Fuels Technology research gives automotive engineers new ways to think about engines.
Our second year at SAE drew automotive engineers to the booth, interested in learning more about research and collaboration.
– Our second year as an exhibitor at the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) World Congress & Exhibition showed that our research program is far from being the new kid on the block. This year, the conversation moved beyond introductions to the real work taking place in Aramco’s global fuels research program and, most notably, the opportunities it gives engineers to think outside the box in terms of engine design.
The goal of our research into fuels is to create efficient, sustainable and affordable transport solutions for the future, and this means not just improving fuels and engines, but discovering the fuel of the future and matching it to the engine of the future. Saudi Aramco – with its worldwide refining capabilities, as well as a fuels research program – is in an advantaged position to enable just that.
Stringent fuel economy and emissions standards worldwide and the concern for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transport-related emissions are driving innovation and new approaches in engines, fuels and materials.
“We bring a unique perspective due to our understanding of the refining side of the business, the future supply and demand outlook, and engine requirements, so we know what the automakers are looking for. The work that we are doing brings this all together,” said Amer Amer, Chief Technologist of Fuels Technology, Saudi Aramco Research & Development Center (R&DC). “By participating in the SAE World Congress, we are saying that we are serious about promoting the development and adoption of efficient transport solutions,” he added.
During SAE’s special China Day program, David Cleary, leader of the Aramco Research Center-Detroit, presented on global transportation trends, internal combustion engine challenges and fuel opportunities, and the fuels technology research at Aramco.
“Fuels have evolved, and will be expected to continue to evolve, to meet the needs of transportation,” said Cleary. “The key to getting to that future is to put all the right talent into the same room – from the very fundamental researcher to the automotive expert with significant production experience, who understands what it takes to move transport technologies into the market, and that’s what we at Aramco are looking to do. We see technology advanced through people, both at Aramco locations around the world and with the major collaboration partners we have in industry and academia.”
In the technical program, Aramco was well-represented. Gautam Kalghatgi, Principal Professional, R&DC presented A Simple Method to Predict Knock using Toluene, Iso-Octane, N-Heptane Blends (TPRF) as Gasoline Surrogates
and was an invited expert on the Panel which discussed “Fuel/Engine Interactions.” SAE published a book authored by Kalghatgi with the same title in 2014. Kalghatgi also gave the plenary talk entitled The Outlook for Fuels for Internal Combustion Engines
at the SAE 2015 High Efficiency IC Engine Symposium, which preceded the World Congress.
“We have a unique opportunity at Saudi Aramco to do a lot of interesting and extremely important strategic research,” he said, noting that engines are changing to be more efficient and cleaner, and the worldwide demand structure is changing as well, which will have a big impact on the kinds of fuels and engines that will be in place in a just a few years, to 25 years from now.”
Also involved in the technical program was Junseok Chang, Engine Combustion & Efficiency Team Leader, R&DC, who delivered two papers: Octane-on-Demand as an Enabler for Highly Efficient Spark Ignition Engines and Improvement of Greenhouse Gas Emissions
and Characterization of High Efficiency Octane-on-Demand Fuels Requirement in a Modern Spark Ignition Engine with Dual Injection System.
A global program
Aramco’s fuels program is led by Saudi Aramco's Research & Development Center in Dhahran, with additional centers located at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Thuwal; a collaboration with the independent research organization IFPen in Paris; and the Detroit center.
We served as a sponsor for the Michigan Technological University Advanced Motorsports Enterprise Clean Snowmobile Team, which was recognized at the conference.
What do a snowmobile and Saudi Aramco have in common?
As part of our commitment to education, we serve as sponsors of the Advanced Motorsports (AMS) Enterprise at Michigan Technological University (MTU). An AMS team supported by Aramco and other industry leaders was recognized at the conference for its work designing a snowmobile that achieves low emissions and noise characteristics while keeping performance equal to or better compared to a stock snowmobile. Another AMS program, the “Supermileage competition,” challenges students to build an engine with ultra-high fuel economy using only petroleum fuel. This outreach activity engages students who are entering the automotive industry, promotes research and development at the educational level, and helps drive the technical direction of vehicle development year to year.