As argued in many papers, from the road mobility point of view, today, there are three major problems facing humanity: (1) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, global warming and city pollution; (2) renewable or sustainable sources of energy; and (3) energy security. The above listed 3 problems generated intense discussions at international level on the impact of the road mobility at global scale. It is well acknowledged through many studies that transport is responsible for around a quarter of CO2 emission (GHG) in the EU. About 75% of this CO2 is produced by road transportation, which is a significantly growing sector worldwide, as we all know. Therefore, decarbonization of road transport is a must. Consequently, as it is very well known, today, the automotive industry heavily invests in the zero and ultra-low emission vehicles (ZEV, ULEV) such as battery electric vehicles (BEV) or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV). However, the electrification of road transport will certainly not be the single silver bullet at least for medium term. Until the electrification reaches a better cost and performance level and even a better well-to-wheel efficiency, it is our opinion, as well, that the alternative fuels will continue to be important in the future of road transport in order to be possible to meet the objective concerning the reduction of GHG emissions. Out of the currently available alternative fuels, the methane gas is considered to be one of the best substitute for fossil fuels because, on the one hand, it’s compatible with conventional internal combustion engine and, on the other hand, it’s eco-friendly due to its clean nature of combustion. This being the context, this paper is about presenting our project, which consists in developing a road demonstrator fueled with methane, fully optimized for the operation with methane in order to show the complete potential of this alternative fuel. Thus, our road demonstrator fueled with methane will be developed based on a current turbocharged compression ignition (CI) engine, which will be adapted in order to achieve the spark ignition (SI) operation. Consequently, this paper’s aim is to fully describe the transformation of the CI engine into a SI engine fueled with methane along with the preliminary results about its energetic and ecologic performance obtained at the engine test bed. Our project is actually meant to contribute to the increasing of the awareness about the potential of methane as ecofriendly fuel for road mobility and is joining the existing regulations to trigger the interest in methane.
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Adrian CLENCI, University of Pitesti, ROMANIA Ing. Julien BERQUEZ, FEV, ROMANIA Dr. Eng. Adrian BIRTAS, Renault Technologie Roumanie, ROMANIA Dr. Rodica NICULESCU, University of Pitesti, ROMANIA Robert POPA, University of Pitesti, ROMANIA Dr. Victor IORGA-SIMAN, University of Pitesti, ROMANIA