Engine Performance and Exhaust Emissions of a Diesel Engine From Various Biodiesel Feedstock
Santos, Bjorn Sanchez
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Increasing fuel prices, stricter government policies, and technological developments made it possible to seek for renewable alternatives, called biofuels, to petroleum fuel. Biodiesel, a biofuel that is produced from chemically mixing animal fat, vegetable oils, or recycled restaurant grease with alcohol and catalyst, is gaining popularity in recent years as a substitute for petroleum diesel. Ninety percent (90%) of U.S. biodiesel industry makes use of soybean oil as its feedstock. However, soybean oil alone cannot meet such a huge demand on biofuel production. Hence, it is important to identify and get more information about other feedstocks, specifically on its effects on the performance and exhaust emissions of diesel engines. The purpose of this study is to investigate the performance and emissions of two diesel engines operating on different biodiesel fuels (i.e. canola oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, peanut oil, and chicken fat) and compare them to the performance and emissions when the engine is operated on soybean oil-based biodiesel and petroleum-based diesel. Results indicated that an engine operating on biodiesel generates a little less power and torque at any given speed than one running on diesel. Such power and torque loss were attributed to the biodiesel's lower energy content. The lower heating value (energy content) of biodiesel can be reflected in the specific fuel consumption, i.e., to generate the same power, more biodiesel is needed. The reduction in torque and power of less than 10% indicates that in some cases biodiesel has better combustion than diesel. Unfortunately, the high efficiency of combustion may give rise to increased combustion temperature which may lead to higher exhaust emissions. The gradual decrease in the total hydrocarbon and CO2 emissions, as blends were increased from B20 to B100, was also found to be an indication of better combustion using biodiesel fuels than petroleum diesel. However, NOx emissions were higher, predominantly at low speeds for most biodiesel and blends and therefore may require some additives or engine modifications/or adjustments to equalize the NOx emissions of diesel. Other emissions particularly SO2 were lower than standards require.
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