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Engines come in different sizes and types, as do the fuels that provide the energy that keep them running. As machinery has evolved over the past few decades and technology has expanded what is available to us, superior performance is expected in a range of sometimes harsh circumstances, such as extreme weather conditions. Development of new products requires rigorous testing, which may require fuel of different types to replicate what is available around the world. In addition, there are concerns about emissions, the environment and sustainability which have taken on greater significance, all contributing to the many reasons why fuel design - matching and developing specific fuels for specific purposes - is a growing business and what your fuel supplier should be offering.
Whilst a vehicle or piece of equipment may be marketed around the world, the fuel available in some countries may not be the same as what was used during the design of the engine propelling that particular item. Therefore, it is important during research and development that different types of fuel, representing those available in major markets, be available for use to test the versatility of the engine, ensuring it will deliver reliable performance all around the world.
Fuel design can also replicate certain fuels found in specific markets. This is important when the fuel is low or of variable quality and can lead to problems. It is vital that these types of fuels can be tested and the problems they may cause be anticipated and resolved before the product reaches those markets.
Fuels of replicable and consistent quality are also critical when products are being tested, and conditions must be maintained with constant and easily reproducible criteria to satisfy the authenticity of results across batches and different testing programmes.
Bespoke fuels can play an essential role in creating market realistic conditions for testing and compliance with new directives such as Real Driving Emissions, which are supposed to emulate the kinds of conditions vehicles actually encounter on the roads. Automotive emissions affect air quality and production of greenhouse gases, which can contribute to climate change. The links between air pollution and respiratory illnesses mean solutions for toxic emissions are urgently needed. Testing fuels may also be required in situations where consistent rates of low speed pre-ignition events are necessary.
Fuel can also be designed to exhibit physical characteristics, such as a specific lubricity, to support and enhance the mechanical design of engines and components. Some fuels require specific chemical properties to enable research and testing into development of lubricants or additives, or to investigate combustion properties.
Tailored fuels are an important part of developing and testing new technology. They also play a vital role in establishing emissions generated by different kinds of fuels and the effect of these on the air that we all breathe. Without reliable fuels designed to specific parameters, most testing would be meaningless, and the quality and performance that we expect from new engines and technology would be compromised.