FACE - Novel Integrated Fuel Reformer-Aftertreatment System for Clean and Efficient Road Vehicles

Lead Research Organisation: Brunel University
Department Name: Institute of Energy Futures

Abstract

Modern vehicles fuel economy has been improved since 2010 by approximately 20% and this has been achieved through engineering advances that have led to engine efficiency improvements, reduction in vehicle mass, introduction of hybrids. Vehicle manufacturers have managed to meet the mandatory 2015 CO2 levels, however according to their current announcements they are all still away by 30% to 15% from the 2020/21 target of 95 g/km. Achieving the necessary additional fuel economy improvement for 2020 and beyond requires the introduction of other unconventional technological approaches.

Despite substantial improvements in the emissions control technologies for road transport, which have been resulted in improved air quality over the past decade, there are still significant air quality problems throughout the UK and the EU, especially in urban and densely populated areas
Exhaust gas fuel reforming is a technique that utilises the engine exhaust heat, H2O, CO2 and fresh fuel to produce H2 rich gas through the promotion of primarily endodermic reactions
Fuel reforming for IC engine technologies has been discussed for years but has never been implemented. The combination of present challenges in the emission reduction requirements in road transport and the improved fuels quality in recent years provides a unique opportunity for a successful fuel reforming process to be utilized in the global aftertreatment market.

In the "first stage" (WP1) the fuel reformer will be designed and integrated within the engine exhaust to provide small reformate/H2 concentrations to the aftertreatment system when required. In the "second stage" (WP2) the fuel reforming catalyst will be amalgamated within the aftertreatment, into one novel compact integrated catalyst brick, designed using additive manufacturing techniques, to improve further response time to engine changes and emission and simplify its operation, costs, complexity and control. In addition to emission benefits, fuel economy improvements (taking into account the small quantity of fuel in the reformer to generate the required ppm of H2) in GDI and Diesel engine, though combinations of more efficient engine calibration, reduced pumping losses and the absence of disruptive aftertreatment control strategies (i.e. aftertreatment systems activity and regeneration achieved through the substantial use of fuel).

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