Throughout the last century vehicle fuels have been overwhelmingly dominated by a handful of fossil based fuels. However, in order to reduce fossil fuel needs and net emissions, biofuels and biofuel/fossil fuel mixtures have become commonplace in many parts of the US, ethanol being the best known. However, biomass can be converted into many different kinds of fuels, many with very different properties. The US Department of Energy (DOE) Co-optimization of Fuels & Engines project ( https://energy.gov/eere/bioenergy/co-optimization-fuels-engines) is interested in accelerating the development of sustainable and affordable biofuels that can be used as fuel for efficient low-emission engines in vehicles.
As a part of this project we are developing and improving kinetic models for candidate biofuels using RMG. The accuracy of these computer generated models will then be tested against ignition delay times and time-dependent concentrations of key intermediates determined experimentally by the Vasu group at UCF ( http://www.mae.ucf.edu/mmae/Research/VasuLab/?news) using laser and shock-tube techniques. In the course of this project we plan to improve model development and improvement workflows to make it more efficient to generate accurate chemical kinetic models for arbitrary fuels.