As part of the global effort to reduce carbon emissions, there is an increase in the number of alternative energy automobiles like electric and hybrid vehicles. Researchers are now focusing on new solutions to this ongoing problem.
Dr. Muzammil Arshad, instructional assistant professor for the Department of Multidisciplinary Engineering at Texas A&M University, joined hands with a team of multidisciplinary student researchers to perform a study to examine the performance of hydrogen-enriched fuel on spark engine performance and efficiency.
The findings of the research could help contribute to making automobiles more environmentally friendly.
Due to climate change as well as a focus on reduced emissions and deprivation of fossil fuel reserves, there has been immense research to reduce emissions. This has led to investigating effects of dual fuels on the emissions as well as engine performance parameters because we don’t want to lose the combustion characteristics by injecting a secondary fuel.
Dr. Muzammil Arshad, Instructional Assistant Professor, Department of Multidisciplinary Engineering, Texas A&M University
Multidisciplinary student researchers Jonathan Rodriguez and Miriam Alanis are co-authors of the study and contributed significantly. Both of them are undergraduate students at the Higher Education Center at McAllen (HECM) and their achievement is a crucial stepping stone.
The study was accepted into the 12th U.S. Annual Combustion Meeting hosted in College Station, where the student researchers presented their study results.
I think presenting at the conference was wonderful. From the study, we were able to produce tangible results that could potentially be meaningful and useful.
Miriam Alanis, Study Co-Author and Undergraduate Student, Higher Education Center at McAllen
The research was published in the journal Petroleum and Chemical Industry International.
These accolades establish our research and give it credibility. We are making progress at the HECM. I believe we are part of the first student research project conducted on campus. As an undergraduate, I didn't believe it was an experience I would achieve until Dr. Arshad developed the project.
Jonathan Rodriguez, Study Co-Author and Undergraduate Student, Higher Education Center at McAllen
Small SUVs and sedans commonly use spark-ignition engines. Gasoline combines with air in these engines and is ignited by a spark from the spark plug, resulting in combustion. The car converts thermal energy into kinetic by burning the fuel, thereby enabling the car to move.
“We have performed numerical simulations to understand and predict the performance of spark ignition engines by introducing hydrogen in various quantities and predicting the effect on various efficiencies, in-cylinder pressure and emissions,” added Dr. Arshad.
When hydrogen is added, the car becomes more fuel-efficient and produces less harmful emissions. The scientists analyzed whether considerable changes would be needed to existing spark-ignition engines to account for hydrogen addition.
Rodriguez also stated, “Originally, we thought the difference in the in-cylinder pressure due to the enrichment could create issues that would require major modifications to the engine.”
“Our findings show a reduction in the in-cylinder peak pressure, consequently insinuating that we do not need major modifications to the engine to use this dual fuel. This research has potential value in the fuel market while leaving the vehicle market untouched,” he further added.
Dr. Arshad is thrilled with the results of the first research initiative at the HECM. He has been planning to conduct similar projects with students going forward.
Dr. Arshad added that “Research experience and publications are a major skill they can now showcase on their resumes. They also learned skills such as time management, working under pressure, meeting deadlines and presenting in front of large audiences. All of these skills are valuable and will help them in the future.”