Nanofuels: Nanoparticle-Filled Liquid Fuels for Efficient Energy Conservation

Patrick Phelan (Inventor)

Research output: Patent


Increasing the energy content of liquid fuels, as well as the combustion efficiency of engines, is clearly advantageous. Typical liquid-fueled combustion systems, like those in diesel engines, and in diesel-fuled gas turbines, require the fuel to be sprayed into the combustion chamber in the form of droplets, vaporize, and then react with the oxidant (combust) in order to produce useful work. Improvements in any of these reaction itself - results in improved combustion performance. A promising approach for enhancing droplet vaproization and reaction is by incorprating high-energy-content solid fuels into liquid feuls, in the form of nanoparticles. The presence of a small volume percentage of nanoparticles in a liquid fuel, our goal is to exploit these improved transport properties as well as to increase the volumetric energy content of the fules, leading to improved combustion performance.Nanofuels offer the following potential advantages over competing pure liquid fuels:- More rapid fuel droplet evaporation and custion at comparable temperature- Fuel droplet evaporation and combustion at reduced temperatures, compared to pure liquid fuels- Increased radiative and acoustic absrption, allowing for novel radiative (i.e., laser) and/or acoustic ignition strategies- Ability to control droplet formation and transport through the application of electric, magnetic and/or acoustic fields- Ability to improve the performance of nonconventional liquid fuels, such as biodiesel and methanol- Ability to use a non-hydrocarbon liquid, such as water, as the liquid carrier of the combustible nanoparticles, thus enabling the creation of non-hydrocarbon liquid fuels.
Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Mar 27 2006


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