Although in a prospective manner, it is important to envision how research groups will expand their activities at the Center when the current research project presented here approaches its conclusion. In other words, what are the big themes to be dealt with in the future, after the initial four years of the Center.
One should always consider that the ultimate goal for the use of engines is to move a vehicle that promotes the mobility of people and/or freight. Thus, it is not enough to focus the research only on engines: CO2 reduction and increased efficiency must also be associated with new conceptions of vehicles - smaller and lighter - as well as with the interactions between engine and vehicle transmissions, the concept of hybrid power systems, energy recovery during braking, etc. That is, the efficiency must be seek in the vehicle as a whole if a reduction of CO2 and lower fuel consumption per mile traveled must be obtained – even for biofuels.
In this sense, other research lines and new projects of interest for the Center can be listed:
- Studies on other biofuels for vehicles: biodiesel, biokerosene and biomethane.Apart from ethanol – the most established biofuel in Brazil – there are other biofuels with applications in vehicles. There are needs to analyze the powertrains which will use these biofuels.
- Development of an ethanol engine for heavy-duty vehicles adopting advanced Otto cycle. An ethanol engine in Otto cycle which provides efficiency compatible with Diesel engines could open new possibilities for the use of ethanol and reduce particulate matter emissions.
- Study of dual-fuel engines for trucks with diesel pilot injection. This option has already been studied in Brazil, but requires further fundamental studies of limits of flammability and combustion stability of the lean mixtures of ethanol in order to stretch the limits of substitution of diesel hitherto achieved and avoid CO and UHC emissions.
- Studies of the interaction between engine and vehicle on the efficiency of ethanol use: vehicle weight, transmission speed reductions, etc. The vehicle efficiency depends on many factors besides an optimized engine. Explore these other possibilities may be crucial to meet and exceed the future goals of fuel economy.
- Studies of ethanol engines optimized for operation under constant speed In the case of an engine operating at a constant speed, it is possible to obtain simpler and cheaper technological solutions which can preserve high efficiency and low emissions of regulated pollutants.
- Studies of hybrid propulsion systems with ethanol engines. One way of reducing CO2 emissions produced by fossil fuel is the use of hybrid electric vehicle design. With this design, reductions in fuel consumption and sensible reductions on CO2 emissions can be achieved, even operating with gasoline. There is no hybrid vehicles designed to operate on ethanol.