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Energy 69 (2014) 749e759

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Energy
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/energy

An investigation of the engine performance, emissions and


combustion characteristics of coconut biodiesel in a high-pressure
common-rail diesel engine
H.G. How a, *, H.H. Masjuki a, M.A. Kalam a, Y.H. Teoh a, b, *
a
b

Centre for Energy Sciences, Faculty of Engineering, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
School of Mechanical Engineering, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Engineering Campus, 14300 Nibong Tebal, Penang, Malaysia

a r t i c l e i n f o

a b s t r a c t

Article history:
Received 27 February 2013
Received in revised form
21 February 2014
Accepted 18 March 2014
Available online 16 April 2014

An experimental investigation on engine performance, emissions, combustion and vibration characteristics with coconut biodiesel fuels was conducted in a high-pressure common-rail diesel engine under
ve different load operations (0.17, 0.34, 0.52, 0.69 and 0.86 MPa). The test fuels included a conventional
diesel fuel and four different fuel blends of coconut biodiesel (B10, B20, B30 and B50). The results showed
that biodiesel blended fuels have signicant inuences on the BSFC (brake specic fuel consumption)
and BSEC (brake specic energy consumption) at all engine loads. In general, the use of coconut biodiesel
blends resulted in a reduction of BSCO (brake specic carbon monoxide) and smoke emissions regardless
of the load conditions. A large reduction of 52.4% in smoke opacity was found at engine load of 0.86 MPa
engine load with B50. For combustion characteristics, a slightly shorter ignition delay and longer combustion duration were found with the use of biodiesel blends under all loading operations. It was found
that generally the biodiesel blends produced lower peak heat release rate than baseline diesel. The vibration results showed that the largest reduction of 13.7% in RMS (root mean square) of acceleration was
obtained with B50 at engine load of 0.86 MPa with respect to the baseline diesel.
2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords:
Coconut biodiesel
Diesel engine
Combustion
Performance
Emissions
Vibrations

1. Introduction
Today, diesel-powered engines are used worldwide for
transportation, power generation, construction, agriculture,
manufacturing and industry. The use of diesel engines is increasing
rapidly owing to their superior fuel economy, higher efciency,
excellent reliability and lower CO2 emissions. The energy crisis in
fossil fuel reserves, the rising price of diesel, environmental
degradation and global warming highlight the need to develop
clean, sustainable and alternative fuels. Even a small amount of
substitution in total fuel consumption by using alternative fuels
will have a signicant impact on the environment and the economy. Liquid bioenergy production from vegetable oils has gained
great signicance among various alternative fuels because it is a
renewable, non-toxic, sulphur-free, biodegradable and oxygenated
fuel [1e3]. However, the main drawbacks of vegetable oils are their
high viscosity and low volatility properties which lead to an

* Corresponding authors. Tel./fax: 603 79674448.


E-mail addresses: heoygeok@gmail.com (H.G. How), yewhengteoh@gmail.com
(Y.H. Teoh).
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.energy.2014.03.070
0360-5442/ 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

increase in smoke emissions, poor atomisation, incomplete combustion and deposit formations on the injector or cylinder walls
[4,5]. Transesterication of the vegetable oil to form biodiesel can
be employed to reduce the viscosity of the oil and improve other
fuel properties for better combustion efciency [6,7].
Biodiesel is a monoalkyl ester derived from a variety of vegetable oils, animal fats or waste edible oil. Nowadays, biodiesel has
gained international acceptance and has been adopted worldwide
as a substitute for petroleum diesel [8]. For examples, biodiesel fuel
B2 (in a volume fraction of 2% biodiesel blends and 98% diesel) is
available in the USA and Brazil. In France, biodiesel is used in a
volume fraction of 5% in diesel blends. Furthermore, a variety of
biodiesel blends ratio is mandated in Asia, such as Malaysia (B5),
Thailand (B5), Indonesia (B2.5), Philippines (B2), Taiwan (B2) and
South Korea (B2). For example, as one of the main palm oil producer, Malaysian government has introduced and implemented B5
mandate which is 5% of palm oil methyl ester in diesel fuel in
selected fuel station and regions of the country since mid 2011. It is
predicted that a higher fraction volume of biodiesel will be introduced and implemented widely in the near future [9e12]. Biodiesel
feedstocks vary in origin depending on the availability of local
feedstock, regional climate, geographic locations and soil

