University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota: Department of Mechanical Engineering
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Hydrous Ethanol for use in Diesel Engine using Dual Fuel Modes

PI: Will Northrop, Co-PI: David Kittelson, Graduate Student: Wei Fang

Bio-ethanol is an important renewable fuel that is produced from a variety of crops such as corn, sugar cane or potatoes. Most bio-ethanol fuel produced in the U.S. is anhydrous, requiring highly energy-intensive water removal processes during production. Direct and efficient use of hydrous ethanol in IC engines will substantially improve the economics and life cycle energy balance of bio-ethanol and help alleviate the dependence on petroleum fuels.

This project focuses on the reactivity-controlled compression ignition (RCCI) operation on a modified diesel engine using hydrous ethanol containing more than 20% of water by volume. The objectives include optimization of the operating parameters using design of experiments methods and characterization of particulate matter emissions. RCCI has the potential to obtain high thermal efficiency and low engine-out emissions in diesel engines.

The RCCI strategy employs in-cylinder blending of two fuels with distinct auto-ignition characteristics such as gasoline and diesel fuel to create an optimal fuel reactivity distribution in the combustion chamber. Preliminary experimental results showed that RCCI operation with simultaneously low NOX and soot emissions could be achieved at loads up to 16 bar IMEP using 150 proof hydrous ethanol.