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Performance and emissions characteristics of Jatropha oil

Performance and emissions characteristics of Jatropha oil

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Performance and emissions characteristics of Jatropha oil(preheated and blends) in a direct injection compression ignition engine
Deepak Agarwal
, Avinash Kumar Agarwal
Environmental Engineering and Management Program, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, Kanpur 208 016, India
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, Kanpur 208 016, India
Received 2 July 2006; accepted 9 January 2007Available online 26 January 2007
The scarce and rapidly depleting conventional petroleum resources have promoted research for alternative fuels for internal combus-tion engines. Among various possible options, fuels derived from triglycerides (vegetable oils/animal fats) present promising ‘‘greener’’substitutes for fossil fuels. Vegetable oils, due to their agricultural origin, are able to reduce net CO
emissions to the atmosphere alongwith import substitution of petroleum products. However, several operational and durability problems of using straight vegetable oils indiesel engines reported in the literature, which are because of their higher viscosity and low volatility compared to mineral diesel fuel.In the present research, experiments were designed to study the effect of reducing Jatropha oil’s viscosity by increasing the fuel tem-perature (using waste heat of the exhaust gases) and thereby eliminating its effect on combustion and emission characteristics of theengine. Experiments were also conducted using various blends of Jatropha oil with mineral diesel to study the effect of reduced blendviscosity on emissions and performance of diesel engine. A single cylinder, four stroke, constant speed, water cooled, direct injectiondiesel engine typically used in agricultural sector was used for the experiments. The acquired data were analyzed for various parameterssuch as thermal efficiency, brake specific fuel consumption (BSFC), smoke opacity, CO
, CO and HC emissions. While operating theengine on Jatropha oil (preheated and blends), performance and emission parameters were found to be very close to mineral dieselfor lower blend concentrations. However, for higher blend concentrations, performance and emissions were observed to be marginallyinferior.
2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Jatropha; Bio-fuels; Straight vegetable oils; Blending; Preheating; Performance and emission characteristics
1. Introduction
Diesel engines are the most efficient prime movers. Fromthe point of view of protecting global environment andconcerns for long-term energy security, it becomes neces-sary to develop alternative fuels with properties compara-ble to petroleum based fuels. Unlike rest of the world,India’s demand for diesel fuels is roughly six times thatof gasoline hence seeking alternative to mineral diesel is anatural choice[1].Alternative fuels should be easily available at low cost,be environment friendly and fulfill energy security needswithout sacrificing engine’s operational performance. Forthe developing countries, fuels of bio-origin provide a fea-sible solution to the twin crises of fossil fuel depletion andenvironmental degradation. Now bio-fuels are getting arenewed attention because of global stress on reductionof green house gases (GHGs) and clean development mech-anism (CDM). The fuels of bio-origin may be alcohol, veg-etable oils, biomass, and biogas. Some of these fuels can beused directly while others need to be formulated to bringthe relevant properties close to conventional fuels. For die-sel engines, a significant research effort has been directedtowards using vegetable oils and their derivatives as fuels.
1359-4311/$ - see front matter
2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.doi:10.1016/j.applthermaleng.2007.01.009
Corresponding author. Tel.: +91 512 2597982; fax: +91 512 2597408.
E-mail address:
akag@iitk.ac.in(A.K. Agarwal).