750

H.G. How et al. / Energy 69 (2014) 749e759

Nomenclature and symbol


ASTM
ATDC
B2
B5
B10
B20
B30
B40
B50
BAP
BMEP
BP
BSCO
BSEC
BSFC
BSNOx
BTE
CA
CA10

American Society for Testing and Materials


after top dead centre
2% biodiesel 98% diesel fuel
5% biodiesel 95% diesel fuel
10% biodiesel 90% diesel fuel
20% biodiesel 80% diesel fuel
30% biodiesel 70% diesel fuel
40% biodiesel 60% diesel fuel
50% biodiesel 50% diesel fuel
booster air pressure
brake mean effective pressure
brake power
brake specic carbon monoxide
brake specic energy consumption
brake specic fuel consumption
brake specic nitrogen oxides
brake thermal efciency
crank angle
burn point of 10%

conditions [13]. Soybean is major feedstock for biodiesel production in the USA, while sunower and rapeseed are the main raw
materials for producing biodiesel in Europe. In Asia, palm oil, coconut and Jatropha are the main feedstocks for biodiesel sources.
Due to the distinctions among the fatty acid compositions
within the fuels, the physico-chemical properties of biodiesel
depend on the type of feedstock. In general, biodiesel has a higher
cetane number, viscosity, density and oxygen content than diesel
fuel [14]. It has been reported that the variations in fuel properties,
engine type and engine operating conditions caused marked differences in engine performance, emissions and combustion characteristics. Many investigations of biodiesel fuels have been
conducted in diesel engine equipped with mechanical pump-linenozzle injection system. For example, Suryawanshi [7] conducted
an experiment on the engine performance and emissions of coconut oil biodiesel in a single cylinder, four-stroke, water-cooled
diesel engine equipped with a mechanical individual pump and
nozzle system at 1500 rpm with different engine loads (15%, 30%,
45%, 60%, 75%, 90% and 100% of the rated load). The results indicated that the variation of cylinder gas pressure was similar for
biodiesel and its blends as compared to diesel. The author also
found that there was a signicant reduction of smoke and unburned HC (hydrocarbon) of 42% and 25%, respectively, for neat
coconut oil biodiesel as compared to diesel fuel. Besides, the coconut oil biodiesel leaded to similar NOx levels as compared to
diesel. However, experiments of zener et al. [15] revealed higher
NOx emissions for soybean biodiesel compared to diesel fuel. They
tested soybean biodiesel in a single cylinder, four-stroke, NA (natural aspirated), air-cooled, DI (direct injection) engine equipped
with a mechanical pump-line-nozzle fuel injection system from
1200 to 3000 rpm. In their study, it was found that soybean biodiesel produced shorter ignition delay and the other parameters
such as torque, CO and unburned total hydrocarbon emissions were
reported to be lower than diesel by 1.57e4.7%, 28e46% and 20e
44%, respectively. In contrast, BSFC (brake specic fuel consumption) and CO2 emissions were higher for soybean biodiesel. Puhan
et al. [16] also carried out an experiment to study the performance,
combustion and emissions of three types of biodiesel with different
molecular weights and numbers of double bonds in a single cylinder, four-stroke, air-cooled DI engine equipped with a mechanical

CA50
CA90
CO
CO2
DI
EGR
EGT
GCeFID
HC
HRR
ID
NA
NO
NO2
NOx
NVH
ppm
RMS
rpm
TDC

burn point of 50%


burn point of 90%
carbon monoxide
carbon dioxide
direct injection
exhaust gas recirculation
exhaust gas temperature
gas chromatographeame ionization detector
hydrocarbon
heat release rate
ignition delay
natural aspirated
nitric oxide
nitrogen dioxide
nitrogen oxides
noise, vibration and harshness
part per million
root mean square
revolution per minute
top dead centre
relative airefuel ratio

