A Marquette University faculty member has been named the recipient of a $4.2 million Department of Energy Grant. Adam Dempsey,an assistant professor of mechanical engineering in the Opus College of Engineering, will use the funding to further research technology to be used in lean-burn natural gas engines. These engines could reduce methane slip by 90% from current levels, according to a press release from Marquette.
“Methane is a potent greenhouse gas and has been shown to have a global warming potential of about 25-80 times that of carbon dioxide,” Dempsey said. “Our aim is to develop a system to achieve a non-premixed, mixing controlled combustion process with natural gas in a lean-burn engine, avoiding the primary sources of methane slip that come with premixing the fuel and intake air. This has the potential to reduce methane slip to 0.25% of the inlet fuel stream, which represents a 90% reduction.”
Dempsey’s research will be funded for three years through the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) and Reducing Emissions of Methane Every Day (REMEDY) programs. Dempsey also received a $2.2 million Department of Energy grant in 2022, which will be used in his engine combustion technology research.
“Through his technical expertise, creativity and leadership, Dr. Dempsey is identifying collaborative solutions to present economic and environmental challenges,” said Kristina Ropella, opus dean of the Opus College of Engineering. “I am grateful for his efforts toward a cleaner future.”
Dempsey and his team will work to demonstrate their mixed-controlled combustion system, which can be retrofitted into lean-burn engines or as a new engine technology for the future. After the three years of the grant program is up, Dempsey’s efforts will be at a level that will allow OEMs to retrofit kits of current engines and begin integrating the technology into their future engines with "low risk," the university said.