Hyundai is to work with the Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Aramco) and the country’s King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) to research and develop an advanced e-fuel for use in an ultra-lean-burn, spark-ignition engine.
Despite the pan-industry drive toward BEVs, Hyundai still sees a role for ICE technology in the near term. “BEVs and FCEVs will be Hyundai Motor Group’s ultimate technologies to achieve carbon-neutral mobility, while eco-friendly ICE technology that combines eco-friendly fuel and ultra-lean-burn engines will be the key to effectively reducing greenhouse gas emissions during our transition to EVs,” explained Alain Raposo, EVP of Hyundai Motor Group, who leads the Electrified Propulsion Technical Unit.
The e-fuels will be synthesized from green hydrogen – produced by water electrolysis using renewable electricity – and carbon dioxide, resulting in claimed 80% lower lifecycle emissions. Over the next two years, the three organizations will collaborate to research and potentially develop an advanced e-fuel formulation for use in combination with a novel combustion system.
Hyundai will provide an ultra-lean-burn gasoline engine for use in the research, with fuel developed by Aramco. KAUST will oversee the modeling and verification of technologies, including engine testing, at its Clean Combustion Research Center. The joint study aims to verify the level of greenhouse gas emission reduction when e-fuel is used instead of conventional fuel in hybrid electric vehicles.
“As hybrid electric vehicles are rolled out, the real challenge now lies in making strides with optimal fuels and exceptional combustion systems. The Aramco team provides fuel design and blending know-how to improve Hyundai Motor Group engine combustion performance, and the outcome could lead to the application of synthetic e-fuels. This is a space in which we are pushing boundaries and we are excited to be part of it,” said Ahmad Al-Khowaiter, Aramco’s CTO.