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Durham University

Durham Energy Institute

Past Events

Find out about some of the previous events held by Durham Energy Institute:

Optimising the molecular structure of future sustainable biofuels

11th May 2016, 13:00 to 14:30, E240, School of Engineering & Computing Sciences, Dr Paul Hellier

In this joint event with the School of Engineering & Computing Sciences, Dr Paul Hellier will present on the growing acceptance of the detrimental environmental effects of fossil fuel usage for transport and
power generation has added increasing urgency to the search for truly sustainable alternative fuels. This presents an opportunity to develop future fuels that are not just like for like replacements for current fossil fuels, but are actually improved fuels that release energy in a more efficient way and emit fewer harmful pollutants. This seminar will explain how the molecular structure of fuels influences IC engine
combustion phasing and the exhaust emissions of harmful and globally regulated pollutants, such as NOx and soot.

The results of experimental studies carried out on a modern diesel engine equipped with a novel low volume fuel system will also be presented, and which highlight how features of hydrocarbon molecular structure, including alkyl chain length and degree of saturation, double bond position and isomerization, and oxygenated functional groups, impact on combustion and emissions characteristics. The seminar will also demonstrate how this knowledge can be used in practice to develop new fuels from novels sources (for example genetically engineered micro-algae) that are designed for both sustainable production and cleaner release of energy during combustion.

Dr Paul Hellier is a researcher in the experimental and inter-disciplinary development of future liquid fuels. On graduating from Cardiff University in 2008 with a 1st Class (Hons) degree in Environmental Engineering (MEng) he successfully undertook his PhD with UCL’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, investigating the impacts of fuel molecular structure on compression ignition combustion and emissions formation, studying a range of both current fuels and potential future fuels. He has published work as primary author in several leading journals and collaborated extensively with industry and fellow researchers, in particular UCL’s Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology in the design of liquid fuels from micro-algae.

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