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DME Heavy-Duty Engine Receives Certification in China
SHANGHAI, 28 October 2015 | A consortium collaborating on a DME vehicle demonstration project has received certification from the provincial government of Shanghai for a DME fueled heavy-duty diesel engine satisfying Euro 6 emission standards. The consortium, led by Shanghai Jiao Tong University, includes Weichai Power (industrial, heavy-duty vehicle and powertrain manufacturer), China Jinggong (vehicle manufacturer), Shanghai Diesel (diesel engine manufacturer), Xi’An Jiaotong University and Shandong University. The DME vehicle project is supported by the 863 Program – the Chinese national high-tech R&D program.
Certification of the Euro 6 compliant engine is an important milestone that project leaders hope will facilitate introduction in China given the relatively large-scale commercial production of DME that already exists in the country.
The engine, a modified 6 liter 135 kW WP6 common rail injection diesel engine from Weichai Power, is being demonstrated on short-haul heavy-duty street sweeper and refuse trucks. Three engine and two vehicle prototypes have been produced, with the WP6DME engines using a newly developed EP1FA-00 high-pressure pump in place of the Bosch CP2.2 used in the base diesel engine.
Ford Leads Project to Develop First Production Passenger Car Fueled by DME
AACHEN, 15 September 2015 | Ford Motor Company has announced that it will lead a project co-funded by the German government to develop and test the world’s first production passenger car to run on DME. The three year, €3.5 million project involves international collaboration by Ford’s European Research & Innovation Center with entities including Oberon Fuels (supplying DME to the project), DENSO, IAV Automotive Engineering, and Germany’s leading engine technology research network the FVV, whose more than 150 members include BMW, Bosch, Caterpillar, DAF Trucks, Daimler, Delphi, Honda, MAN, Nissan, PSA Peugeot Citroen, Toyota, Shell, Volkswagen, and Volvo.
The project, whose findings will be shared with key players in the automotive industry, will look at the use of DME and OME (oxymethylene ether) as diesel replacements in passenger cars and heavy-duty vehicle engines. Like DME, OME is also easily produced from methanol, produces almost no particulate emissions (soot) when combusted, and has characteristics likely to provide comparable performance and enhanced fuel efficiency in diesel engines converted to its use.
“DME is safe, burns cleaner than conventional diesel, and most importantly is versatile” said Andreas Schamel, Ford’s Director of Global Powertrain Research & Advanced Engineering. “Alternative, renewable fuels like methyl ethers will play a pivotal role in the future.”
The first two years of the project will involve technical preparations and engine development, with the third year focused on the production and testing of demonstrator cars based on the Ford Mondeo.
A parallel project being done together with RWTH Aachen University will research the viability of different DME production methods from fossil natural gas, biogas, and other renewable sources, looking at conversion efficiency, estimated fuel prices and infrastructure aspects. Werner Willems, Technical Specialist for Powertrain Combustion Systems at Ford of Europe said that “This is a project that could help place vehicles with significantly reduced carbon dioxide and particulate emissions on the market at affordable costs."
Go-Ahead for First Large-Scale DME Fuel Production in the Americas
TOKYO, 3 September 2015 | A consortium comprising Japanese trading company Mitsubishi Corporation, Mitsubishi Gas Chemical (MGC), and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has made a final investment decision for the construction of a 1 million TPY methanol and 20,000 TPY DME project in Trinidad and Tobago after securing financial support from the Japanese government and a commercial bank.
Together with local partners the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago and the Massy Group, the companies have secured $485 million in project financing from the state-owned Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) to develop the $990 million Caribbean Gas Chemical project. The project will be co-financed by the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, bringing the total amount of funding of $693 million.
The country's ministers of Energy and Finance joined representatives of the consortium partners at a groundbreaking ceremony in La Brea on September 1st.. Construction of the chemical plants in southwest Trinidad and Tobago is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2018, and the facility plans to be operational by March 2019. The project will work with the Trinidad and Tobago government to promote the use of DME as a substitute for diesel in the domestic market and other Caribbean countries.
List of Hottest 7 Technology Companies Includes DME
19 August 2015 | Small-scale DME process technology provider Oberon Fuels was included in Biofuels Digest's list of the "Hottest 7 Methane Technologies to Watch as U.S. Methane Regulation Steps Up", joining a short list of companies attracting some of the largest investments in the dynamic methane conversion space right now including Siluria Technologies and Kiverdi.
Washington Becomes First State in the U.S. to Introduce DME Vehicle Tax Incentives
OLYMPIA, WASHINGTON, 15 July 2015 | Washington Governor Jay Inslee has signed into law a transportation investment package providing financial incentives for the purchase of commercial vehicles using a “clean alternative fuel”, and specifying dimethyl ether as one of the alternative fuels meeting this definition.
