Collaborative clean combustion project underway

Thursday, 26 February, 2015

ARC Professorial Fellow Assaad Masri, from the University of Sydney, is collaborating with Qatar University’s Dr Samer Ahmed on a project that will help engineers develop cleaner combustion of sustainable fuel alternatives.

Professor Masri believes that the process of burning of fuels for energy is an inefficient procedure that produces too much waste and pollutants. He and his team from the Clean Combustion Research Group in Sydney’s School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering are therefore working towards ‘clean’ combustion - both of fossil fuels and of renewable fuels such as biofuels - thus improving energy-conversion efficiency and reducing the emission of pollutants from combustion devices.

“When we introduce new fuel alternatives into the market, we need to ensure that these fuels can be burnt efficiently, safely and cleanly, in that they do not produce harmful emissions such as nano-sized particles that will have negative long-term health effects,” Professor Masri explained. He and his colleagues have recently been designing burners that allow them to better understand turbulent combustion and assist engineers in optimising the design of their engines.

For this latest project, Professor Masri will study how to optimise the combustion of new fuels such as biodiesels obtained from renewable sources or synthetics such as gas-to-liquid (GTL) fuels that may be blended with conventional diesel. GTL fuels can be used directly in conventional diesel engines and turbines, with lower emissions than traditional fossil fuels.

The project is being conducted in collaboration with Dr Ahmed, whose experience lies in the areas of energy conversion technologies and combustion. Dr Ahmed was last year the supervisor on two projects - ‘Development of new induction manifold designs for high efficiency and low emissions internal combustion engines’ and ‘Improving the design of the fuel injection system for lower fuel consumption diesel engines’ - which came first and third respectively in Qatar University’s Best Poster Awards category at its Mechanical and Industry Design days.

The project has also received more than $1 million in funding from the Qatar Foundation, a non-profit organisation that serves the people of Qatar by supporting and operating programs in three core mission areas: education, science and research, and community development. The project is of particular relevance to the Middle-Eastern nation, which has become the world’s biggest GTL fuel producer after investing heavily in technology to convert some of its vast natural gas resources to liquid fuels.

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