Dario Lopez Pintor

Engineering Science, Senior Member of Technical Staff

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Engineering Science, Senior Member of Technical Staff


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(925) 294-3577


Dr. Dario Lopez Pintor is the principal investigator in the Sandia Low-Temperature Gasoline Combustion Engine Laboratory, the Off-Road Diesel Engine Laboratory and the Light-Duty Direct-Injection Spark-Ignition Engine Laboratory. Dario is currently responsible for research to improve efficiency and reduce emissions of off-road diesel engines, advanced compression-ignition engines and light-duty spark-ignition engines.

In this role, he works in close collaboration with industry to address key knowledge barriers impeding the implementation of low-carbon fuels in light- and medium-duty powertrains. His research activities include mixture formation, catalyst heating and heat transfer in off-road mixing-controlled compression-ignition engines, combustion control and engine performance of advanced compression-ignition gasoline engines, fuel-engine interactions and fuel effects in light-duty spark-ignition engines, and chemical kinetics of conventional and renewable fuels.


Dario received his M.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from University of Vigo, Spain, in 2013, and his M.Sc. in Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engines from Polytechnic University of Valencia, Spain, in 2014, followed by a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Polytechnic University of Valencia in 2017 for his work on the autoignition process of fuels.

He continued his career as a postdoctoral researcher at Sandia National Laboratories under mentoring of Dr. John Dec, working on low-temperature gasoline combustion engines. Dario leads the Sandia National Laboratories’ Low-Temperature Gasoline Combustion Engine Laboratory and the Off-Road Diesel Engine Laboratory since 2020, and the Light-Duty Direct-Injection Spark-Ignition Engine Laboratory since 2021.

Awards & Recognition

  • SAE International, Member
  • SAE International Journal of Engines, Associate Editor
  • SAE Young Professional Technical Paper Competition Award, 2020
  • Polytechnic University of Valencia Extraordinary Doctoral Thesis Award, 2020
  • SAE Award for Excellence in Oral Presentation, 2019
  • Spanish National Award for Excellence in Academic Performance for the top-ranked graduate student of engineering in Spain, 2017


D Lopez Pintor, J Dec, G Gentz, “φ-sensitivity for LTGC engines: Understanding the fundamentals and tailoring fuel blends to maximize this property” SAE Technical Paper 2019-01- 0961, 2019 https://doi.org/10.4271/2019-01-0961
G Gentz, J Dernotte, C Ji, D Lopez Pintor, J Dec, “Combustion-timing control of low-temperature gasoline combustion (LTGC) engines by using double direct-injections to control kinetic rates” SAE Technical Paper 2019-01-1156, 2019 https://doi.org/10.4271/2019-01-1156
P. Priyadarshini, A. Sofianopoulos, S. Mamalis, B. Lawler, D. Lopez-Pintor, J.E. Dec, “Understanding partial fuel stratification for low temperature gasoline combustion using large eddy simulations” International Journal of Engine Research, 22(6):1872-1887, 2021 https://doi.org/10.1177/1468087420921042
A. Cuoci, C.T. Avedisian, J.D. Brunson, S. Guo, A. Dalili, Y. Wang, M. Mehl, A. Frassoldati, K. Seshadri, J.E. Dec, D. Lopez-Pintor, “Simulating combustion of a seven-component surrogate for a gasoline/ethanol blend including soot formation and comparison with experiments” Fuel, vol. 288, 119451, 2021 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fuel.2020.119451
JM Desantes, JJ López, JM García-Oliver, D López-Pintor, “Experimental validation and analysis of seven different chemical kinetic mechanisms for n-dodecane using a rapid compression-expansion machine” Combustion and Flame 182, 76-89, 2017 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.combustflame.2017.04.004