Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

Leveraging Biofuels for a Cleaner Mobility Future

October 10, 2019

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car up on road in motion Bioenergy Technologies Office

Biofuels are critical to our energy future. No matter how far electric vehicles come in the next 25 years, the internal combustion engines of today will continue to be a big part of our transportation reality. The only way to continue to move forward with a newer, cleaner mobility future is to include sustainable, domestically sourced biofuels from biomass and waste in our transportation portfolio.

If you’re getting around in a car today, chances are it’s using an internal combustion engine powered by gasoline. Blending biofuels with that gasoline is more common than you think. Biofuels like ethanol account for about 10 percent of the fuel market for passenger vehicles. Increased use of biofuels would offer environmental benefits and could even increase vehicle performance and efficiency.

One of the focuses of the work funded by the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, is new high-performance biofuels that can boost engine efficiency and cut emissions when combined with advanced combustion approaches, such as boosted spark ignition (BSI) engines. These engines pack more horsepower in a smaller, more efficient package than traditional combustion engines.

A new Co-Optimization of Fuels & Engines (Co-Optima) report describes multiple biofuel-derived blendstock options and names the top candidates. These top candidates, when blended with petroleum and used in a BSI engine, will offer environmental benefits and boost energy efficiency all while being available at a competitive price.

One of the first of its kind, this systematic assessment includes a broad range of biomass-derived molecules and mixtures across many chemical families. This work will help the research community better understand the efficiencies that biofuels bring to the table, and identifies the biofuels that enable more efficient engine design and operation.  Learn more about this new Co-Optima report.