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Internal Combustion Engines as Small Scale Chemical Reactors


IAP and Spring


2: Mechanical Engineering

Faculty Supervisor:

John Heywood

Faculty email:


Apply by:



Emmanuel Kasseris: kasseris@mit.edu

Project Description

We are working on a revolutionary new concept for distributed chemical manufacturing. By placing a catalyst inside the cylinder, we re-purpose mass produced diesel engines as small scale chemical reactors and compressors. We can thus reduce costs by orders of magnitude for applications where economies of scale are not an option. Examples include small scale gas to liquids for flare avoidance, bio fuels production near the feed stock source and clean ammonia generation for energy storage and zero carbon fertilizers. Work will include modeling thermodynamics/kinetics and heat transfer or designing a novel transmission mechanism depending on the student's background. Hands-on tasks exist with the experimental apparatus for students who live on campus.


*Dynamics/Design/Controls if the student wants to work on the mechanism design. *Heat transfer/Thermodynamics/Fluid Mechanics if they prefer to work on the process.