A $6 million partnership between CSIRO and its Indian equivalent, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has been announced.
on fuel project
The partnership will focus on improving processes involved in the production of dimethyl ether (DME), which is a clean-burning synthetic fuel produced from natural gas, coal, biomass, or even directly from carbon dioxide.
Research Group leader at CSIRO, Nick Burke said neither Australia nor India were currently unable to meet demand for petroleum products with domestic production alone.
“DME could help meet demand and consequently reduce both nations’ reliance on imported petroleum products,” Dr Burke said.
"Australia’s heavy reliance on diesel could also be lessened with the added possibility of DME being able to replace diesel in the future."
He said there were more than half a million vehicles currently using liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in Australia, all of which could be powered using DME.
“The fact that DME can be used as a blend in existing LPG engines makes it an effective transitional fuel,” Dr Burke said.
Professor at RMIT University, Suresh Bhargava said the research would also assist in the development of small plants that might be suitable in remote and rural areas.
“More efficient processing of gas into transportable fuels at remote locations would make Australia and India’s remote gas reserves more economically viable,” Professor Bhargava said.
The three-year project is being jointly funded by the Australian and Indian Governments, through the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund.
Edition 383, 15 October 2013