Although the volume of information derived from research associated with biofuels has decreased significantly in the last three years, there are still some that insist that the transition from thermal to electric motors should be counted on. This is the case of the University of Malaga, which develops new alternative and less polluting biofuels and catalysts for diesel engines to achieve hybrid technologies combined with hydrogen
The University of Málaga (UMA) reports that researchers from the Catalytic Processes Technology Group (Procat) have been working for almost three decades in the development of mobility models with zero emission “through the combination of advanced fuels and hybrid catalytic technologies, which improve the performance and reduce pollutants in the current diesel engines “.
Three years ago it was the Department of Inorganic Chemistry, Crystallography and Mineralogy of the same university that unveiled the catalytic potentialities of furfural, an industrial chemical compound derived from agricultural crops such as corn or oats, among others, and identified as “one of chemical platforms derived from biomass with the greatest potential “.
Now the professor of the Department of Chemical Engineering, Luis Alemany, points to the “co-injection of hydrogen as a bridge technology solution, since mixtures of diesel, biodiesel and oxygenated products improve engine performance and reduce the level of emission of pollutants ”
Moment for “hybrid combined technologies”
It is a way to adapt to the progressive elimination of diesel engines within the car fleet. Alemany does not doubt that the future is a matter of “electric, hybrid and hydrogen vehicles”, but, aware of the “lack of infrastructure and logistics for hydrogen recharge”, he points out as a transitory solution “hybrid combined technologies”.
Procat’s work is part of the NoNOx R + D + i project. The UMA explains that, first of all, from the Laboratory of Catalytic Processes of the Faculty of Sciences, “the modification of current fuels of origin or high bio content is sought, as well as the preparation of catalytic technologies, to maintain the standards of efficiency and net reduction of polluting emissions “.
The results are then transferred to the Unit of Machines and Thermal Motors of the School of Industrial Engineering of the UMA and rehearsed directly in engines. “In these tests and tests the engine response is analyzed in different driving situations and the control of the emissions it generates, so that they are within the limits,” says Alemany.
Production of hydrogen with biomass
He concludes that “the transition from thermal engines to hydrogen fuel cells will be progressive. Research in that line is already very advanced. In our laboratory we have hybrid catalysts, diesel-hydrogen mixed feeding systems and new efficient low-carbon biofuels, which allow a transient effective solution. ”
According to the UMA, the same team works on “other lines of R & D & I of hydrogen production of biomass origin and of devices for its generation, on demand, on board the vehicles, in addition to routes for the sustainable production of new fuels and additives “.
Conditioning Tarrasense, a technology center involved in biotechnology and renewable energies and known by the acronym Leitat and the University of Cambridge, also has important lines of research to convert different biomass into hydrogen, the first associated with the To-Syn-Fuel project of the Horizon 2020 program of the European Union.