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Engine performance and pollutant emission of an SI engine using ethanol–gasoline blended fuels

Engine performance and pollutant emission of an SI engine using ethanol–gasoline blended fuels

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Published by ISLAM I. Fekry
The purpose of this study is to experimentally investigate the engine performance and pollutant emission of a
commercial SI engine using ethanol–gasoline blended fuels with various blended rates (0%, 5%, 10%, 20%, 30%). Fuel
properties of ethanol–gasoline blended fuels were first examined by the standard ASTM methods. Results showed that
with increasing the ethanol content, the heating value of the blended fuels is decreased, while the octane number of the
blended fuels increases. It was also found that with increasing the ethanol content, the Reid vapor pressure of the
blended fuels initially increases to a maximum at 10% ethanol addition, and then decreases. Results of the engine test
indicated that using ethanol–gasoline blended fuels, torque output and fuel consumption of the engine slightly increase;
CO and HC emissions decrease dramatically as a result of the leaning effect caused by the ethanol addition; and CO2
emission increases because of the improved combustion. Finally, it was noted that NOx emission depends on the engine
operating condition rather than the ethanol content.
The purpose of this study is to experimentally investigate the engine performance and pollutant emission of a
commercial SI engine using ethanol–gasoline blended fuels with various blended rates (0%, 5%, 10%, 20%, 30%). Fuel
properties of ethanol–gasoline blended fuels were first examined by the standard ASTM methods. Results showed that
with increasing the ethanol content, the heating value of the blended fuels is decreased, while the octane number of the
blended fuels increases. It was also found that with increasing the ethanol content, the Reid vapor pressure of the
blended fuels initially increases to a maximum at 10% ethanol addition, and then decreases. Results of the engine test
indicated that using ethanol–gasoline blended fuels, torque output and fuel consumption of the engine slightly increase;
CO and HC emissions decrease dramatically as a result of the leaning effect caused by the ethanol addition; and CO2
emission increases because of the improved combustion. Finally, it was noted that NOx emission depends on the engine
operating condition rather than the ethanol content.

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Published by: ISLAM I. Fekry on Mar 17, 2009
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05/10/2014

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Atmospheric Environment 36 (2002) 403–410
Engine performance and pollutant emission of an SI engineusing ethanol–gasoline blended fuels
Wei-Dong Hsieh
a
, Rong-Hong Chen
b
, Tsung-Lin Wu
b
, Ta-Hui Lin
a,
*
a
Department of Mechanical Engineering, National Cheng-Kung University, Tainan 70101, Taiwan, ROC 
b
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Southern Taiwan University of Technology, Tainan 71043, Taiwan, ROC 
Received 5 February 2001; received in revised form 10 August 2001; accepted 9 October 2001
Abstract
The purpose of this study is to experimentally investigate the engine performance and pollutant emission of acommercial SI engine using ethanol–gasoline blended fuels with various blended rates (0%, 5%, 10%, 20%, 30%). Fuelproperties of ethanol–gasoline blended fuels were first examined by the standard ASTM methods. Results showed thatwith increasing the ethanol content, the heating value of the blended fuels is decreased, while the octane number of theblended fuels increases. It was also found that with increasing the ethanol content, the Reid vapor pressure of theblended fuels initially increases to a maximum at 10% ethanol addition, and then decreases. Results of the engine testindicated that using ethanol–gasoline blended fuels, torque output and fuel consumption of the engine slightly increase;CO and HC emissions decrease dramatically as a result of the leaning effect caused by the ethanol addition; and CO
2
emission increases because of the improved combustion. Finally, it was noted that NO
x
emission depends on the engineoperating condition rather than the ethanol content.
r
2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords:
Alternative fuels; Ethanol; Engine performance; Pollutant emission preface
1. Preface
Alcohol has been used as a fuel for auto-engines since19th century, however, it is not widely used because of its high price. As a fuel for spark-ignition engines,alcohol (methanol, ethanol) has some advantages overgasoline, such as better anti-knock characteristics andthe reduction of CO and UHC emissions. Althoughhaving these advantages, due to limitation in technol-ogy, economic and regional considerations, alcohol fuelstill cannot be used extensively. Since ethanol can befermented and distilled from biomasses, it can beconsidered as a renewable energy. Under the environ-mental consideration, using ethanol blended with gaso-line is better than methanol because of its renewabilityand less toxicity. Based on economic and environmentalconsiderations in Taiwan, we are interested in studyingthe effects of ethanol contents in the ethanol–gasolineblended fuel on the engine performance and pollutantemission of a commercial SI engine.
2. Literature review
Alcohol, such as methanol (CH
3
OH) or ethanol(C
2
H
5
OH), is a pure substance. However, gasoline iscomposed of C4–C12 hydrocarbons, and has widertransitional properties. The alcohol contains an oxygenatom so that it can be viewed as a partially oxidizedhydrocarbon. The alcohol is completely miscible withwater in all proportions, while the gasoline and waterare immiscible (Furey and Perry, 1991). This may causethe blended fuel to contain water, and further result inthe corrosion problems on the mechanical components,especially for components made of copper, brass oraluminum. To reduce this problem on fuel deliverysystem, such materials mentioned above should be
*Corresponding author.
E-mail address:
thlin@mail.ncku.edu.tw (T.-H. Lin).1352-2310/02/$-see front matter
r
2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.PII: S1352-2310(01)00508-8
 
