range 650K-950K. The required variations of temperature at the end of compression, To, were to be attained by either changing the initial temperature or by varying the amounts of diluents with different specific heats (N2, Ar and CO2). The results were submitted and collated by the workshop organisers, Argonne National Laboratory, and reviewed by Henry Curran (National University of Ireland-Galway), Jackie Sung (University of Connecticut), Margaret Wooldridge (University of Michigan) and Gaillaume Vanhove (University of Lille).
Impact MEASUREMENTS OF IGNITION DELAY TIMES IN RAPID COMPRESSION MACHINES, technical report submitted to members of the Second International RCM Workshop, Argonne National Laboratory, Chicago in August 2012
Start Year 2012
 
Description Argonne National Laboratory MEASUREMENTS OF IGNITION DELAY TIMES IN RAPID COMPRESSION MACHINES 
Organisation National University of Ireland, Galway
Country Ireland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The Leeds team provided experimental values of auto-ignition delay times, to the consortium. The Leeds team obtained data from the six different international facilities. It analysed the data and proposed a methodology for extracting rig independent values of auto-ignition delay time by considering the strengths of each machine and correcting for different compression times and rates of heat transfer. The work will be published in technical papers and in a PhD thesis.
Collaborator Contribution A two day Workshop, organised by Scott Goldsborough at the Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago in August 2012 brought together a diverse group of researchers, including experimentalists, modellers and theoreticians with expertise in Rapid Compression Machines, RCM. Current experimental techniques, machine design, diagnostics and computational methods were reviewed, in order to obtain more insight and understanding of the relatively low temperature chemistry phenomena within RCMs, as well as of the general challenges involved in their use. A collaborative effort was initiated amongst the different participants to evaluate and understand the differences in the ignition delay times that had been measured with the different RCMs. A Consortium was created and it was agreed that the different machines, of different designs, should measure the ignition delay times, t, of iso-octane under nominally the same conditions of concentration, namely, stoichiometric composition with a fixed oxygen content of 21%, pressure at the end of compression, Po, of 2.0 MPa, and in the temperature range 650K-950K. The required variations of temperature at the end of compression, To, were to be attained by either changing the initial temperature or by varying the amounts of diluents with different specific heats (N2, Ar and CO2). The results were submitted and collated by the workshop organisers, Argonne National Laboratory, and reviewed by Henry Curran (National University of Ireland-Galway), Jackie Sung (University of Connecticut), Margaret Wooldridge (University of Michigan) and Gaillaume Vanhove (University of Lille).
Impact MEASUREMENTS OF IGNITION DELAY TIMES IN RAPID COMPRESSION MACHINES, technical report submitted to members of the Second International RCM Workshop, Argonne National Laboratory, Chicago in August 2012
Start Year 2012
 
Description Argonne National Laboratory MEASUREMENTS OF IGNITION DELAY TIMES IN RAPID COMPRESSION MACHINES 
Organisation University of Connecticut
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The Leeds team provided experimental values of auto-ignition delay times, to the consortium. The Leeds team obtained data from the six different international facilities. It analysed the data and proposed a methodology for extracting rig independent values of auto-ignition delay time by considering the strengths of each machine and correcting for different compression times and rates of heat transfer. The work will be published in technical papers and in a PhD thesis.
Collaborator Contribution A two day Workshop, organised by Scott Goldsborough at the Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago in August 2012 brought together a diverse group of researchers, including experimentalists, modellers and theoreticians with expertise in Rapid Compression Machines, RCM. Current experimental techniques, machine design, diagnostics and computational methods were reviewed, in order to obtain more insight and understanding of the relatively low temperature chemistry phenomena within RCMs, as well as of the general challenges involved in their use. A collaborative effort was initiated amongst the different participants to evaluate and understand the differences in the ignition delay times that had been measured with the different RCMs. A Consortium was created and it was agreed that the different machines, of different designs, should measure the ignition delay times, t, of iso-octane under nominally the same conditions of concentration, namely, stoichiometric composition with a fixed oxygen content of 21%, pressure at the end of compression, Po, of 2.0 MPa, and in the temperature range 650K-950K. The required variations of temperature at the end of compression, To, were to be attained by either changing the initial temperature or by varying the amounts of diluents with different specific heats (N2, Ar and CO2). The results were submitted and collated by the workshop organisers, Argonne National Laboratory, and reviewed by Henry Curran (National University of Ireland-Galway), Jackie Sung (University of Connecticut), Margaret Wooldridge (University of Michigan) and Gaillaume Vanhove (University of Lille).
Impact MEASUREMENTS OF IGNITION DELAY TIMES IN RAPID COMPRESSION MACHINES, technical report submitted to members of the Second International RCM Workshop, Argonne National Laboratory, Chicago in August 2012
Start Year 2012
 
