Aramco and Hyundai Motor work together to develop e-fuel and ultra lean-burn engine

By Lim Chang-won Posted : March 30, 2022, 11:34 Updated : March 30, 2022, 11:34

[Courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group]

SEOUL -- South Korea's Hyundai auto group partnered with Aramco and a research university in Saudi Arabia to develop an advanced fuel for an ultra lean-burn spark-ignition engine that can improve the fuel economy of gasoline engines and support the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions for hybrid cars.

Lean-burn refers to the burning of fuel with an excess of air in internal combustion. The excess of air in a lean-burn engine emits far less hydrocarbons. The lean-burn engine can employ higher compression ratios and provide a better performance, efficient fuel use, and low exhaust hydrocarbon emissions.

The joint study aims to verify how much greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced when e-fuel is used in hybrid electric vehicles and to numerically confirm the effect of reducing greenhouse gas emissions through simulation and engine testing. Electrofuels (e-fuels) are an emerging class of drop-in replacement fuels that are made by storing energy from renewable sources in the chemical bonds of liquid or gas fuels.

Over the next two years, Hyundai Motor Group said it would work with Aramco and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) to develop an advanced fuel formulation for use in combination with a novel combustion system. E-fuels are synthesized from green hydrogen produced by water electrolysis using renewable electricity. 

The auto group will provide a new ultra-lean-burn gasoline engine. Aramco aims to leverage its advanced fuel technology to design an effective fuel formulation. KAUST will oversee the modeling and verification of technologies at its combustion research center. 

The auto group regards eco-friendly internal combustion engine technology that combines eco-friendly fuel and ultra-lean burn engine as the key to effectively reducing greenhouse gas emissions during its transition to electric vehicles, Hyundai Motor's executive vice president Alain Raposo said in a statement on March 30. 

"As hybrid electrical vehicles are rolled out, the real challenge now lies in making strides with optimal fuels and exceptional combustion systems," Aramco's chief technology officer, Ahmad O. Al-Khowaiter, Aramco’s Chief Technology Officer, was quoted as saying. He said that the joint research could lead to the application of synthetic e-fuels.  

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