DME to be used as an alternative fuel for heavy-duty engines

FPT industrial to test Dimethyl-ether (DME) as an alternative for fuel in heavy-duty engines to reduce CO2 emission while maintaining high energy efficiency.


FPT industrial’s strategic objective of being more sustainable is a major challenge. Following its goal, FPT Motorenforschung in Arbon, Switzerland, has developed an innovative project to use DME as an alternative fuel in an 11-liter heavy-duty engine.

DME (Dimethyl-ether, CH3-O-CH3) is a suitable fuel for compression ignition engines and can be produced from several renewable sources. With the correct engine hardware configuration and calibration very low NOx and particles are emitted, whilst maintaining high engine efficiency. However, there are few challenges in the use of DME as a fuel, particularly in terms of fuel injection equipment.

The overall goal of the project is to advance the use of DME as an alternative to Diesel in the industrial goods sector and demonstrate clean combustion at comparable efficiency levels. Since DME combustion produces practically no particle emissions, a comparably simple SCR system, without the need for a particle filter may be enough to comply with strict emission standards.

The project is funded by SFOE (Swiss federal office for energy) and the test bench is operated at Empa Dübendorf, where the Company has invested heavily in the infrastructure adaptations necessary for DME. The first experimental data are showing some very promising results in terms of CO2 reduction, together with similar engine efficiency to Diesel.

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