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Technical Paper

On-Site DME Generation from Methanol for Pilot Injection in CI Engines

Dual fuel (CI) engines provide an excellent means of maintaining high thermal efficiency and power while reducing emissions, particularly in situations where the primary fuel does not exhibit good auto-ignition characteristics. This is especially true of diesel engines operating on natural gas; usually in stationary applications such as distributed power generation. However, because two fuels are needed, the reliability of the engine is compromised. Therefore, this paper describes the first phase of a project that is to eventually manufacture dimethyl ether (DME) from natural gas and supply it to the pilot injector of a dual fuel engine. A chemical pilot plant has been built and operated, demonstrating an intermediate step in the production of DME from natural gas. DME is manufactured from methanol for pilot injection into a dual fuel engine operating with natural gas as the main fuel.