In seeking environmental, economical and technological solutions, DME fares better than biodiesel as an alternate fuel, not as well as gasification or cellulosic ethanol, according to one consultant’s report, which also indicated that electric remains the best choice.
AutoblogGreen *** notes, while “flying under the radar in North America”, DME seems to be getting significant attention in China, Japan, and Europe. Already having developed two generations of DME engines, Volvo, reports Joe Arellano, now is undertaking the development of a third generation DME engine.
Like advanced diesel engines, “Volvo’s second-generation DME engine uses a low-pressure, common rail system”. However, the DME engine requires a special fuel pump and sealing materials; injection pressure less than 20% that of an equivalent diesel engine. Mike Millikin notes environmental and energy advantages of Volvo’s second generation DME engine:
For exhaust handling, the engine uses long route exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), with the gases introduced at the turbo inlet. This is possible because the gases have close to zero PM. Emissions from the engine are lower than the future Euro 5 standards, according to Volvo. Fuel consumption is, in energy equivalents, almost similar to a diesel truck, according to the company.