Weinheim, March 7, 2019. High CO2 emissions lead to global climate problems: So, Freudenberg is taking part in a research initiative of the Baden-Württemberg state government, the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT) and industrial partners to develop technological solutions for these challenges. The “reFuels - rethinking fuels” project is looking for alternatives to fossil fuels other than electric drives. Freudenberg Sealing Technologies (FST) is one of the project partners and is driving innovation in this area.
Germany will miss its climate protection goals In 2020, Germany will have only 32 percent fewer emissions than in the 1990 benchmark. The goal was a 40 percent reduction. Innovation is essential in this area. This includes renewable fuels with a neutral climate balance. After all, fossil fuel consumption in car and truck travel is responsible for 20 percent of all CO2 emissions in Germany and thus makes a major contribution to climate change.
The challenge is that new fuels cannot have a negative impact on vehicles and their components. Freudenberg Group technicians and developers focus on the question of how vehicles react to these alternative fuels and how sealing materials react to these various media. Synthetic fuels are liquid or gaseous fuels that are not produced using crude oil but hydrocarbons generated with the help of solar and wind power. They can be mixed in with fuels, thus generating an immediate reduction in CO2 emissions if the carbon used in them has previously been captured from the air or extracted from unavoidable industrial emissions.
In a series of experiments, FST has now examined sealing material reactions after exposure to oxymethylene ether (OME), one of the most often mentioned synthetic fuels. The experimental fuels were composed of standard diesel with an OME admixture equal to 10 to 30 percent of volume. Other experiments were carried out using pure OME and 100 percent fossil diesel as a benchmark.
The experimental series also illustrated that an OME mixture of up to 30 percent added to conventional diesel generated only minor additional swelling at a lower level in all fluorinated rubber materials tested. Meaning a reduction in fossil fuels is possible. “We could replace a certain share of the fossil-based diesel with OME,” says Boris Traber, head of global material development at FST. “And we have the right sealing materials for fuel systems.” The Freudenberg Group is thus well prepared for the next generation of renewable fuels.