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Spanish scientists design a revolutionary combustion engine as clean as an electric one

JG Automotive News

Researchers from the Institute of Chemical Technology (ITQ-CSIC-UPV), joint center of the Higher Council for Scientific Research and the Polytechnic University of Valencia, and the CMT-Thermal Engines Institute, of the UPV, have designed a new internal combustion engine that It does not generate gases that are harmful to health or carbon dioxide (CO2). This technology is mainly aimed at large vehicles for the transport of passengers and goods, both land and sea, and even aviation.

It is a “revolutionary” engine, say its creators, which complies with the emission regulations scheduled for 2040 and stands out for its high efficiency. The first two prototypes of this engine will see the light of day in the coming months, thanks to funding from the Valencian Innovation Agency (AVI) as this project has been one of those selected in the call for grants from the Valorisation and Transfer Program of Research Results for Companies, whose resolution was made public at the end of last July.

The technology used to achieve this milestone is based on the use of MIEC ceramic membranes. Patented by the ITQ-CSIC-UPV, these membranes eliminate all polluting and harmful gases for health (NOx), capture their own and atmospheric CO2 and liquefy it.

“These membranes, included in the vehicle’s engine, allow the selective separation of oxygen from the air to produce oxy-fuel. In this way, a pure combustion gas is generated, made up of water and CO2, which can be captured inside the vehicle itself and stored, without being expelled by the exhaust ”, explains José Manuel Serra, research professor at the CSIC at the ITQ-CSIC-UPV.

This technology would make it possible to have an engine with the autonomy and refueling capacity that a conventional one can have today, “but with the advantage that it is completely clean, without any type of polluting emission or greenhouse effect, as with the electrical. Thus we offer the sector a technology that combines the best of both engines, electric and combustion engines ”, points out Luis Miguel García-Cuevas González, researcher at the CMT-Thermal Engines.

Two tanks
With the technology developed by the ITQ-CSIC-UPV and the CMT-Motores Térmicos, the vehicle also becomes a supplier of CO2. According to the researchers, in a conventional engine, after oxy-fuel combustion, a large amount of nitrogen and nitrogen oxides are generated in the exhaust. However, in this case, only CO2 in very high concentration and water are generated, which can be separated very easily from CO2, simply by condensing it.

“This CO2 is compressed inside the engine itself and stored in a pressure tank, and can be returned as a by-product, directly as high-quality pure CO2, at a service station, for subsequent industrial use. In this way, inside the vehicle we would have, in addition to the fuel tank, another with the CO2 that is generated after burning the fuel and which we can take advantage of ”, points out García-Cuevas.

The technology developed is mainly aimed at manufacturers of large vehicles for the transport of passengers and goods, both land and sea and for aviation up to a certain power level. It could also be used to adapt current diesel engines in special vehicles.
“In the case of smaller vehicles, it could also be applied by sequestering only part of the CO2 in the exhaust”, points out Francisco José Arnau, researcher at the UPV’s CMT-Thermal Engines.

Renewable Energies – August 12, 2020 (Translation Soft)

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