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Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Multi-Fuel Engine Dynamometer(25524)

Rochester Institute of Technology


In the transportation sector, an important strategy to reduce petroleum consumption and greenhouse gas emissions is to use compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied petroleum gas (LPG, i.e., “propane”) and other alternative fuels in place of petroleum-derived fuels (i.e., gasoline and diesel fuel). Basic factors limiting adoption of alternative fuels can include reduced driving range and lack of fueling infrastructure. An additional factor is that engines that use alternative fuels are usually modified versions of engines originally designed and optimized to use just gasoline or to use just diesel fuel. Significant amounts of technical work must be done to re-optimize these engines to make best use of the combustion characteristics of the new fuels, and to thereby make these fuels more competitive. The key tool for this work is an engine dynamometer test cell, where an engine is mounted on a test stand and its output shaft is connected to a device that can absorb the engine’s mechanical power, allowing the engine to operate under load, as if it were in a vehicle on the road. Unfortunately, the relatively small market share of CNG and other alternative fuels attracts few resources for development of suitable test facilities. A specific gap exists in the availability of test cells that provide code-compliant fuel delivery and safety systems specific to various alternative fuels.

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Project Description

Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) has developed a basic engine dynamometer test cell and has worked with various companies on engine component development projects. Based on this experience, RIT believes that expansion of its engine dynamometer testing capabilities to include CNG and LPG would create a beneficial service for use by technology developers. Tasks include: 1) define test cell requirements to meet testing and safety requirements of CNG and other alternative fuels when used singly and in multi-fuel combinations; 2) contractor selection to meet test cell upgrade requirements; 3) modification to fuel supply systems; and, 4) modifications to lab gas sensing and ventilation systems.


By expanding research facilities to handle alternative fuels, this project may accelerate development and deployment of engines operating on alternative fuels, eventually providing large reductions in petroleum consumption, with proportionate reductions in production of greenhouse gases and air pollutants.

Project Results


Rochester Institute of Technology
63 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623

Principle Investigator

Daniel Smith

Universities Involved

Rochester Institute of Technology


Project Type:

Business Development

Technologies Types:


NYSERDA Contact Information

Joseph Wagner


R&D -Transport & Power Systems

Contract Details

Start Date: 6/26/2012
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: 25524

Last Updated: 2/12/2013