The global energy demand is increasing day by day. Over 80% of human energy needs come from burning fossil fuels. Among the green-house gases, CO2 from burning the fossil fuels is the main culprit contributing to the global warming. There are a lot of news of erratic weather patterns lately which are linked to global warming. It looks imperative to achieve carbon neutrality in the energy sectors.

In collaboration with Saudi Aramco, we have carried out a series of works where we explored the technical viability of using naphtha-like low-carbon fuels in advanced low-temperature compression ignition engines. Our group’s works represented the first-ever studies on naphtha fuels and provided insights into the autoignition behavior of such fuels in contrast to gasoline.

The interpretation of complex combustion systems often requires detailed modeling and state-of-the-art theoretical methods to rigorously characterize important reactions. Detailed modeling employing Chemkin-Pro for sensitivity analysis, reaction path analysis and integrated computational kinetic simulations is used to interpret the experimental data and to develop reaction mechanisms

We employ both experimental and computational tools to gain deeper insights into the complex reaction systems of low-carbon and carbon-neutral fuels. Our laboratory has a low-pressure shock tube, a high-pressure shock tube and a rapid compression machine.

Our research group has focused on the application of high-speed imaging diagnostics to the investigation of preignition in shock tubes and rapid compression machines with two main goals: characterizing the conditions of pressure, temperature and composition that promote preignition, and establishing ideal regimes of operation for these reactors.

Rapid population growth and industrialization assure rising worldwide energy demands in the coming decades. Although alternative sources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, and nuclear energies, are increasingly important in the world energy mix, conventional petroleum-based fuels, such as natural gas, gasoline, kerosene, and diesel, are still going to play a dominant role in the foreseeable future.

Exhaust gas treatment systems are very important for vehicles and power plants. Our group is carrying out research to better understand the fundamental mechanisms involved in the production or removal of specific pollutant components. This includes topics such as effect of fuel composition, catalyst aging and selectivity.

With many new alternative fuels being proposed from bio/synthetic routes, it is important to develop tools for accurate and efficient fuel screening and fuel blending methods. The quality of gasoline fuels is usually measured by their anti-knock capability through octane number indicators which require a Cooperative Fuel Research (CFR) engine.

Our research group has advanced the field of laser sensing by developing new strategies and novel sensors in the mid-IR wavelength region. The mid-IR is considered to be the ‘molecular fingerprint’ as it provides access to fundamental vibrational bands of many molecules and the possibility of developing highly sensitive and interference-free optical sensors.

In collaboration with the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) of Saudi Aramco, we developed a highly sensitive laser-based benzene sensor for petrochemical installations. We used an ICL near a wavelength of 3.3 mm and achieved an unprecedented detection limit of 2 ppb of benzene.

Commercially-available continuous-wave QCLs are not yet able to reach wavelengths beyond 13 μm. However, the 12 – 15 μm region has strong vibrational bands of many important molecules; particularly, this region contains the bending vibrational modes of aromatics.