The legislation (Senate Bill 5987) provides businesses with tax credits for the purchase or conversion of vehicles that are “principally powered” by a clean alternative fuel. The maximum credit amounts range from $5,000 to $20,000 per vehicle, and total credits may not exceed $250,000 or 25 vehicles per person per calendar year.
The bill includes dimethyl ether in the definition of "clean alternative fuel", along with methane, natural gas, LNG, CNG, propane, hydrogen, and electricity.
International Specifications for DME Fuel Published
GENEVA, 15 May 2015 | The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has published a specification for DME fuel, marking another important milestone in the introduction of DME as an ultra-low emission fuel for a range of automotive, power, and heating applications.
The standard - ISO 16861:2015 | Specifications of dimethyl ether (DME) - specifies the characteristics of DME used as fuel of which the main component is the DME synthesized from any organic raw material. ISO 16861 is one of a number of new specifications establishing characteristics and testing methods for DME fuel, providing important benchmarks for DME producers, engine manufacturers, infrastructure developers and others involved in the introduction of DME as a fuel worldwide.
"DME Could Really Be a Game Changer" - Volvo CEO Olof Persson
LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY, 30 March 2015 | In a keynote presentation to an audience of almost 1,000 people gathered at the Mid-America Trucking Show this week, Volvo Group CEO Olof Persson highlighted the "tremendous promise" that Volvo sees in DME as an alternative fuel, particularly for long haul heavy-duty trucking.
Persson was recently named co-chair of the United Nations' Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport, and his remarks provided perspectives on the company's focus on sustainability, the environmental goals that are likely to drive demands made on the industry, and the attraction of DME. "Converting natural gas to DME is an innovative way to address many of the storage and fueling challenges otherwise presented by natural gas - particularly liquefied natural gas - as a heavy truck fuel."
DME Receives Approval for Legal Use as a Vehicle Fuel in California
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA, 26 February 2015 | The State of California has approved DME’s use as a vehicle fuel, allowing the retail sale of DME throughout the state. The regulation, Specifications for Dimethyl Ether Used in Compression Ignition Engines, proposed in July of last year by the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) Division of Measurement Standards (DMS), was approved and became effective this year. California state law requires all commercially sold fuels to meet an ASTM or SAE specification, and the publication last year of an ASTM specification for DME fuel provided the basis for California to issue its own regulation.
This latest approval marks another significant milestone enabling commercial adoption of DME as a vehicle fuel in North America, paving the way for further development by industry and the state of infrastructure, sampling equipment, test methods, and a variety of other items required for large scale production and dispensing of the fuel in compliance with statutory requirements. This month the California Air Resources Board (CARB) published its Multimedia Evaluation Tier I report on DME, part of the “multimedia risk assessment” required by the state before new fuel specifications can be adopted.
California enacted the first low-carbon fuel standard in the world in 2007, requiring fuel producers to reduce the carbon footprint of their products, and maintains a significant leadership role in the reduction of air emissions and carbon intensity of fuels used in the transportation sector as the only U.S. state empowered to design and set its own vehicle emission standards.
Volvo Trucks Continues to Drive Introduction of DME in North America
GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA, 1 October 2014 | In an announcement outlining modifications to the company's plans for the introduction of alternative fuel vehicles Volvo Trucks today confirmed that it will continue with customer field tests of its DME-powered heavy-duty vehicles in North America, while putting on hold plans to launch its own compression ignition liquefied natural gas (LNG) engine in that market.
DME Becomes First Biogas-Based Fuel Approved under Renewable Fuel Standard
WASHINGTON, D.C., 3 September 2014 | Another important step forward has been achieved for the commercial introduction of DME as a transportation fuel with confirmation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") that DME produced from biogas and other renewable sources by IDA member company Oberon Fuels qualifies for inclusion under the Renewable Fuel Standard ("RFS"). Oberon's biogas-based DME is now eligible under the Clean Air Act for high value cellulosic biofuel (D-code 3) and advanced biofuel (D-code 5) renewable identification numbers ("RINs") under the RFS.
This determination by the EPA marks another important milestone in 2014 for DME's introduction as a fuel, following on the publication in February of an ASTM specification for DME (ASTM D7901 – Standard Specification for Dimethyl Ether for Fuel Purposes), another initiative led by executives from Oberon Fuels. The ASTM specification (see feature below) provides guidance for fuel producers, engine and component suppliers, and infrastructure developers on DME purity, testing, safety, and handling.
The EPA's analysis determined that biogas-based DME produced using the Oberon process resulted in an approximate 68% reduction in greenhouse gases when compared to baseline diesel fuel. The determination confirms that renewable DME produced using biogas from landfills, municipal wastewater treatment facility digesters, agricultural digesters, separated MSW digesters, and biogas from the cellulosic components of biomass processed in other waste digesters through the Oberon pathways qualifies for cellulosic biofuel RINS, while renewable DME produced from biogas from waste digesters processing renewable biomass that is assumed non-cellulosic through the Oberon pathways qualifies for advanced biofuel RINs.