pump-line-nozzle injection system. The biodiesels were derived


from linseed, Jatropha and coconut oils. The results indicated that
unsaturated biodiesel fuels produced higher HC, CO, NOx, smoke
emissions, exhaust gas temperature, maximum gas pressure and
HRR (heat release rate) compared to highly saturated biodiesel fuel.
It was also found that linseed biodiesel with high unsaturated fatty
acid was not recommended for diesel engine due to its high NOx
emissions and low thermal efciency. Haik et al. [17] successfully
tested third-generation biofuel which is algae oil in a single cylinder, NA, indirect injection Ricardo E6 diesel engine with different
engine parameters such as engine speeds, engine loads, injection
timings and compression ratios. They reported that algae oil biodiesel exhibited similar physico-chemical properties as compared
to diesel fuel. The biodiesel blends produced slightly higher heat
release, more combustion noise (maximum pressure rise rate) but
lower engine torque. On the other hand, it was found that the engine output can be increased by retarding the injection timing and
that the combustion noise can be reduced by decreasing the engine
compression ratio.
Research studies on biodiesel from non-edible oil in the DI
diesel engine equipped with mechanical pump-line-nozzle fuel
injection system were also demonstrated by Chauhan et al. [18].
The study revealed that brake thermal efciency was about 3e5%
lower with Karanja biodiesel and its blends as compared to diesel.
The CO, HC and smoke opacity emissions were reported to be lower
with Karanja biodiesel. In contrast, NOx and CO2 emissions
increased with Karanja biodiesel and its blends. The peak cylinder
pressure and HRR were found to be lower for biodiesel and its
blends. Mojur et al. [19] investigated the performance and emission characteristics of Jatropha biodiesel blends (B10 and B20) in a
single cylinder, four-stroke, NA, DI diesel engine. Compared to
diesel, B10 and B20 produced lower brake power by 4.67% and
8.86%, respectively. It was observed that BSFC increased as the
percentage of biodiesel blends increased. Reduction of HC and CO
emissions was reported with Jatropha biodiesel. However, NOx
emissions were slightly increased by 3% and 6%, respectively using
B10 and B20. Similar engine was also employed by Silitonga et al.
[20] in carrying out their experiment with varying blends of Ceiba
pentandra biodiesel at different engine speed. The results showed
that B10 produced the highest engine torque and lowest BSFC at

