Issue: Dec 2009

Volkswagen Aligns with Model Fuels Consortium-II

German automaker joins Reaction Design to focus on diesel and gasoline combustion

by Jon Knox

After a careful evaluation, Volkswagen has become the first German automaker to join the esteemed Model Fuels Consortium II (MFC-II). The initial phase of the Model Fuels Consortium was launched four years ago by Reaction Design, the clean technology chemistry leader, to enable the design of cleaner-burning, more-efficient engines and fuels. Volkswagen is particularly interested in the Consortium\'s focus on modeling the combustion of both traditional fuels and potential next generation blends with accurate chemistry.

"Increasing fuel efficiency and reducing emissions have become the driving forces in the automobile industry," stated Axel Winkler, head of the CFD-division at Volkswagen Group Powertrain Research. "The accomplishments of the first phase of the MFC caused us to broaden our tool landscape and strategies we were putting in place for research. At first, we were skeptical that Reaction Design\'s MFC-II would provide a meaningful completion to our technical roadmap, but once we had the opportunity to evaluate extensively the comprehensive solutions being developed by the group, it was clear to us that MFC-II was worth the investment. We view our membership as a valuable resource in our ongoing efforts to develop highly efficient and innovative engine designs."

"The time and intensity of Volkswagen\'s evaluation into MFC-II\'s value and their subsequent membership are a testament to the impact MFC-II is having on improving engine efficiency and emissions performance," stated Bernie Rosenthal, CEO of Reaction Design. "We are continuing to add to and refine our Model Fuel Chemical Mechanism Database, which is now the most comprehensive available, in addition to making significant strides in the modeling of soot formation."

The members of MFC-II recently gathered to review progress toward the Consortium\'s three main goals:

- Development of detailed chemical mechanisms for new fuel components
that allow representation of a broader set of fuels and more accurate
prediction of fuel emissions characteristics
- Development of a science-based, fundamental model of soot-particle
growth from gas-phase precursors, including particle nucleation,
growth, aging (deactivation), oxidation and agglomeration, providing
prediction of particle size and number distributions as fuel and engine
conditions vary
- Expanded capability to connect detailed kinetics with multidimensional
engine simulation.

Chemical reaction mechanisms for two new cycloparaffins were completed as part of this year\'s MFC-II work: cyclohexane and decalin. These represent important additions, since there are significant quantities of cycloparaffins in conventional fuels and even higher quantities in fuels under development, such as those derived from oil sands. In model fuels, representing these components is important to capturing ignition quality and soot emissions.

Reaction Design researchers also made significant advances in simulation capabilities including dramatic speed-up in the coupling of chemistry with Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) flow simulations and advanced automated mechanism reduction. In addition, fundamental experimental data was reported from a University of Southern California (USC) facility, under contract to the MFC-II, including measurements of the fuel-dependence of soot particle-size distribution functions under controlled combustion conditions. This unique set of data allows the development of a comprehensive model for predicting soot formation with different fuel blends.

Current members of the Consortium include ConocoPhillips, l\'Institut Francais du Petrol (IFP), Mazda, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, PSA Peugeot Citroen, Saudi Aramco, Suzuki, Toyota and VW.

About Reaction Design

Reaction Design, a San Diego-based software supplier, enables transportation manufacturers and energy companies to rapidly achieve their Clean Technology goals by automating the analysis of chemical processes via computer simulation and modeling solutions. Reaction Design is the exclusive developer and distributor of CHEMKIN, the de facto standard for modeling gas-phase and surface chemistry that provides engineers ultra-fast access to reliable answers that save time and money in the Development process. Reaction Design\'s world-class engineers, chemists and programmers have expertise that spans multi-scale engineering from the molecule to the production plant. Reaction Design serves more than 350 customers in the commercial, government and academic markets.

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