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Feb 21 2023

Combustion for Sustainable Transportation

MIE Department Seminar

February 21, 2023

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM


ERF 1043 or on Zoom at


842 W. Taylor St., Chicago, IL 60607

Presenter: Brandon Rotavera, PhD, University of Georgia
Location: ERF 1043

Abstract: Despite accelerating electrification efforts, the United States Energy Information Agency projects that, for the foreseeable future, liquid hydrocarbons and biofuels will continue to provide greater than 95% of transportation energy. Moreover, outside of the U.S., the European Union has set a target of 27% for renewable energy in the transportation sector, as proposed in the 2030 Framework for Climate and Energy, which is stated to be met only by partially or completely replacing fossil fuels with biofuels. Building on the global recognition that combustion-derived energy will remain critical to the transportation sector, continued development of advanced combustion technologies plays a meaningful role in sustainably meeting rising energy demands, and in the mitigation of air quality and climate impacts.

Underpinning this effort is the need to understand fundamental chemistry and physics of fuel-engine interactions for the purpose of enabling predictive modeling capabilities that accelerate the creation of new technologies. As one example, advanced compression-ignition (ACI) strategies offer a means for achieving low-emission, high-efficiency combustion by operating at lower temperature and higher pressure than conventional strategies. ACI strategies, which include gasoline direct-injection, among others, rely extensively on predictive chemical kinetics of hydrocarbons and biofuels. Accordingly, understanding reaction mechanisms of classes of molecules such as n-alkanes, cycloalkanes, and oxygenated hydrocarbons remains essential.

The seminar discusses combustion in the context of ignition behavior, the chemical reactions that underlie ignition, and reasons why understanding the connections is important to sustainable transportation energy initiatives. In addition to analysis of reactions related to ignition, recent results on aerosol formation from low-temperature combustion experiments are discussed. Broader issues related to transportation energy are also highlighted.

Speaker Bio: Dr. Brandon Rotavera is an associate professor at the University of Georgia, with joint appointments in the Department of Chemistry and the College of Engineering. Prior to arriving at the University of Georgia in 2016, Rotavera held a postdoctoral appointee position at Sandia National Laboratories after completing a Ph.D. in interdisciplinary engineering from Texas A&M University in 2012, focusing on physical chemistry and mechanical engineering.

A major focus of the Rotavera Group is the uncovering of gas-phase reaction mechanisms of biofuels and hydrocarbons under high-pressure combustion conditions in support of producing scientific input for advancing clean, sustainable transportation energy technologies. Particular emphasis is placed on understanding connections between molecular structure and the balance of reactions governing ignition dynamics and pollutant formation. Rotavera is a recipient of the NSF CAREER award, the Irvin Glassman Early Career Award (Combustion Institute), and the Fred C. Davison Early Career Scholar Award (University of Georgia).


Prof. Patrick Lynch

Date posted

Feb 8, 2023

Date updated

Feb 8, 2023