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Net-Zero Carbon Fuel Utilization

Wabtec engine

As technology continues to advance for electrification of light-duty vehicles and other applications, significant challenges remain for decarbonization of the heavy duty on-road, off-road, rail, marine, and aviation transportation and defense sectors. Low-carbon solutions are needed for both retrofits and new powertrain architectures.

To help navigate the transition from fossil fuels to more sustainable options, ORNL researchers are working to solve end-use challenges for a wide range of net-zero carbon fuels in these hard-to-electrify applications. Fuels of interest include hydrogen; hydrogen carriers or synthetic fuels such as methanol and ammonia; and biofuels.

The work is targeting net-zero carbon and near-zero pollutant emissions to help the US reach its goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

This research is sponsored by the Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office, Bioenergy Technologies Office, Advanced Manufacturing Office, ARPA-E, and the US Department of Transportation.  


The National Transportation Research Center is the Department of Energy’s only designated user facility focused on performing early-stage research and development in transportation technologies. NTRC has multiple test cells and laboratories focused on clean fuels and engines.