Could Propane be the New Diesel? Could Propane be the New Diesel?
In this episode of Path to Zero, Host Tucker Perkins invites Dr. Bryan Willson, executive director of the Energy Institute at Colorado State University (CSU), and Dr. Daniel Olsen, mechanical engineering professor at CSU, to provide an in-depth look into the recent $3.5 million U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grant awarded to the university for the development of new, high-efficiency propane engines.
The objective of this 3-year DOE project is to develop propane engines as close to efficient as diesel engines, with an emphasis on heavy duty engines.
CSU has a 30-year history of gaseous fueled engine development, using alternative fuels such as propane, natural gas, hydrogen and biofuels. With the university’s world-class research facility, Powerhouse, they also have the capability to work on large and powerful engines.
The project will undergo three phases: fundamental studies, modeling and demonstration. Currently, propane is around 40% cheaper than diesel and emit fewer emissions. However, with today’s propane engine technology, those savings may not be realized because the propane engines are low technology, low efficiency. By driving up the efficiency of propane engines, the potential impact will help create a more affordable, efficient and lower emissions fuel as a tool to a lower carbon future.