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Fuels Quality & Emissions

For many years, European air quality objectives have focused on reducing vehicle exhaust emissions through integrated improvements in engine performance, after-treatment technology, and fuel qualities.

Achieving these reductions and improving air quality in the most efficient way has required a sound understanding of the complex relationships between engine and vehicle emissions and fuel composition. Concawe has been an active contributor to this area of research through in-depth studies on emerging engine technologies, as well as on the impact of fuel composition on vehicle performance, driveability and emissions, as new engine and vehicle types enter the on-road fleet.

This research has provided a strong basis for ensuring that road fuel specifications continue to provide ‘fit for purpose’ fuels for the on-road fleet. Concawe actively contributes to the specification-setting process as a liaison organisation to the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) and International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO). Concawe is also a Board member of the Coordinating European Council (CEC), which is responsible for developing and maintaining robust performance tests for road fuels, lubricants and other fluids. Reports and articles are published regularly on our research studies and related topics. New activities have recently been initiated to enhance our technical contributions to industry discussions on aviation, marine fuels and natural gas.

While air quality improvements continue to be a European priority, growing concerns over climate change have resulted in a shift in focus from local air pollutants to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The blending of bio-products such as ethanol, ethers, esterified vegetable oils, and others into transport fuels is one approach being taken to reduce GHG emissions. These bio-products can be quite different from today’s transportation fuels while their benefits to energy consumption, GHG emissions, and land use are sometimes difficult to assess. For this reason, Concawe has contributed to "well-to-wheels" (WTW) assessments on the impact of future automotive fuels and vehicles on GHG emissions and energy balances. Detailed studies on the WTW impacts of different bio-products and other alternatives have been published jointly by Concawe, the European Council on Automotive R&D (EUCAR), and the EU Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC). This work was complemented initially in 2011 (and updated in 2014) by a JEC (JRC-EUCAR-Concawe) Biofuels Study that evaluated various scenarios for achieving the 2020 EU mandates for renewable fuels in transport fuels. Both JEC studies are available on the JRC website.

Finally, Concawe recognizes the importance of contributing to broad-based European research related to transport fuels and actively participates in research and development consortia with other industry partners. These include the European Road Transport Research Advisory Council (ERTRAC) and EC Framework Programmes on renewable fuels for transport.

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