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Advanced technologies for highly efficient Clean Engines working with alternative fuels and lubes

CLEANENGINE is focused on developing modern clean internal combustion engines based on liquid biofuels coming from biomass (biodiesel and bioethanol) and environmentally friendly and ash-free lubes and/or lubrication concepts. The objective is to increase efficiency and minimise harmful emissions.

Tags: Road


In recent years, the main incentives towards biofuel technology were provided by the need to reduce the western world’s dependence on fossil fuels, the demand of the agricultural sector to be opened towards new products and markets, and the environmental need to face the increasing greenhouse effect. For these reasons biofuels represent an attractive alternative to conventional oil-derived energy sources as they can fuel the well-proven IC engines. Their extensive introduction on the market will be principally driven by the results of further studies on their technical performances, and by their cost competitiveness, sustainability and related legislation, regulation and standards.

This project mainly addresses two of these issues: the planned research activities will evaluate and optimise the effect of the combined usage of biofuels and biolubes in current IC engine performances, in terms of efficiency and emissions, and the environmental impact of renewable fuel and lube production and usage phases by the so-called ‘well-to-wheel’ analysis.


The main objective of CLEANENGINE is the optimisation of modern clean IC engines working with liquid biofuels coming from biomass and environmentally friendly and ash-free lubes.

Diesel and gasoline engine configurations will be evaluated and compatible solutions in terms of materials (base materials and anti-corrosion, low-friction coatings), engine part geometry and after-treatment systems will be developed in order to:

  • increase engine efficiency (by reducing internal friction and improving combustion
  • reduce CO2 emissions at the source (taking into account the complete lifecycle of the biofuels)
  • reduce NOx, CO and PM emissions when using mixtures of oxygenated biofuels as bioethanol
  • improve the technological and industrial practice related to the use of alternative fuels in combination with environmentally friendly lubricants
  • increase the utilisation share of biofuels.

Description of work

To achieve the targets mentioned above, the following research areas will be covered:

  • Development of raw materials and additives
  • Evaluation and selection of the best alternative fuel mixtures and additive packages
  • Development of suitable low emission lubricants and lubrication systems
  • Evaluation of the engine materials’ compatibility with biofuels and lubes and the development of new tailored coatings
  • Simulation of injection and combustion phases, and optimisation of injection strategies and engine part geometry
  • Development of specific aftertreatment systems and optimisation of the catalytic converter and filter configurations
  • Lifecycle analysis of biofuels and alternative lubes in all phases from production to usage.

All these activities will be addressed and supported by the continuous feedback given by an extensive engine-testing programme that, in parallel, will evaluate and assess the proposed engine modifications.


The project will deliver optimised car, leisure boat and ship engines capable of running on high biofuel content blends and lubricated by optimized biolubricants, while achieving high efficiencies and very low emissions through specific aftertreatment systems.

CLEANENGINE fulfils an industrial and societal need while facing an environmental problem linked to a currently used mass product, the internal combustion engine. Its outcome will have a large impact and benefit on the quality and lifetime of the engine, the level of pollution and, finally, on increasing the employment deriving from the usage of alternative fuels and oils.