Applied Thermal Engineering 27 (2007) 2314–2323
Vegetable oils have comparable energy density, cetanenumber, heat of vaporization, and stoichiometric air/fuelratio with mineral diesel. In addition, they are biodegrad-able, non-toxic, and have a potential to significantly reducepollution. Vegetable oils and their derivatives in dieselengines lead to substantial reductions in emissions of sulfuroxides, carbon monoxide (CO), poly aromatic hydrocar-bons (PAH), smoke, particulate matter (PM) and noise[2–5]. Furthermore, contribution of bio-fuels to greenhouseeffect is insignificant, since carbon dioxide (CO
) emittedduring combustion is recycled in the photosynthesis pro-cess in the plants[3,6,7].Vegetable oils mainly contain triglycerides (90% to 98%)and small amounts of mono- and di-glycerides. Triglycer-ides contain three fatty acid molecules and a glycerol mol-ecule. They contain significant amounts of oxygen. Thefatty acids vary in their carbon chain length and numberof double bonds present in their molecular structure. Veg-etable oils contain free fatty acids (generally 1–5%), phos-pholipids, phosphatides, carotenes, tocopherols, sulfurcompounds and traces of water. Commonly found fattyacids in vegetable oils are stearic, palmitic, oleic, linoleicand linolenic acid. Vegetable oils can be produced evenon a small scale for on-farm utilization to run tractors,pumps and small engines for power generation/irrigation.Suitability of vegetable oils as fuels for diesel enginesdepends on their physical, chemical and combustion char-acteristics as well as the type of engine used and operatingconditions[8].Vegetable oils can be used directly or blended with dieselto operate compression ignition engines. Use of blends of vegetableoilswithdieselhasbeenexperimentedsuccessfullyby various researchers in several countries[9–13]. Caterpil-lar (Brazil) used pre-combustion chamber engines with ablend of 10% vegetable oil while maintaining same poweroutput without any engine modifications[9]. It has beenreported that use of 100% vegetable oil is also possible withminorfuelsystemmodifications[14].Short-termengineper-formance tests have indicated good potential for most vege-tableoilsasfuel. Theuseofvegetableoilresultsinincreasedvolumetric fuel consumption and BSFC[15]. Emissions of CO, HC and SO
were found to be higher, whereas NO
and particulate emission were lower compared to diesel[16–20]. Some studies reported lower exhaust emissionsincluding PAHs and PM[14,21].However, long-term endurance tests reported someengine durability issues related to vegetable oil utilizationsuch as severe engine deposits, piston ring sticking, injectorcoking, gum formation and lubricating oil thickening[22– 24]. These problems are primarily attributed to high viscos-ity and poor volatility of straight vegetable oils due to largemolecular weight and bulky molecular structure. High vis-cosity of vegetable oils (30–200 cSt @ 40
C) as comparedto mineral diesel (4 cSt @ 40
C) lead to unsuitable pump-ing and fuel spray characteristics. Larger size fuel dropletsare injected from injector nozzle instead of a spray of finedroplets, leading to inadequate air-fuel mixing. Poor atom-ization, lower volatility, and inefficient mixing of fuel withair contributes to incomplete combustion. This results in anincrease in higher particulate emissions, combustion cham-ber deposits, gum formations and unburned fuel in thelubricating oil.Since straight vegetable oils are not suitable as fuels fordiesel engines, they have to be modified to bring their com-bustion related properties closer to diesel. This fuel modifi-cation is mainly aimed at reducing the viscosity toeliminate flow/atomization related problems. Four tech-niques can be used to reduce the viscosity of vegetable oils;namely heating/pyrolysis, dilution/blending, micro-emul-sion, and transesterification[25–28].Undoubtedly, transesterification is well accepted andbest suited method of utilizing vegetable oils in CI enginewithout significant long-term operational and durabilityissues. However, this adds extra cost of processing becauseof the transesterification reaction involving chemical andprocess heat inputs. In rural and remote areas of develop-ing countries, where grid power is not available, vegetableoils can play a vital role in decentralized power generationfor irrigation and electrification. In these remote areas, dif-ferent types of vegetable oils are grown/produced locallybut it may not be possible to chemically process themdue to logistics problems in rural settings. Hence usingheated or blended vegetable oils as petroleum fuel substi-tutes is an attractive proposition. Keeping these facts inmind, a set of engine experiments were conducted usingJatropha oil on a engine, which is typically used for agricul-ture, irrigation and decentralised electricity generation.Heating and blending were used to lower the viscosity of Jatropha oil in order to eliminate various operationaldifficulties.
1.1. Jatropha curcas
It is a non-edible oil being singled out for large-scaleplantation on wastelands.
