Methane engines for passenger cars (MethCar)

Today's natural gas engines for passenger cars are based on gasoline engines and are not consistently optimized for methane combustion. With its high anti-knock properties, natural gas already offers significant efficiency improvement potential compared to gasoline. This can be further increased by EE-C methane with high methane contents and an associated higher knock resistance (higher methane number), as efficiency-increasing high compression ratios are made possible with very high supercharging levels at the same time.

In order to enable the high efficiencies with constant driving and wear behaviour, numerous partial aspects are important in the development of an optimised engine, which are comprehensively dealt with in the project. These include, in particular, engine-technical adjustments to the peak pressure capability, boost pressure increase to avoid filling losses with the aid of new types of injectors for direct gas injection (methane DI) and turbochargers with variable turbine geometry, as well as a fully variable valve train. In addition to engine technology developments, the influence of the gas properties of methane, in particular RE-C methane, as a fuel is also an important component for market introduction. For this purpose, the influence of the expected main components (CH4, H2) and of trace substances (sulphur-containing odorants, compressor oils) on component wear and catalytic converter effectiveness will be investigated on the basis of test bench trials.

The third innovative component is fundamental research into the prevention of particulate emissions from methane engines. The focus here is on very small particles.