avoided (Coelho et al., 1996). Alcohol can react withmost rubber and create jam in the fuel pipe. Therefore, itis advised to use fluorocarbon rubber as a replacementfor rubber (Naegeli et al., 1997). On the combustioncharacteristics, the auto-ignition temperature and flashpoint of alcohol are higher than those of gasoline, whichmakes it safer for transportation and storage. The latentheat of evaporation of alcohol is 3–5 times higher thanthat of gasoline; this makes the temperature of theintake manifold lower, and increases the volumetricefficiency. The heating value of alcohol is lower thanthat of the gasoline. Therefore, we need 1.5–1.8 timesmore alcohol fuel to achieve the same energy output.The stoichiometric air–fuel ratio (AFR) of alcohol isabout 2/3–1/2 that of the gasoline, so the requiredamount of air for complete combustion is lesser foralcohol.Sustaining a clean environment has become animportant issue in an industrialized society. The airpollution caused by automobiles and motorcycles is oneof the important environmental problems to be tackled.Since using ethanol–gasoline blended fuels can ease off the air pollution and the depletion of petroleum fuelssimultaneously, many researchers (Gorse, 1992; Salihand Andrews, 1992; Chandler et al., 1998; and so on)have been devoted to studying the effect of thesealternative fuels on the performance and pollutantemission of an engine. Palmer (1986) used various blendrates of ethanol–gasoline fuels in engine tests. Resultsindicated that 10% ethanol addition increases the enginepower output by 5%, and the octane number can beincreased by 5% for each 10% ethanol added. Abdel-Rahman and Osman (1997) recently had tested 10%,20%, 30% and 40% ethanol of blended fuels in avariable-compression-ratio engine. They found that theincrease of ethanol content increases the octane number,but decreases the heating value. The 10% addition of ethanol had the most obvious effect on increasing theoctane number. Under various compression ratios of engine, the optimum blend rate was found to be 10%ethanol with 90% gasoline.Bata et al. (1989) studied different blend rates of ethanol–gasoline fuels in engines, and found that theethanol could reduce the CO and UHC emissions tosome degree. The reduction of CO emission is appar-ently caused by the wide flammability and oxygenatedcharacteristic of ethanol. In the study of Palmer (1986),he indicated that 10% of ethanol addition to gasolinecould reduce the concentration of CO emission up to30%. Alexandrian and Schwalm (1992) showed that theAFR has great influence on the CO emission. Usingethanol–gasoline blended fuel instead of gasoline alone,especially under fuel-rich conditions, can lower CO andNO
x
emissions. However, studies of Chao et al. (2000)and Rideout et al. (1994) pointed out that usingethanol–gasoline blended fuels increases the emissionof formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and acetone 5.12–13.8times then those from gasoline. Although the emissionof aldehyde will increase when we use ethanol as a fuel,the damage to the environment by the emitted aldehydeis far less than that by the poly-nuclear aromaticsemitted from burning gasoline. Therefore, using higherpercentage of alcohol in blended fuel can make the airquality better (Rice et al., 1991) in comparison withgasoline.From the literature review, we understand thatalcohol–gasoline blended fuels can effectively lower thepollutant emission without major modifications to theengine design. Moreover, the ethanol can be made frombiomasses. These factors make it appealing to us inTaiwan. We therefore use engine test facilities toinvestigate the effects of various blend rates of etha-nol–gasoline fuels on the engine performance andpollutant emission.
3. Experimental apparatus and method
Experimental apparatus includes three major systems,i.e., the engine system, power measurement system andexhaust measurement system. The engine system used inthis experiment is a commercial engine, New SentraGA16DE, which is a 1600cm
3
multi-point injectiongasoline engine with cylinder bore and stroke being 76.0and 88.0mm, respectively, the ports arrangement beingD.O.H.C., and the compression ratio being 9.5. Thesignals of fuel injectors can be acquired and adjusted bythe CONSULT, which is an engine tester and diagnostictool. The fuel injection rate can be adjusted
7
25% inthe open-loop control. Results of the open-loop controlrelated to the ethanol–gasoline blended fuel will bereported in the near future. However, in this experiment,the closed-loop control is chosen instead of the open-loop control. In the closed-loop control, the on-boardcentral unit controls the fuel injection strategy withfeedback signal from the oxygen sensor placed in theexhaust pipe. By using closed-loop control, we caninvestigate the effect of ethanol addition on the engineperformance and pollutant emission under the originalfuel injection strategy. The engine output power ismetered by the eddy-current dynamometer made byBORGHI & SAVERI (FE60-100-150 Series). In theexperiment, the concentration of CO, CO
2
and HC inthe exhaust gas are measured on-line by the analyzer of UREX-5000-4T with pre-calibration. The AFR and air– fuel equivalence ratio
ð
l
Þ
can be calculated simulta-neously by the UREX-5000-4T according to thecompositions of the exhaust. The ZFR-2000 infrareddetector measures the concentration of NO
x
. The on-line sampling of exhaust gas is taken in the extensionsection of the exhaust pipe without the catalyticconverter, as illustrated in Fig. 1. Due to the pulsed
W.-D. Hsieh et al. / Atmospheric Environment 36 (2002) 403–410
404
 
