Hyundai Motor Group to join Aramco and KAUST on E-fuel development

Hyundai, KAUST and Aramco to collaborate on new E-fuel development
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Dubai, United Arab Emirates, March 30, 2022 – Hyundai Motor Group announced today that it has agreed with the Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Aramco) and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), to jointly research and develop an advanced fuel for an ultra lean-burn, spark-ignition engine that aims to lower the overall carbon dioxide emissions of a vehicle.

Hyundai Motor Group is conducting various R&D activities to minimize greenhouse gas emissions from internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles during its transition to battery electric vehicles (BEV) and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV).

“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 engine will be the key to effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions during our transition to EVs,” said Alain Raposo, Executive Vice President of Hyundai Motor Group, leading the Electrified Propulsion Technical Unit.

Unlike conventional fuel manufacturing, e-fuels are synthesized from green hydrogen—produced by water electrolysis using renewable electricity—and carbon dioxide, resulting in 80% lower lifecycle emissions. The ultra-lean burn engine is an eco-friendly technology that increases thermal efficiency and fuel economy compared to conventional engines leading to further reduction of greenhouse gases.

Over the next two years, Hyundai Motor Group, Aramco, and KAUST will collaborate to research and potentially develop an advanced fuel formulation for use in combination with a novel combustion system. Hyundai Motor Group, with its automotive and technology leadership, will provide a state-of-the-art, ultra-lean-burn gasoline engine for use by the research team.

Aramco aims to leverage its advanced fuels technology to carefully design an effective fuel formulation. KAUST will oversee the modeling and verification of technologies, including engine testing, by providing state-of-the-art combustion research center. The collaboration is expected to create synergies leveraging each participant’s expertise.

The joint study aims to verify by how much greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced when e-fuel is used in hybrid electric vehicles instead of conventional fuel. In addition, the joint R&D aims to numerically confirm the effect of reducing greenhouse gas emissions through simulation and engine testing. Hyundai Motor Group expects to achieve carbon neutrality in an effective way by significantly reducing carbon emissions generated by conventional petroleum fuels through the new engine technology.

“As hybrid electrical 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 O. Al-Khowaiter, Aramco’s Chief Technology Officer.

The tests will be conducted by researchers in the Clean Combustion Research Center (CCRC) at KAUST. Professor Donal Bradley, Vice President for Research at KAUST, said: “Building more efficient and less polluting transport systems is a critical contribution to the circular carbon economy approach to tackling climate change. Our Clean Combustion Research Center is ideally placed to support this significant development with its excellent record in the development and optimization of low-carbon fuels. We look forward to working closely with our colleagues in Aramco and Hyundai on this exciting project.”

Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Corporation have each announced Carbon Neutrality 2045 roadmaps, committing to become carbon neutral in their global products and operations by 2045. The companies will make investments in cleaner transportation and greener energy solutions to achieve a better and more sustainable future.