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Research Highlight | Transportation and Power Systems

Advancing Sustainable Aviation Fuels: Workshop Identifies Key Research Opportunities

The U.S. Department of Energy’s workshop highlights path to 3 billion gallons of SAF per year by 2030.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Vehicle Technology Office (VTO), in collaboration with DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), recently hosted a virtual workshop to explore research opportunities for sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). This workshop, hosted by DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory, brought together experts from national laboratories, industry, government and academia to discuss and assess the challenges and prospects of SAF adoption in end-use applications.

With the ambitious goal of producing 3 billion gallons of SAF per year by 2030, DOE aims to foster public-private partnerships and fuel scale-up collaborations. The workshop served as a platform to identify gaps and opportunities in end-use research, crucial for achieving this target.

Several key areas were highlighted during the workshop as potential focal points for research and development:

  • Fuel Property Characterization: Develop blending relationships and publish comprehensive fuel property data to optimize fuel structure and enhance gas turbine engine performance.
  • Chemical Kinetics: Create surrogate fuels and validate kinetic mechanisms to predict emissions and combustion characteristics across flight maps.
  • Fuel Injector Flows and Sprays: Investigate atomizer geometries, quantify differences in droplet distribution and mixing fields, and advance spray models under engine-relevant conditions.
  • Ignition and Combustion: Improve understanding of forced ignition, turbulence/chemistry interactions, and the influence of fuel properties on operational processes.
  • Emission and Contrails: Enhance understanding of particle formation, the impact of fuel sulfur content, and improve existing models for soot and contrail formation.
  • Heat Transfer: Develop liner heat transfer coefficients, refine cooling models, and expand radiative heat transfer models to SAF.

The workshop outcomes provide a roadmap for advancing the field of sustainable aviation fuels and will play a pivotal role in optimizing future fuels and designing next-generation aircraft engines.