H.G. How et al. / Energy 69 (2014) 749e759

1900 rpm with full throttle condition as compared to diesel and


other biodiesel blends. In terms of exhaust emissions, CO, HC and
smoke opacity were reduced for all Ceiba pentandra biodiesel
blends. However, higher NOx and CO2 emissions were reported
with all biodiesel blends.
Biodiesel fuelled in the engine equipped with high-pressure
common-rail injection system has been an interesting research
topic recently. An et al. [21] have experimentally investigated pure
waste cooking oil biodiesel and its blends of 10%, 20% and 50% in a
four-stroke, four-cylinder, water-cooled, high-pressure commonrail fuel injection diesel engine under various loads. As expected,
BSFC of biodiesel was reported higher than diesel fuel. In fact, the
largest increase in BSFC was found at 10% load by 28.1%. The reported results revealed that biodiesel resulted in an improved BTE
(brake thermal efciency) at higher engine loads but reduced BTE
at lower engine loads. It was observed that the cylinder pressure
decreased slightly with the use of biodiesel at all engine loads. The
CO emissions are found to be increased with the increase of biodiesel blend ratio and the decreased of engine speed. However, an
opposite trend was observed at higher engine load. Qi et al. [22]
studied the impact of biodiesel derived from soybean oil in a sixcylinder, four-stroke, DI engine equipped with a common-rail fuel
injection system at the different EGR (exhaust gas recirculation)
rates and main injection timings. They reported that operating the
engine with higher EGR rate and retarded main injection timing
can effectively reduce NOx emissions without signicant penalties
in soot emission and BSFC.
Nonetheless, there are very limited studies that were done to
investigate the impact of biodiesel on engine vibration characteristics. For instance, Chiatti et al. [23] have carried out a study to
evaluate the vibration characteristics in a two-cylinder, watercooled, common-rail diesel engine fuelled with different biodiesel
blends (B10, B20 and B40). The study showed that the vibration
signals can be used as a real time management and feedback to the
control unit to correct the injection parameters setting when the
engine is fuelled with biodiesel fuel. Furthermore, an experiment
study on engine vibration was performed by Taghizadeh-Alisaraei
et al. [24] in a four-stroke, six-cylinder heavy-duty diesel engine
with biodiesel blends and diesel fuels from 1000 to 2200 rpm. The
conditions of engine vibration were compared before and after the
engine services. They reported that the total vibration values were
reduced signicantly after servicing the engine by 12% and most of
vibration accelerations rising were between 1800 and 2000 rpm.
The experiments demonstrated that B40 and B20 have the lowest
engine vibration with 45.02 and 46.06 m2/s, respectively as
compared to diesel.
Among the topics discussed above, there are very limited literature focussing on the impact of biodiesel blends in an engine
equipped with high-pressure common-rail injection system and
pinpointed their effect on the engine performance, emissions,
combustion and vibration as a whole. Therefore, the main objective
of the present paper is to entirely compare the performance,
emissions, combustion and vibration characteristics of a mediumduty high-pressure common-rail injection engine fuelled with
diesel and coconut biodiesel blended fuels, aiming for a better
understanding of the inuences of biodiesel fuels on engine performance, emissions, combustion and vibration characteristics in
high-pressure common-rail injection system. The test was conducted under ve different load operations (0.17, 0.34, 0.52, 0.69
and 0.86 MPa engine load) and at constant speed of 2000 rpm.
Parameters such as BSFC, BSEC (brake specic energy consumption), BSCO (brake specic carbon monoxide) and BSNOx (brake
specic nitrogen oxides), EGT (exhaust gas temperature), smoke
opacity, peak pressure, peak of heat release and vibration analysis
were investigated and evaluated.

751

Table 1
Specications of tested diesel engine.
Engine type
Fuel system
Number of cylinders
Number of valves per cylinder
Bore
Stroke
Displacement
Compression Ratio
Maximum power
Maximum torque
Catalytic converter

Diesel, four strokes, turbocharged, DI


High-pressure common-rail (up to 140 MPa)
4
2
76.0 mm
80.5 mm
1461 cm3
18.25:1
48 kW @ 4000 rpm
160 Nm @ 2000 rpm
No

2. Methodology
The experimental work was carried out with a four-cylinder,
turbocharged, high-pressure common-rail diesel engine. A
150 kW eddy current engine dynamometer was used to maintain
the variation of loads at different speeds and loads. The intake
airow was measured using a Bosch air mass sensor (model no.
0280212022). In addition, a Kobold fuel ow meter was employed
to measure the fuel consumption of the engine. Temperature values
of ambient air, exhaust gas, lubricant oil and cooling water were
measured by using K-type thermocouples. The specications of the
test engine are given in Table 1. The schematic diagram of the
experiment setup is shown in Fig. 1.
To carry out the combustion analysis, the cylinder pressure was
measured with a Kistler 6058A piezoelectric sensor and its signal
was recorded with a high speed data acquisition system. The
pressure sensor was mounted in the head of the rst cylinder by
means of a glow plug adaptor. The charge signal from the pressure
sensor was amplied by a Kistler charge amplier. The encoder
angle was set to 0.125  crank angle (CA) resolution by using a Leine
& Linde incremental encoder. In each test, cylinder pressure values
for 100 consecutive cycles were recorded and averaged. For emissions characterisation, the exhaust emissions and smoke opacity
were measured using an AVL DICOM 4000 5-gas analyser and an
AVL DiSmoke 4000 portable opacity smoke meter analyser,
respectively. A Bosch BEA 350 gas analyser was specically used to
measure CO emissions. This is necessary as the exhaust CO concentration of the engine is below the detection limit of the AVL gas
analyser.
To carry out engine vibration measurements, an accelerometer
(PCB model 603C01) with calibrated sensitivity to a 95 mV/g and
50 g measurement range was used. This rugged accelerometer is
capable of performing over a wide frequency range of 0.5e
10,000 Hz. Engine vibration motion in the lateral (y) axis (or
perpendicular to cylinder axis) was chosen for vibration monitoring

Fig. 1. Schematic diagram of the experiment setup.