The program for the DME 6 conference in San Diego (7 – 8 October) includes updates from Oberon Fuels and other companies on commercial and technical developments connected with the production (from natural gas, biogas, coal, and biomass) and commercialization of DME for fuel applications.
Virgin Feature on Entrepreneurship, DME, and Oberon Fuels
LONDON, 7 August 2014 | Virgin Unite, the non-profit foundation responsible for market-driven low-carbon and climate initiatives such as the Carbon War Room, interviewed Oberon Fuels President Rebecca Boudreaux in an article providing interesting perspectives on DME and entrepreneurship.
Last year, Rebecca met with Richard Branson at his Necker Island (British Virgin Islands) home and discussed DME and Oberon Fuels' plans to commercialize small-scale plants enabling distributed production of the fuel throughout North America. Branson is well known for pursuing environmental and renewable energy projects, and has invested time and money to promote the expansion and growth of companies and technologies in the sector through vehicles such as the Carbon War Room and the Virgin Green Fund.
ASTM Issues Specification for DME Fuel
IDA member Oberon Fuels initiated and led an ASTM task force focused on developing a specification for DME as a fuel. In addition to Oberon Fuels, the ASTM DME task force involved representatives from a number of international companies and organizations including Volvo, BP, Delphi, Marathon Petroleum, Petrobras, the National Propane Gas Association, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The DME task force operated within ASTM Committee D02’s Subcommittee H (Liquefied Petroleum Gas), which in October 2013 voted to revise the subcommittee’s scope to include DME.
The approval of an ASTM specification for DME marks an important milestone for DME’s introduction as a fuel, providing DME producers, engine manufacturers, infrastructure developers and others involved in the introduction of DME as a fuel with an important benchmark on which to base their work.
Dimethyl Ether: The Most Promising Fuel You've Never Heard Of
RESEARCH TRIANGLE, NORTH CAROLINA, 28 January 2014 | DME can help commercial carriers achieve goals associated with efficiency improvement programs such as the EPA’s SmartWay. By converting some of their truck fleets to DME, commercial carriers will be substituting oil-derived diesel with a fuel that can be made not only from natural gas, but also from other domestic sources such as landfill and animal wastes. With some large carriers seeing over 60% of their operating costs allocated to fuel, DME-powered trucks can be a major part of carriers’ plans to improve their operating margins while reducing their near 100% dependence on diesel fuel.
Australia and India Launch DME Collaboration
MELBOURNE, 10 October 2013 | Australia’s CSIRO and its equivalent in India, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), have launched a three-year, A$6-million (US$5.6 million) collaboration focused on reducing the size of DME processing plants and make them mobile enough to be taken to remote locations where large quantities of stranded natural gas are located.
Major Chinese City To Trial DME Use in Heavy-Duty Trucks and Public Transportation to Reduce Pollution
SHANGHAI, 6 September 2013 | Shanghai has announced a plan to test the use DME in heavy-duty trucks, buses and taxis to help reduce vehicle emissions, in particular the fine particles ("PM 2.5") that present a number of health risks to humans. Vehicle emissions are the biggest source of PM2.5 pollutants, accounting for a quarter of air-borne particles in Shanghai, according to the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau.
Mack Trucks to Begin Production of DME Vehicles
GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA, 20 June 2013 | Mack Trucks announced that it will begin production of DME-powered Mack Pinnacle Axle Back models. The truck model powered by DME will be equipped with a Mack MP8 engine, offering a 13-liter engine able to handle heavy workloads. The Pinnacle Axle Back model is ideal for highway van trailer applications, bulk hauling, flatbed and dump trailer jobs.
Gas Chemical Project Feasibility Study Between Sojitz and Papua New Guinea Includes DME Production
TOKYO, 12 June 2013 | Japan’s Sojitz Corporation and the government of Papua New Guinea have announced that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to conduct a feasibility study for a gas chemical project in Papua New Guinea.
Volvo To Introduce First Commercial DME-Powered Vehicles
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA, 6 June 2013 | In a press conference on the steps of the California state capitol today, Volvo Trucks became the first manufacturer to announce plans to commercialize DME-powered heavy duty commercial vehicles in North America. The company plans to introduce the first such vehicles with the technology available in Volvo's D13 engine - the top-selling heavy-duty engine in the world.
Oberon Fuels Brings Production Units Online, Launching First North American DME Fuel-Grade DME Production
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA, 6 June 2013 | Oberon Fuels announced that their modular DME production units will go online this month, a milestone launching the first fuel-grade DME production facilities in North America. Oberon’s first plant, with a capacity of 4,500 gallons per day, will commence production at their new facility in Brawley, California.
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