Rochester Institute of Technology’s (RIT) College of Applied Science and Technology recently received a $49,762 grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, (NYSERDA) to further the development of an engine fueled with compressed natural gas that uses an advanced combustion process in a plug-in, hybrid electric vehicle.

The project could result in higher energy efficiencies in alternative vehicles—from improvements to the vehicle’s driving range to reducing the dependence on imported oil, according to RIT.

“What we’re trying to do is take the properties of natural gas, look at what the batteries need to last the longest and to perform the best, and see what advanced combustion techniques can we [sic] use to get as much energy to minimize the emissions of that natural gas and deliver to the batteries what they need to power the vehicles of the future,” noted James Lee, assistant professor of mechanical engineering technology for the College of Applied Science and Technology.

The research team will utilize computer modeling capabilities at laboratory facilities at RIT and its industry partners for the project, Delphi Automotive and Kohler Engines. The latter two organizations provided financial and in-kind resources or equipment of $17,000 and $10,000, respectively.