Energy and Climate

The Combustion Research Facility (CRF) is an internationally recognized center of excellence for combustion science and technology whose operations are supported by the DOE Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences (BES).  The CRF is home to about 100 scientists, engineers, and technologists who conduct basic and applied research aimed at improving our nation’s ability to use and control combustion processes.

The need for a thorough and basic understanding of combustion forms the basis for BES research at the CRF.  Research includes the study of the chemistry by which fuels are converted to carbon dioxide and water in the combustion process and the computational simulation of combustion processes, which in real systems such as engines include a complex interplay between chemistry and turbulent gas flow.  CRF scientists with BES support pioneered the use of laser-based optical diagnostics, now essential for the study of combustion.  Laser diagnostics allow researchers to observe and measure fleeting combustion events in a wide variety of environments, such as inside engines and burners, without out perturbing them.  The CRF functions as a collaborative research center where partnership with scientists and engineers from industry, universities, and other DOE laboratories plays a central role in the majority of work. Visiting researchers have access to the CRF’s state-of-the-art facilities and expert staff, and bring with them experience and knowledge that enhances and brings new approaches to the pursuit of combustion science.


Applied R&D, supported through the Vehicle Technologies program in the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and through cooperative agreements with U.S. industry, is co-located with the BES basic research program at the CRF.  This produces a fruitful synergy that accelerates the transfer of basic research into commercial applications.  For example, basic research on modeling of combustion chemistry and the application of laser diagnostics to fuel injection allowed Cummins to design a new diesel engine using computer simulation, saving development time and cost and yielding an engine with higher fuel efficiency and cleaner combustion.  This engine was first marketed in 2007 and now powers over 200,000 Dodge Ram heavy duty pickup trucks.

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