Ortwin Costenoble on Future Biofuels Standards in the EU

06.08.20 | Podcast | By:

On this episode of the Fueling the Future podcast, I spoke with Ortwin Costenoble, senior standarization consultant with the Royal Netherlands Standardization Institute (NEN) about the recent research project commissioned by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) entitled, “Engine tests with new types of biofuels and development of biofuel standards.” The objective of the project was to present input to the standardization work of CEN/TC 19 ‘Gaseous and liquid fuels, lubricants and related products of petroleum, synthetic and biological origin’. The project consisted of the following work packages:

  1. Study the overall sensitivity of future (Euro 6C technology) vehicles and the fuel logistics’ system towards mid-blend oxygenate (“E20/25”) gasoline;
  2. Demonstrate the feasibility of a CI engine using ignition assist (spark plugs or glow plugs) to make high octane fuels ignitable and the combustion controllable over a wide operational window;
  3. Make FAME standard EN 14214 more robust to ensure B7 is fit for purpose and to be prepared in case of higher blends B10-B30;
  4. Check whether present or future engines might pose issues regarding quality requirements for blends of paraffinic diesel and to confirm their potential emissions benefits.

The results from the project, which concluded towards the end of 2019, will help CEN develop new quality and specification standards that will be required before it can be sold. A recent post on the blog also featured the E20-related project findings.

Following are a few excerpts from our discussion, which you can download or listen to at the link below or listen to in ITunes.

On a Potential E20 Standard:

“One of our main conclusions was that you need to do some tweaking and maybe a little bit of extra research, specifically on how to make an E20 petrol specification standard. But it can be done. There is no major hurdle any more, except that the European Commission has a directive in place which, well, if you read it as it is, forbids the sales to the public of anything above 10% of ethanol in petrol, which is E10. That set the Commission to thinking, and at the end of last year, they published a tender for consultants to review the whole directive, which is related to fuels quality, to see where would it make sense to further adapt that directive apart from going to an E20? Where do we need to do things? Where can we relax? Where do we need to be more strict in order to be sure that we can maintain our goals? And where does it still assist the industry in achieving goals with regards to CO2 reduction, greenhouse gas emission reductions, and so on. That was basically the response by the Commission. It’s not a big step. Obviously we would have liked them, based on our research, to just say, ‘Okay, we’re going to revise it. And we start now.’ But okay. They are working on it.

On the CI Ignition Assist Part of the Study:

“Then another part of the study was to demonstrate the feasibility of diesel engine, using high-octane fuels and gasoline type of fuels. We constructed single-cylinder engine, with the help of some car manufacturers. And that single-cylinder, we obviously tested it with diesel. It worked. We tested it with the normal gasoline, and we tested it with several types of blends of gasoline and ethanol to see where we could optimize, and when you need to have an assist with spark. So it’s a combination of a gasoline-type of engine and a diesel type of engine.


That worked. Obviously it was a single-cylinder. We compared how it worked with a normal gasoline engine. The results were quite good. So that is hopeful. Some of the OEMs have agreed to work internally and continue on that. The point is that would be optimized on not too high-octane type of gasoline, so that would be just a normal octane, as we have in Europe or even an octane that is common in the States or in some other parts of the world. So it could be, and it is, a normal market fuel. That was the target, to see if we could have this run on a normal fuel, where there are some engines already, and cars already, in the market, that use special fuels.”

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