Responsible use of natural resources for sustainable transportation energy motivates ongoing research efforts towards increasing fuel efficiency and decreasing emissions of combustion systems. At current rates, over 70% of annual petroleum consumption in the United States is diverted to the transportation sector, which derives more than 95% of its energy requirements from liquid hydrocarbons and biofuels. Because of the high energy density of liquid fuels, among other reasons, the transportation sector is projected to remain reliant on petroleum-based hydrocarbons for decades to come.
However, the combined approach of advanced combustion strategies and new, advanced biofuels intends to augment this scenario by enabling more-efficient, cleaner-burning combustion systems and by providing sustainable sources of liquid fuels produced from a growing number of biomass conversion technologies. One critical aspect to the success of these concurrently developing areas of research is the availability of high-fidelity predictive modeling and simulation tools that can enable co-optimization of combustion strategies with complex biofuels. Chemical kinetics models are one piece of the larger scientific puzzle and require basic research into questions such as how molecular structure impacts reaction mechanisms, ignition chemistry, pollutant formation, and other combustion phenomena.