March 10, 2002 – Vol.6 No.50
NEW CLEAN FUEL.
Far from the polluted air of Washington, D.C. (the city has some of the filthiest skies in the nation) NKK Corporation has been given permission by the Japanese government to begin testing a dimethyl ether (DME) fueled truck on the streets of Japan.
Seen as a replacement for diesel fuel, DME is a gas at room temperature and a liquid when compressed to about 88 pounds per square inch or 6 atmospheres. When used in diesel engines no soot is formed because there are no carbon-carbon molecular bonds. It has a cetane rating appropriate for use in diesels.
The NKK vehicle to be tested is a commercially available 2-ton diesel truck converted to DME use with the addition of a NKK developed DME fuel supply unit and an off-the-shelf propane (LPG) fuel tank. That’s it. There were no modifications to the diesel engine.
DME, which can be made from biomass feedstock, household waste or natural gas or even coal, is seen a possible multi-use fuel that could be used in cars, trucks, gas turbines, even fuel cells.
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