RESEARCH

The collaboration between the Clean Combustion Research Center (CCRC) at KAUST and the Fuel Technology (FT) team at Saudi Aramco is divided into two broader research categories: basic combustion and applied combustion. Basic combustion research focuses on experimentation and modelling of fuel combustion in idealized reactor configurations. Applied combustion research targets the study of fuel-engine interactions in practical devices. 

 

The goal of this program is basic combustion research, focusing on first-principle-based fuel characterization to link fundamental measurements, such as ignition delay and flame speed, to fuel chemistry through RON, MON and cetane numbers. As part of this effort, the chemical and physical combustion aspects of petroleum fuel components are examined in detail. This investigation is based mainly on experimental data from shock tubes, rapid compression machines, ignition quality testers and CFR engines. High-pressure isochoric combustion vessels are used to study flame structures and progression under different mixing and combustion conditions. Laser-based diagnostic techniques are used to visualize the combustion process and clarify the micro effects of fuel structure and composition on combustion quality and pollutant formation mechanisms.

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The theme of applied combustion research links fuel-engine interaction and targets concurrent fuel and engine optimization. This cooperative effort will focus on understanding fuel requirements for advanced and emerging combustion technologies, knowledge that is essential to make possible and take full advantage of these promising innovations. There is growing consensus in the fuel and engine communities that existing fuel performance metrics like RON, MON and cetane numbers are unsuitable for new engine technologies such as the HCCI, PCCI and related new combustion concepts. A major focus of this thrust will therefore be on devising new methodologies and metrics to represent the auto-ignition characteristics and performance of petroleum fuels for such new technologies. The targeted research will benefit greatly from the CCRC's full suite of CFR and single cylinder research engines, equipped with sophisticated emissions and in-cylinder visualization capability. 

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