J. curcas
plant can thrive underadverse conditions. It is a drought-resistant, perennialplant, living up to fifty years and has capability to growon marginal soils. It requires very little irrigation andgrows in all types of soils (from coastline to hill slopes).Fig. 1shows a typical Jatropha plant growing on rocksin mountainous regions. The production of Jatropha seedsis about 0.8 kg per square meter per year[29]. The oil con-tent of Jatropha seed ranges from 30% to 40% by weightand the kernel itself ranges from 45% to 60%[10,30]. FreshJatropha oil is slow-drying, odorless and colorless oil, butit turns yellow after aging[10].The only limitation of this crop is that the seeds are toxicand the press cake can not be used as animal fodder. Thepress cake can only be used as organic manure. The factthat Jatropha oil can not be used for nutritional purposeswithout detoxification makes its use as energy/fuel sourcevery attractive. In Madagascar, Cape Verde and Benin,Jatropha oil was used as mineral diesel substitute duringthe Second World War[31,32]. Forson et al. used Jatropha
D. Agarwal, A.K. Agarwal / Applied Thermal Engineering 27 (2007) 2314–2323
oil and diesel blends in compression ignition engines andfound its performance and emissions characteristics similarto that of mineral diesel at low concentration of Jatrophaoil in blends[11]. Pramanik[10]tried to reduce viscosity of Jatropha oil by heating it and also blending it with min-eral diesel.The present research is aimed at exploring technicalfeasibility of Jatropha oil in direct injection compressionignition engine without any substantial hardware modi-fications.
2. Experimental setup
A naturally aspirated direct injection diesel engine ismore sensitive to fuel quality. The main problem of usingJatropha oil in unmodified form in diesel engine is its highviscosity. Therefore, it is necessary to reduce the fuel vis-cosity before injecting it in the engine. High viscosity of Jatropha oil can be reduced by heating the oil using wasteheat of exhaust gases from the engine and also blending theJatropha oil with diesel.Several tests were conducted to characterize Jatropha oilvis-a`-vis diesel in order to compare various physical, chem-ical, and thermal properties. Various procedures followedand the instruments used are given inTable 1[33–36]. Vis- cosity of Jatropha oil and diesel was measured at differenttemperatures to find the effect of temperature on viscosity.Viscosity was also measured for different blends of Jatro-pha oil with diesel to find the effect of blending on viscosity.A typical engine system widely used in the agriculturalsector has been selected for present experimental investiga-tions. A single cylinder, four stroke, constant speed, watercooled, direct injection diesel engine was procured for theexperiments. The technical specifications of the enginesare given inTable 2. The engine operated at a constantspeed of 1500 rpm. Fresh lubricating oil was filled in oilsump before starting the experiments.The engine is coupled with a single phase, 220 V ACalternator. The alternator is used for loading the enginethrough a resistive load bank. The load bank consists of eight heating coils (1000 W each). A variac was connectedto one of the heating coils so that load can be controlledprecisely by controlling voltage in one of the coils of loadbank. The schematic layout of the experimental setup forthe present investigation is shown inFig. 2.The main components of the experimental setup are twofuel tanks (Diesel and Jatropha oil), fuel conditioning sys-tem, heat exchanger, exhaust gas line, by-pass line, and per-formance and emissions measurement equipment. Two fuelfilters are provided next to the Jatropha oil tank so thatwhen one filter gets clogged, supply of fuel can be switchedover to another filter while the clogged filter can becleaned/replaced without stopping the engine operation.The engine is started with diesel and once the engine warms
Fig. 1.
Jatropha curcas
plant on rocky substrate.Table 1ASTM methods and instrument to measure various propertiesProperty ASTMmethodInstrument ModelDensity and APIgravityD 1298 Hydrometer Petroleuminstruments, IndiaKinematicviscosityD 445 KinematicviscometerSetavis, UKCloud and pourpointD 97 Cloud and pourpoint apparatusPetroleuminstruments, IndiaFlash and firepointD 93 Pensky-Martensclosed cup testerPetroleuminstruments, IndiaConradsoncarbonresidueD 189 Conradson carbonresidue testerPetroleuminstruments, IndiaCaloric value D 240 Bomb calorimeter Parr, UKC, H, N, O, S Elemental analyzer Leeman Labs.,UKTable 2Engine specificationsManufacturer Kirloskar Oil Engine Ltd., IndiaEngine type Vertical, 4-stroke, single cylinder, constant speed,direct injection, water cooled, compression ignitionengineModel DM-10Rated power 7.4 kW at 1500 rpmBore/stroke 102/116 (mm)Displacementvolume0.948 lCompressionratio17.5Start of fuelinjection26
BTDCNozzle openingpressure200–205 barBMEP at1500 rpm6.34 kg/cm
D. Agarwal, A.K. Agarwal / Applied Thermal Engineering 27 (2007) 2314–2323

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