The Problem

Diesel soot is a major worldwide problem causing a variety of health and climate problems. In 2010, more than 2.1m people in Asia died prematurely from air pollution, mostly from the minute particles of diesel soot and gasses emitted from cars and lorries.  Of these deaths, 1.2 million were in east Asia and China, and 712,000 in south Asia, including India, according to the study published in The Lancet. A further 2 million of lost work-days through illness has cost the global economy $139 billion in 2010. Additionally, diesel soot is 2000 times more potent than CO2 regarding GHG impact.

The origin of the feedstock selection was driven by the need to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) and build on cheap, readily available Chinese feedstocks, namely CO2 and methanol (China is the global leader in methanol manufacture).

The Solution

In collaboration with our Chinese partner, Yashentech, we have developed a novel manufacturing route to dimethyl carbonate (DMC), which has enabled its use in emissions and particulates reduction in diesel fuels. This new process currently at 10ktpa demonstration has been operational for over 2 years in China. DMC in fuel has long been approved in Europe, it is nontoxic, biodegradable, environmentally friendly and miscible with diesel (and biodiesel). The optimal level of DMC is 12.5% in diesel, which eliminates more than 80% of particulates together with a 10% improvement in engine efficiency.

Our sootless diesel will enable vehicles that are equipped with Diesel Oxidation Converters (DOC) to  satisfy CARB LEV III emission limits for 2017 with no further modification. Additional benefits include, bringing older fleets into emission compliance without vehicle modification, a significant reduction of particulate matter emissions from stationary power generators, locomotives and marine ships. We also see improvements in fuel consumption, filter efficiency, and service life for vehicles equipped with Diesel Particulate Filters (DPF).

This technology is opportunistic for Volkswagen, Mitsubushi and others to engage in a “drop-in” development technology that will put them at the leading edge of Original Equipment Manufacture (OEM) technology. This builds on years of development work by Yashentech in China and extensive fleet trials have been carried out in Long Feng…with over 1 million km already covered using this blended fuel and we, along with our partners are now ready to launch this product in Europe i.e. it will be a first for Europe so likely to get a lot of attention.

Reduction of particulate matter resulting from DMC blending in fuels for trucking fleets
*Accumulated mileage of sootless diesel of trucking fleets ~1 million kilometers
Figure 1 Photo indicating the clear reduction of particulate matter resulting from DMC blending in fuels for trucking fleets.