Discovery of Novel Octane Hyperboosting Phenomenon in Prenol Biofuel/Gasoline Blends

Robert McCormick, Eric Monroe, John Gladden, Karl Albrecht, J. Bays, Ryan Davis, Anthe George

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus Citations


This work describes the first documented case of an effect defined herein as “octane hyperboosting” by an oxygenated fuel compound, 3-methyl-2-buten-1-ol (prenol). Octane hyperboosting is characterized by the Research Octane Number (RON) of a mixture (e.g. an oxygenate biofuel blended into gasoline) exceeding the RON of the individual components in that mixture. This finding counters the widely held assumption that interpolation between the RON values of a pure compound and the base fuel provides the bounds for the RON performance of the blend. This is clearly distinct from the more commonly observed synergistic blending of oxygenates with gasoline, where the RON never exceeds the performance of the highest performing component. Octane hyperboosting was observed for blends of prenol and six different gasoline fuels with varying composition. Testing of compounds chemically similar to prenol yielded no qualitatively similar instances of octane hyperboosting, which suggests that the effect may not be widespread among fuel candidates. The phenomenon suggests an unexplored aspect of autoignition kinetics research for fuel blends, and may provide a new mechanism for significantly increasing fuel octane number, which is necessary for increasing combustion efficiency in spark ignition engines. This phenomenon also increases the potential candidate list of biofuels, as compounds hitherto discounted due to their lower pure component RON may exhibit hyperboosting behavior, and thereby enhanced performance, in blends.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1143-1148
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5400-73186


  • Biofuel
  • Combustion
  • Hyperboosting
  • Octane
  • Prenol
  • RON
  • Synergistic blending


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