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By Lynn L. Bergeson

On November 13, 2020, DOE’s EERE announced that the Co-Optimization of Fuels & Engines (Co-Optima) initiative issued a call for white papers. The Co-Optima initiative focuses on the development of new high-performance fuels that, when combined with advanced combustion approaches, can increase energy efficiency and reduce the carbon footprint. The initiative is seeking white papers to leverage National Laboratory resources and overcome technical challenges to advancing new liquid fuels and blendstocks. Proposals must address specific technical challenges and barriers that Co-Optima researchers can work on to move new fuels closer to market in conjunction with advanced, high-efficiency engines. The call for white papers is a Directed Funding Opportunity (DFO) available for U.S. domestic for-profit or non-profit businesses interested in Co-Optima’s goals and objectives. Foreign entities, including U.S. subsidiaries with a foreign-owned parent company, are also eligible to apply with a waiver request. Approval of the waiver, however, is subject to DOE discretion. All project work must be performed in the U.S.

Application templates are available here and must be submitted via e-mail to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) by 5:00 p.m. (EST) January 14, 2021. Anticipated final selection decisions and notifications will be released on March 1, 2021, and the project will begin on May 1, 2021.

Four anticipated project awards are expected with $250,000 of Co-Optima National Laboratory assistance over a project duration of 12 to 18 months. Industry partners will fund their own labor, materials, and other expenses, which contribute toward a 20 percent minimum cost-share requirement.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 1, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) and Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) announced a joint multi-topic funding opportunity for $12 million as part of the Co-Optimization of Fuels and Engines (Co-Optima) initiative. This collaborative research and development effort supports the research of fuel and engine innovation that maximize vehicle performance and fuel efficiency, and is accelerating the introduction of affordable, scalable, and sustainable biofuels and high-efficiency, low-emission vehicle engines. The current funding opportunity will prioritize research projects in the following areas: batteries and electrification; materials; technology integration and energy efficient mobility systems; energy-efficient commercial off-road vehicle technologies; and co-optimized advanced engine and fuel technologies to improve fuel economy. Concept papers are due May 29, 2018, and full applications are due July 13, 2018, through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Exchange website.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On April 18, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the release of the Co-Optima FY2017 Year in Review.  The Co-Optima initiative is accelerating the introduction of efficient, clean, affordable, and scalable high-performance fuels by bringing together DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE), national laboratories, universities, and industry and government stakeholders to collaborate on improvements to biofuels and the development of new technologies.  This report covers significant accomplishments made by Co-Optima in fiscal year 2017 (FY17), including:

  • Establishing an improved merit function that quantifies how fuel properties impact boosted spark ignition (SI) engine efficiency.
  • Identifying representative blendstocks from five chemical families that provide the key fuel properties needed for high-efficiency SI engines.
  • Screening a wide range of blendstocks to assess compatibility with vehicles and infrastructure.
  • Determining relationships that describe how chemical structure impacts key fuel properties.
  • Developing new numerical algorithms and computational tools that accelerate research and development (R&D).
  • Completing integrated, systems-level analyses of blendstocks in relation to economic, technological, market, and environmental factors.

In addition to expounding upon these successes, the Co-Optima initiative report also outlines what impact they can have on U.S. industries. Utilizing these new efficient technologies could significantly reduce fuel costs for passenger and commercial vehicles by billions of dollars, maximize existing fuel infrastructure, and add hundreds of thousands of jobs to the U.S. economy.


 

By Kathleen M. Roberts

On February 15, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the release of the Co-Optimization of Engines & Fuels (Co-Optima) report titled Fuel Blendstocks with the Potential to Optimize Future Gasoline Engine Performance (Fuel Blendstocks report), along with the companion report on Efficiency Merit Function for Spark Ignition Engines.  The Fuel Blendstocks report identifies eight blendstocks that have the potential to improve gasoline performance.  The assessment criteria included physical properties, high-level health-impacts, the ability to improve advanced spark-ignition engine efficiency, and the potential to be introduced commercially in the 2025-2030 timeframe.  According to the report, a targeted effort was made to identify fuel components that can be sourced from domestic biomass.  In addition to increasing U.S. energy security and creating jobs in rural America, use of renewable fuel components can provide technical, societal, and environmental benefits.  Part of the Co-Optima objective is focused on developing data on blendstock production, fuel properties, and engine performance to perform a detailed assessment of the benefits of sourcing blendstocks from biomass versus conventional resources, and to identify areas where further research and development are needed.  During the next phase, Co-Optima will validate the potential fuel efficiency improvements through engine testing and will also begin examining fuel efficiency gains in heavy-duty diesel engines.