Being evermore sustainable is one of the strategic objectives that FPT Industrial is facing, and it is also a major challenge. Therequirement to reach the European CO2emission targetsin 2025 and 2030 make theuse of alternative fuels and e-fuels possible paths to addressingthese challenges.Following its DNA of leading research and technological innovation, FPT Motorenforschung in Arbon, Switzerland,is developing an innovation project into the use DME, analternative fuelin an11-liter heavy duty engine. DME (Dimethyl-ether, CH3-O-CH3) is a suitable fuel for compression ignition engines and can be produced from several renewable sources. Its chemicalproperties allow for, with the correct engine hardware configurationand calibration, very low NOx and particle emissions,whilstmaintaining high engine efficiency. There are,however,some challenges in the use of DME as a fuel, particularly in terms of the fuel injection equipment. DME has been industrially used for decades, mainly as a propellant in aerosol cans as it is nontoxic, odourless and can beabsorbed in the troposphere. From a storage and refuelling point of view DME is like LPG. It is liquid at very moderate pressure levels.
The overall goal of the project is to advance the understanding of using DME as an alternative to Diesel in the industrial goods sector and demonstrate clean combustion at comparable efficiency levels. Since DME combustion produces practically no particle emissions, a comparably simple SCRsystem,without the need fora particle filter may be enough to comply withstrict emission standards.
The project is funded by SFOE (Swiss federal office for energy) and the test bench is operated at EmpaDübendorf, where the Companyhasinvested heavily in the infrastructure adaptationsnecessaryfor DME.The first experimental dataare showingsome very promisingresults in terms of CO2reduction, along with verylow NOx and particle emissions, togetherwith similarengine efficiency to Diesel.For FPT Industrial, the project contributes to the innovation activities of its Research and Development center in Arbon, Switzerland. One of its sevenglobalR&D locations, this is the Brand’s excellence hub for advanced technologies, where both Common Rail technology and the HI-eSCR (High Efficiency Selective Catalytic Reduction system) were developed.