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Technical Paper

High-Volume, Low-Cost Precursors for Carbon Fiber Production

Carbon fiber composite use in automobiles and light trucks could dramatically reduce energy use and engine-out emissions. However, worldwide capacity of 28,000 tonnes per year of carbon fiber from polyacrylonitrile (PAN) and petroleum pitch could support limited automotive use. Production of high-volume, industrial-grade fiber from renewable and recycled polymers (lignin, recycled plastics, regenerated cellulosics) could meet automotive demand. Profiles of material volumes, carbon content, and melting points indicate several attractive candidates for production melt-spun carbon fiber feedstocks. Effects on the carbon fiber production cycle and its integration into automotive production are discussed.
Technical Paper

High-Alcohol Microemulsion Fuel Performance in a Diesel Engine

Incidence of methanol use in diesel engines is increasing rapidly due to the potential to reduce both diesel particulate emissions and petroleum consumption. Because simple alcohols and conventional diesel fuel are normally immiscible, most tests to date have used neat to near-neat alcohol, or blends incorporating surfactants or other alcohols. Alcohol's poor ignition quality usually necessitates the use of often expensive cetane enhancers, full-time glow plugs, or spark assist. Reported herein are results of screening tests of clear microemulsion and micellar fuels which contain 10 to 65% C1-C4 alcohol. Ignition performance and NO emissions were measured for clear, stable fuel blends containing alcohols, diesel fuel and additives such as alkyl nitrates, acrylic acids, and several vegetable oil derivatives. Using a diesel engine calibrated with reference fuels, cetane numbers for fifty four blends were estimated.