characteristics of the engine, we always take 10measurements to average the data for each operatingcondition.The selected operation conditions for this experimentare as follows: the engine speeds are at 1000, 2000, 3000and 4000rpm; throttle valves are at 0%, 20%, 40%,60%, 80% and 100% (wide open throttle, WOT)opening. With these operation conditions, we can havea full understanding of the effects of the ethanol additionon the engine performance and pollutant emission.Engine operating conditions (throttle valve opening,engine speed, fuel type), torque output, fuel consump-tion rate, intake air quantity and concentrations of NO
x
,CO, CO
2
, HC emissions are recorded for furtheranalysis.
4. Results and discussions
4.1. Properties of ethanol–gasoline blended fuels
Various blend rates of ethanol–gasoline fuels (E0, E5,E10, E20, E30) have been prepared and then sent to theChina Petroleum Corp. for ASTM standard analysis.The ‘‘E’’ designates ethanol and the number next to Edesignates the volume percentage of ethanol. The E5means that 5% ethanol (99.9% purity) was blended with95% gasoline by volume.From the results of the ASTM analysis, some of thecombustion-related properties have been summarized inTable 1. Table 1 shows the variations of Reid vaporpressure (RVP), research octane number (RON) and theheating value as a function of different blend rates of ethanol–gasoline blended fuels. Table 1 indicates thatwith increasing the ethanol content, the RVP increasesto reach a maximum at E10, and then decreases. Thisresult coincides with that of Aulich et al. (1994). Pureethanol has a RON at
E
105. Therefore, the RONincreases monotonically with the increase of ethanolcontent, as shown in Table 1. The heating value of ethanol is lower than that of gasoline. Table 1 furtherindicates that the heating value of the blended fuelwill decrease with the increase of the ethanol content.Table 1 also presents the variations on distillation tem-peratures of different ethanol–gasoline blended fuels,including the initial boiling temperature (IBP), 10%,50%, 90% distillation temperatures and final distillationtemperature. It can be observed that the IBP, 10%, 90%and final distillation temperatures are almost indepen-dent of the ethanol content, while the 50% distillationtemperature is decreased with the increase of ethanolcontent until 10% ethanol addition. Since the boilingtemperature of ethanol is about 75
1
C, and the boilingtemperature of gasoline is 25–230
1
C, it is suspected thatthe decrease of the 50% distillation temperature couldbe related to the evaporation of ethanol.
4.2. Engine test of ethanol–gasoline blended fuels
Ethanol contains an oxygen atom in its basic form; ittherefore can be treated as a partially oxidized hydro-carbon. When ethanol is added to the blended fuel, itcan provide more oxygen for the combustion processand leads to the so-called ‘‘leaning effect’’
1
. Owing to theleaning effect, CO emission will decrease tremendously;HC and NO
x
emissions will also decrease under someoperating conditions. In this section, the effects of theblended fuels on the engine performance and pollutantemission are the main issues and will be discussed indetail.
4.2.1. Torque output
Fig. 2 shows the torque output of the test engine usingdifferent blended fuels under various throttle valveopenings. The figure is divided into 4 plots, which standfor the torque output at the engine speeds of 1000, 2000,3000 and 4000rpm, respectively. For a fixed enginespeed, a higher throttle opening can provide more fuelfor burning, i.e. more energy input. Therefore, thetorque output is increased with the increase of thethrottle valve opening. It also seems that the torqueoutput of the engine is quite insensitive to the variationof the blend rate of ethanol–gasoline fuels. However, thetorque output of pure gasoline (E0) is slightly lower thanthose of E5–E30, especially for low throttle valveopenings (e.g., 20%) or high engine speeds (e.g.,4000rpm). Under the conditions of low throttle valveopenings or high engine speeds, the original fuelinjection strategy tends to operate the engine in fuel-
Exhaust
Exhaust ProbeOrifice
Fig. 1. Illustration of the emission measurement location.
1
The original fuel injection strategy controlled by the ECU isset based on the use of pure gasoline. The stoichiometric air– fuel ratio for pure gasoline is 14.7 approximately, and that forthe blended fuel should be
o
14.7. The amount of intake airremains constant, when the engine speed and the throttle valveopening are kept the same. However, according to the controlbase of gasoline, the ECU must reduce the fuel supply toachieve the stoichiometric air–fuel ratio being 14.7, whenethanol is added. This ultimately makes the air–fuel mixture of the ethanol–gasoline blended fuel go leaner. The oxygen inethanol gives an additional assistance to achieve lean burning inthe engine.
W.-D. Hsieh et al. / Atmospheric Environment 36 (2002) 403–410
405

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