• 2023 December 8 16:13

    ORNL, Caterpillar collaborate to advance methanol use in marine engines

    The Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Caterpillar Inc. have entered into a cooperative research and development agreement, or CRADA, to investigate using methanol as an alternative fuel source for four-stroke internal combustion marine engines. The collaboration supports efforts to decarbonize the marine industry, a hard-to-electrify transportation sector, according to the company's release.

    Under the terms of the CRADA, ORNL researchers will work with Caterpillar over the next few years to identify, develop and test hardware configurations and operating strategies required to maximize use of methanol in engines retrofitted for methanol.

    Research will be conducted on Caterpillar’s in-line 6-cylinder marine engine that has been modified for methanol use and installed at DOE’s National Transportation Research Center at ORNL. New engine designs will also be considered, and several engine combustion strategies will be explored including dual-fuel, dimethyl ether reforming and spark-ignited prechambers. Caterpillar will support ORNL by providing additional materials and research expertise to enable engine performance, efficiency and durability while reducing GHG and other emissions.

    The project supports DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Office’s focus on reducing GHG emissions from off-road vehicles such as railway, aviation and heavy transportation vehicles used in agriculture, construction, mining and marine vessels. These sectors are significantly more challenging to decarbonize than on-road, light-duty transportation applications and require unique solutions.

    In addition to DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Office, the collaboration is funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration.




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