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About Dimethyl Ether (DME)

Focus: GS III: Science and Technology

Why in News?

Recently, researchers at IIT Kanpur developed a 100% DME-fuelled engine with a mechanical fuel injection system.

Dimethyl Ether (DME)

  • Dimethyl Ether (DME) is a synthetic fuel that serves as an alternative to diesel fuel in specially designed compression ignition diesel engines.
  • It has gained attention as a viable option for reducing emissions and promoting cleaner energy sources.
Benefits and Usage:
  • DME can be produced domestically and has been adopted by several countries, including Japan, USA, China, Sweden, Denmark, and Korea, for powering vehicles.
  • When used as a fuel, DME emits significantly lower levels of particulate matter, soot, and smoke compared to conventional diesel, even without the need for expensive exhaust gas treatment systems or advanced engine technologies.
  • Its properties make it a promising alternative for India’s agricultural and transportation sectors, where conventional diesel engines are widely used.
Properties of Dimethyl Ether:
  • DME possesses a high cetane number, which indicates its ability to ignite easily in compression ignition engines.
  • Under normal atmospheric conditions, DME exists as a colorless gas.
Applications of Dimethyl Ether:
  • In addition to its use as a fuel, DME finds extensive applications in the chemical industry and as an aerosol propellant.
  • It is utilized in various chemical processes and the production of dyes and plastics.

December 2023