752

H.G. How et al. / Energy 69 (2014) 749e759

When the engine was fuelled with biodiesel blended fuels, the
engine ran satisfactorily throughout the entire tests at room temperature and there were no starting difculties. No modications
were made to the test engine for all tests and the tests were performed under steady-state condition with sufciently warmed up
exhaust gas and water coolant temperature. For enhanced accuracy,
each test point was repeated twice to yield the average reading. The
repeatability is matched over 96% for each test. This indicates that
effects on emissions, combustion and vibration characteristics can
be reliably analysed from this test system.
Fig. 2. Accelerometer transducer mounted on cylinder block and located in between
cylinder 2 and 3.

3. Calculation methods
3.1. Engine performance

and the mounting location as shown in Fig. 2. To sense the vibration


magnitude in this direction, the accelerometer was mounted on the
engine body with an adhesive mounting base. The output signal
from the sensor was connected to a constant current singlechannel signal conditioner (PCB model 480C02) with unity gain.
In each test, engine block vibration signals for a total of 100
consecutive combustion cycles at 0.125  CA resolution were
recorded for the calculation of averaged RMS (root mean square).
In this study, the effect of the variation in two parameters, the
concentration of biodiesel in the blend (i.e. 0%, 10%, 20%, 30% and
50% proportions by volume) and engine load (i.e. 0.17, 0.34, 0.52,
0.69 and 0.86 MPa) on engine-out responses were investigated. All
tests were conducted under constant speed of 2000 rpm. The grade
D2 diesel was used in this study for baseline comparison. The
biodiesel was derived from coconut oil and the fatty acid composition of the biodiesel is shown in Table 2. It was noticed that the
mass fraction of saturated (no carbon double bonds) and unsaturated (1e3 double bonds) fatty acid content in the coconut biodiesel is 84.97% and 15.03%, respectively. Biodiesels with higher
saturated fatty acids benet in terms of higher cetane (ignition
quality) numbers and increased fuel stability [16]. Table 3 shows
the details of the fuel properties of the diesel and biodiesel blends.
For each of the biodiesel blends, the denoted BXX represents a
blend with XX% of coconut biodiesel content, that is, B10 is 10%
coconut biodiesel, 90% diesel fuel.
Table 2
Fatty acid composition of coconut biodiesel.
Properties

Test method

Carbon chain length distribution


(wt.%)

AOAC 996.06
(GC-FID)

Saturated fatty acid


C8:0 (Caprylic)
C10:0 (Capric)
C12:0 (Lauric)
C14:0 (Myristic)
C16:0 (Palmitic)
C18:0 (Stearic)

Coconut
biodiesel

Diesel

The engine performance in this work is evaluated based on BSFC


and BSEC. The BSFC and BSEC were determined and calculated
according to the following equations:

BSFC

Fuel Consumption
Output Power

(1)

BSEC

Higher Calorific Value  Fuel Consumption


Output Power

(2)

3.2. HRR analysis


The analysis of HRR provides valuable insights into the rate of
heat release during the combustion process. The results would
facilitate assessment of the rate of combustion and combustionrelated problems. In the present study, the HRR is calculated
based on the cylinder pressure and volume measurements. The
HRR formula, as given in Eq. (3), is derived from the rst law of
thermodynamics. For simplication purposes, leakage and heat
transfer to the wall are assumed to be negligible and were excluded
during the derivation of this equation.

g
dQ
dV
1
dP
P
V

g  1 dq g  1 dq
dq

(3)

where dQ/dq is the HRR per crank angle, q is the crank angle, P is the
pressure, V is the cylinder volume, and g is the specic ratio which
is taken to be 1.37.
3.3. Vibration analysis

7.55
5.84
41.39
15.16
11.14
3.89

e
e
e
e
e
e
e

In the present study, the engine vibrations of different types of


biodiesel blends were compared with the baseline diesel engine at
different engine loads. The averaged RMS of the acceleration signal
was determined using the following equation:

arms

2
3

0v
, 1
u N
n
uX
16X
7
@t
4
ai N A 5
n j1
i1

(4)

