Browse Publications Technical Papers 2018-01-1749
2018-09-10

Methodical Selection of Sustainable Fuels for High Performance Racing Engines 2018-01-1749

As the importance of sustainability increases and dominates the powertrain development within the automotive sector, this issue has to be addressed in motorsports as well. The development of sustainable high-performance fuels defined for the use in motorsports offers technical and environmental potential with the possibility to increase the sustainability of motorsports at the same or even a better performance level. At the moment race cars are predominantly powered by fossil fuels. However due to the emerging shift regarding the focus of the regulations towards high efficient powertrains during the last years the further development of the used fuels gained in importance. Moreover during the last decades a huge variety of sustainable fuels emerged that offer a range of different characteristics and that are produced based on waste materials or carbon dioxide. This study investigates the question of which sustainable fuels offer the characteristics suitable for high-performance race engines. Equivalents to gasoline, diesel and natural gas are examined separately in order to present the options with various engine concepts. The requirements for a high-performance fuel are defined based on experimental investigations emphasizing among other characteristics the importance of the knock resistance for gasoline-like fuels and the ignitability for diesel-like fuels. Furthermore the characteristics of the sustainable alternatives are analyzed. On the basis of the experimental results a comparison is carried out to match the fuel requirements with the characteristics and to select the optimal equivalent for fossil gasoline, diesel and natural gas. Moreover the sustainable fuels are evaluated with an environmental analysis including the fuel life cycle. The results show a potential to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions per mega joule energy content by up to 88%. This research assesses the broad variety of sustainable biologic and synthetic fuels concerning the potential use in motorsports and the resulting environmental benefits.

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