storage, demonstrated fuel cell durability, adequate battery energy storage capability, etc.) and production and infrastructure barriers (e.g., the need for widespread affordable hydrogen if mass-produced fuel cell vehicles are to become a reality, a feedstock/production combination for biofuels that does not compete with food crops, etc.).
The fuel cell/hydrogen R&D is viewed by the committee as long-term, high-risk, high-payoff R&D that the committee considers not only to be appropriate, but also to be of the type that much of it probably would not get done without government support. Especially under the present economic conditions, the committee considers R&D for other precompetitive technologies, which could help reduce industry development times, also to be appropriate.
There seems to be little doubt that, regardless of the success of any of the pathways discussed, the ICE will be the dominant prime mover for light-duty vehicles for many years, probably decades. Thus, it is clearly important to perform R&D to provide a better understanding of the fundamental processes affecting engine efficiency and the production of undesirable emissions. Consequently, it is important to maintain an active ICE and liquid fuels R&D program at all levels, namely, in industry, government laboratories, and academia, to expand the knowledge base to enable the development of technologies that can reduce the fuel consumption of transportation systems powered by ICEs. This is the focus of the advanced combustion and emission control (ACEC) technical team.
All aspects of ICE operation are being pursued, and good progress is being made. Improvements have been achieved in ICE efficiency, including that for a hydrogen-fueled ICE, as well as advancements in different combustion regimes under investigation. With the projected increased use of biofuels, the technical team is now also engaged in fundamental combustion, emission, and kinetic studies of fuel derived from biomass. This work is aimed at understanding the fundamental changes that occur in ignition and emission-formation processes when different compounds, such as methyl esters that are found in biofuels, are used in the engine.
Recommendation 3-3. The advanced combustion and emission control technical team should engage with the biofuels research community to ensure that the biofuels research which the team is conducting is consistent with and leverages the latest developments in the field of biofuels R&D.