Description Argonne National Laboratory MEASUREMENTS OF IGNITION DELAY TIMES IN RAPID COMPRESSION MACHINES 
Organisation University of Lille
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The Leeds team provided experimental values of auto-ignition delay times, to the consortium. The Leeds team obtained data from the six different international facilities. It analysed the data and proposed a methodology for extracting rig independent values of auto-ignition delay time by considering the strengths of each machine and correcting for different compression times and rates of heat transfer. The work will be published in technical papers and in a PhD thesis.
Collaborator Contribution A two day Workshop, organised by Scott Goldsborough at the Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago in August 2012 brought together a diverse group of researchers, including experimentalists, modellers and theoreticians with expertise in Rapid Compression Machines, RCM. Current experimental techniques, machine design, diagnostics and computational methods were reviewed, in order to obtain more insight and understanding of the relatively low temperature chemistry phenomena within RCMs, as well as of the general challenges involved in their use. A collaborative effort was initiated amongst the different participants to evaluate and understand the differences in the ignition delay times that had been measured with the different RCMs. A Consortium was created and it was agreed that the different machines, of different designs, should measure the ignition delay times, t, of iso-octane under nominally the same conditions of concentration, namely, stoichiometric composition with a fixed oxygen content of 21%, pressure at the end of compression, Po, of 2.0 MPa, and in the temperature range 650K-950K. The required variations of temperature at the end of compression, To, were to be attained by either changing the initial temperature or by varying the amounts of diluents with different specific heats (N2, Ar and CO2). The results were submitted and collated by the workshop organisers, Argonne National Laboratory, and reviewed by Henry Curran (National University of Ireland-Galway), Jackie Sung (University of Connecticut), Margaret Wooldridge (University of Michigan) and Gaillaume Vanhove (University of Lille).
Impact MEASUREMENTS OF IGNITION DELAY TIMES IN RAPID COMPRESSION MACHINES, technical report submitted to members of the Second International RCM Workshop, Argonne National Laboratory, Chicago in August 2012
Start Year 2012
 
Description Argonne National Laboratory MEASUREMENTS OF IGNITION DELAY TIMES IN RAPID COMPRESSION MACHINES 
Organisation University of Michigan
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The Leeds team provided experimental values of auto-ignition delay times, to the consortium. The Leeds team obtained data from the six different international facilities. It analysed the data and proposed a methodology for extracting rig independent values of auto-ignition delay time by considering the strengths of each machine and correcting for different compression times and rates of heat transfer. The work will be published in technical papers and in a PhD thesis.
Collaborator Contribution A two day Workshop, organised by Scott Goldsborough at the Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago in August 2012 brought together a diverse group of researchers, including experimentalists, modellers and theoreticians with expertise in Rapid Compression Machines, RCM. Current experimental techniques, machine design, diagnostics and computational methods were reviewed, in order to obtain more insight and understanding of the relatively low temperature chemistry phenomena within RCMs, as well as of the general challenges involved in their use. A collaborative effort was initiated amongst the different participants to evaluate and understand the differences in the ignition delay times that had been measured with the different RCMs. A Consortium was created and it was agreed that the different machines, of different designs, should measure the ignition delay times, t, of iso-octane under nominally the same conditions of concentration, namely, stoichiometric composition with a fixed oxygen content of 21%, pressure at the end of compression, Po, of 2.0 MPa, and in the temperature range 650K-950K. The required variations of temperature at the end of compression, To, were to be attained by either changing the initial temperature or by varying the amounts of diluents with different specific heats (N2, Ar and CO2). The results were submitted and collated by the workshop organisers, Argonne National Laboratory, and reviewed by Henry Curran (National University of Ireland-Galway), Jackie Sung (University of Connecticut), Margaret Wooldridge (University of Michigan) and Gaillaume Vanhove (University of Lille).
Impact MEASUREMENTS OF IGNITION DELAY TIMES IN RAPID COMPRESSION MACHINES, technical report submitted to members of the Second International RCM Workshop, Argonne National Laboratory, Chicago in August 2012
Start Year 2012
 
Description SASOL Auto-ignition and burning velocity of alternative fuels 
Organisation Sasol Technology
Department Sasol Technology Research Laboratory
Country South Africa 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Provision of research expertise on burning velocity and auto-ignition. Provision of background and specific data. Provision of staff (PhD students) funded by EPSRC Analysis, modelling and theoretical contributions
Collaborator Contribution Provision of research knowledge of alternative fuels, in particular relating to Fischer-Tropsch fuels synthesised from coal. Provision of a novel rapid compression machine with which, Leeds students were able to obtain comparative data and data at conditions outside the range of the Leeds machine.
Impact Burning velocity and auto-ignition data of toluene fuels at a range of conditions
Start Year 2010
 
Description Shell Global Solutions - Auto-ignition 
Organisation Shell Global Solutions International BV
Department Shell Global Solutions UK
Country Netherlands 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Experimental data, theoretical understanding and analytical techniques
Collaborator Contribution Advice on choice of fuels Provision of fuels
Impact Data
Start Year 2010