Overcoming the challenges of combining combustion fuels with low-carbon fuels

Part of Today in the Lab – Tomorrow in Energy?

Today in the Lab – Tomorrow in Energy? shines a spotlight on research projects under development in the Technology Collaboration Programmes (TCPs). Learn more about the initiative, read the launch commentary, or explore the TCPs.

Attaining high efficiency and low emissions when combining low-temperature combustion and fuels

What is the aim of this project?

This project, under the Combustion TCP, aims to evaluate the prospects of attaining high efficiency and very low emissions of nitrogen oxides and soot when combining low temperature combustion with low-carbon fuels produced from bio-sources or excess renewable electricity (e.g., OMEx, e-Fischer Tropsch, methanol, hydrogen, ammonia).

How could the project be explained to a high school student?

Conventional gasoline and diesel engines rely on petroleum-based fuels. To achieve sustainable transport that does not produce CO2 or other pollutants, cleaner engines and fuels are needed. Low temperature combustion engines can reduce the formation of nitrogen oxides and soot – pollutants that harm human health – while providing high efficiency. Synthetic fuels and biofuels can have near zero carbon emissions but using them may make it difficult to achieve efficient combustion and lower pollutant emissions. This project seeks to combine these two advantageous technologies to maximise the collective benefit.

How does the project help to achieve climate and energy goals?

  • This project seeks to extend the use of low-carbon fuels – and thus reduce the CO2 emissions that cause global warming – by overcoming barriers to using synthetic fuels that currently emit pollutants curb efficiency.

What government policies could advance this project?

  • Supporting research and development to build full multicylinder engine demonstrators
  • Providing incentives to extend renewable fuel production and market acceptance
  • Disseminating results to highlight the benefits conveyed by this
  • Introducing well-to-wheel CO2 regulations that incorporate the benefits of synthetic fuels.
Production path of synthetic fuels and biofuels and their use in transport sectors

Production path of synthetic fuels and biofuels and their use in transport sectors. Source: Antonio Garcia Martinez.

Partners and funders


  • CMT-Motores Térmicos (Spain)
  • Sandia National Laboratories (United States)
  • Lund University (Sweden)
  • University of Orleans (France)


  • Aramco Overseas
  • Spanish Ministry of Education
  • US Department of Energy
  • Swedish Energy Agency
  • French National Research Agency

Expected project duration


Learn more

About the Combustion TCP

Established in 1984, the Combustion TCP provides a forum for exchange and collaborative research to advance the understanding of combustion processes, and to generate independent information, expertise and knowledge for the wider research community, industry, policy makers and society.