Saudi Aramco Technologies Company (a Saudi Aramco company), Mazda and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) announced a cooperative research program to develop advanced engine/fuel combinations, with potential for meaningful improvements in engine efficiency and CO2 reductions assessed on a well-to-wheel basis.
Ahmad O. Al-Khowaiter, Saudi Aramco’s Chief Technology Officer said, "This cooperative research with Mazda and AIST underscores our shared commitment to delivering advanced technology solutions that make a significant impact on real-world issues, notably a sustainable, affordable mobility future."
Al-Khowaiter also said that new engine technologies continue to prove that improving the internal combustion engine (ICE) remains the most cost-effective and timely means to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the transport sector, with the potential to yield dramatic results.
In this collaboration, Saudi Aramco will provide low carbon-content new fuels, and Mazda’s contribution will be a high-efficiency advanced prototype engine based on their SKYACTIV technologies. The entire scope of research will be tested and optimized at AIST headquarters in Tokyo.
The program consists of comprehensive CO2 assessment through refinery modelling, engine testing, spray diagnostics, and Computational Fluid Dynamics simulations. The anticipated benefit of this approach is a holistic view of the ICE’s environmental impact.
Saudi Aramco has devoted years of intensive investment to co-developing fuels and engine research, as part of its global Transport Technology program.
Saudi Aramco supports Gasoline Compression Ignition (GCI) technology as a viable development route to achieving high fuel efficiency with low emissions; and new fuel formulations to further complement this engine concept. The GCI concept, which is Saudi Aramco’s flagship project within this research program, will enable 25-30 percent reduction in CO2 compared to conventional gasoline spark-ignition engines.
Mazda’s advanced prototype engine is based on a Compression Ignition engine with ultra-lean burn combustion.
Mazda’s engine technologies and Aramco’s GCI fuel technologies complement each other. The GCI fuel has a lower carbon content and higher heating value than commercial diesel and gasoline fuels; and the lean burn engine emits lower CO2 than conventional gasoline engines. The companies expect that combining the engine and fuel technologies will deliver substantial savings in well-to-wheel CO2 emissions.
Together Mazda, AIST and Saudi Aramco believe that this new collaboration will showcase the ICE platform’s abundant potential for cost-effective efficiency improvement and reduced GHG emissions.
The collaboration aligns with the partners’ strategic intent to create real solutions for CO2 reduction taking total emissions into consideration, while delivering efficient, reliable engine and fuels performance.
The joint work is expected to be completed in fiscal 2020, with ongoing contribution by researchers from all three parties.