IIT Delhi to develop technology for DME fuelled automotive diesel engine

Project Title: Development and Demonstration of enhanced performance of the Commercial automotive Vehicle with Alternative Transportation Fuel

Prof.K.A.Subramanian, Centre for Energy Studies, IIT Delhi

This research project is mainly aimed at the development of the technology to operate an automotive diesel engine/vehicle fuelled with Dimethyl Ether as fuel with almost zero level of smoke / particulate matter along with enhanced thermal efficiency. The technology is being developed by IIT Delhi with the collaboration of Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) R&D Centre and Ashok Leyland Limited.

IIT Delhi contributes to India and the world through excellence in scientific and technical education and research and one of IIT Delhi mission is to undertake collaborative projects which offer opportunities for long-term interaction with academia and industry. Indian Oil has a sprawling world-class R&D Centre that is perhaps Asia's finest. This Centre is India's foremost commercial centre of research excellence in the areas of lubricants, refinery processes, pipeline transportation, alternative fuels fuel additives, engine testing, materials sciences and environmental sciences. IOCL is ranked in “Fortune's Global 500” list of world's largest companies in the year 2017. Ashok Leyland is the 2nd largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles in India, the 4th largest manufacturer of buses in the world and the 12th largest manufacturer of trucks globally. Ashok Leyland R&D centre offers world-class technology and nurtures creativity and innovation, over 1000 Product Development as well as address safety and environmental issues.

“Dimethyl ether is a clean fuel if it is produced from the feedstock of coal; it can be green fuel when it is produced from biomass, agricultural and forestry waste. As DME fuel has higher ignition quality (cetane number: 58) than diesel, this fuel is more suitable for compression ignition engines/vehicles,” says Prof. K.A.Subramanian who is the PI of the project.

“DME fuel can be stored in liquid form and it is vapour/gas at ambient condition when it is inducted into the engine. The fuel economy and transient performance and emission characteristics of the engine/vehicle would be improved by the engine’s combustion with DME fuel. The carbon to hydrogen ratio of DME (CH3-O-CH3) fuel is lower than diesel (C16H34) resulting in lower CO2 emission which is one of main Greenhouse gas emissions,” he added.

Layout of Well to wheel
The project is funded by Department of Science and Technology, IOCL R&D Centre and Ashok Leyland Limited. IIT Delhi is a leading partner for developing the technology for utilization of DME fuel under dual fuel mode and then IOCL is planned to carry out durability study of DME fuelled engine and field trial study of DME fuelled vehicle. A diesel vehicle can operate either with Diesel-DME fuel or only diesel called flexi-vehicle. The technology for utilization of DME fuel in a diesel vehicle would be developed and demonstrated by the year 2020 and Ashok Leyland will explore to commercialise this technology in their vehicles in near future. The study results would be an authentic source for DME fuelled vehicle in Indian Context. The methodology emerging from this project would also be useful to other automotive engine/vehicle manufactures in India. This research project is a kind of strengthening sustainable energy system in India.