IIT-Delhi researchers developed flexible fuel engine technology; Use eco-friendly dimethyl ether



IIT Delhi developed the flex-fuel engine technology for use with the DME, and IOC R&D carried out endurance and field trials and developed the dedicated engine oil with technical assistance from Ashok Leyland. Research Testing Setup Development at Department of Energy Science and Engineering (DESE), IIT Delhi








Campus IIT Delhi





Researchers from the Department of Energy Science and Engineering (DESE) at IIT Delhi, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC R&D) and Ashok Leyland Ltd. have developed technology that allows a diesel-powered vehicle to run in flex-fuel mode, meaning it can run on 100% diesel or DME plus diesel. The project was funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India.












As a test, researchers converted a diesel-powered automobile into a flex-fuel vehicle using this technology. Attended by senior officials from IIT Delhi, IOC R&D and Automotive Major Ashok Leyland, Dr. Srivari Chandrasekhar, Secretary, DST; Prof. Rangan Banerjee, Director, IIT Delhi; Dr. SSV Ramakumar, Director (R&D), Indian Oil; Krishnan Sadagopan, Senior Vice President, Ashok Leyland; Teacher. Sunil Kumar Khare, R&D Dean, IIT Delhi; Teacher. KA Sub

IIT Delhi developed the flex-fuel engine technology for use with the DME, and IOC R&D carried out endurance and field trials and developed the dedicated engine oil with technical assistance from Ashok Leyland. Research Testing Setup Development at Department of Energy Science and Engineering (DESE), IIT Delhi

Because it has a higher cetane number (58) than conventional diesel, Dimethyl Ether (DME) is one of the alternative fuels for compression ignition engines/vehicles (51).












Through gasification and the Fisher-Tropsch synthesis process, DME can be made from biomass, coal, industrial waste, municipal solid waste, and black liquor (a pulp by-product). It can also be made by catalytic dehydration of methanol.

DME is typically stored in liquid form and phase transitions from liquid to vapor/gas are common at ambient temperatures and pressures.

Main highlights of the technology developed by IIT Delhi, IOC R&D and Ashok Leyland:

  • Technology for flexible fuel vehicles (the vehicle can operate in both modes: either 100% diesel mode or DME-Diesel mode)

  • Conversion of diesel trucks from conventional diesel to DME as an alternative fuel (first phase as flexible fuel vehicle; second phase as 100% DME/alternative fuel vehicle)












  • Smoke/Soot/PM emissions are reduced/non-existent.

  • Engine/vehicle operation is smoother, resulting in less noise.

  • Transient engine performance has improved.

  • Increase energy security

Thanks to the significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, the environment is more sustainable.











First published: April 30, 2022, 08:20 IST



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