Monounsaturated fatty acid


C18:1 (Oleic)

11.79

Polyunsaturated fatty acid


C18:2 (Linoleic)

3.24

84.97/15.03

Property

Units

55.9
866.8
4.10
38.10

52
840.0
3.51
45.31

Higher caloric
value
Density at 40  C
Kinematic viscosity
at 40  C

MJ/kg

44.55

43.89

43.12

41.66

ASTM D4809

kg/m3
mm2/s

840.7
3.73

843.1
3.74

845.9
3.76

851.4
3.83

ASTM D7042
ASTM D7042

Fatty acid saturation/unsaturation


ratio (wt.%/wt.%)
Cetane index
Density (40  C), kg/m3
Kinematic viscosity, mm2/s
Higher caloric value, MJ/kg

ASTM
ASTM
ASTM
ASTM

D976
D7042
D7042
D4809

Table 3
The fuel properties of biodiesel blends.
B10

B20

B30

B50

Test method

H.G. How et al. / Energy 69 (2014) 749e759

753

Table 4
List of measurement accuracy and percentage uncertainties.
Measurement

Measurement range

Accuracy

Measurement techniques

% Uncertainty

Load
Speed
Time
Fuel ow measurement
Airow measurement
CO
NOx
Smoke
EGT sensor
Pressure sensor
Crank angle encoder
Accelerometer

600 Nm
0e10,000 rpm
e
0.5e36 L/h
0.25e7.83 kg/min
0e10% by vol.
0e5000 ppm
0e100%
0e1200  C
0e25,000 kPa
0e12,000 rpm
490 m/s2

0.1 Nm
1 rpm
0.1 s
0.04 L/h
0.07 kg/min
0.001%
1 ppm
0.1%
0.3  C
10 kPa
0.125
5 m/s2

Strain gauge type load cell


Magnetic pick up type
e
Positive displacement gear wheel ow meter
Hot-wire air-mass meter
Non-dispersive infrared
Electrochemical
Photodiode detector
Type K thermocouple
Piezoelectric crystal type
Incremental optical encoder
Piezoelectric shear mode accelerometer

0.25
0.1
0.2
0.5
2
1
1.3
1
0.15
0.5
0.03
1

Computed
Brake power
BSFC
BSEC
BSCO
BSNOx

e
e
e
e
e

0.03 kW
5 g/kWh
0.2 MJ/kWh
0.05 g/kWh
0.1 g/kWh

e
e
e
e
e

0.3
1.5
1.5
0.7
2.5

where arms is the average RMS value for the acceleration signal, n is
the total of the engine combustion cycles, j is the number of combustion cycles, ai is the instantaneous acceleration value in the
angle domain signal at point i and N is the total sample number
within one cycle.
3.4. Statistical and equipment uncertainty analysis
In any experiment, errors and uncertainties can arise from instrument selection, condition, calibration, environment, observation, reading and test procedure. The measurement range, accuracy
and percentage uncertainties which associated with the instruments used in this experiment are listed in Table 4. Uncertainty
analysis is necessary to verify the accuracy of the experiments.
Percentage uncertainties of various parameters such as BP (brake
power), BSFC, BSEC, BSCO and BSNOx were determined using the
percentage uncertainties of various instruments employed in the
experiment. To compute the overall percentage uncertainty due to
the combined effect of the uncertainties of various variables, the
principle of propagation of errors is considered and can be estimated as 3.7%. The overall experimental uncertainty was
computed as follows:

shown in Fig. 3. It was noted that when the engine operated with
different type of fuels, slight variation (4.6% max. with B50 at
0.86 MPa of engine load) in fuel rail injection pressure with respect
to baseline diesel was observed. This is mainly due to the difference
in caloric value of the fuels. The stock electronic control unit in
this test engine does not have the possibility of detecting the difference in fuel properties. As a result, a greater amount of fuel is
being injected into the engine cylinder to attain the same power
output which causes the higher fuel delivery and thus increased rail
pressures.
4.1. Impact of coconut biodiesel blends on engine performance
The variations in BSFC relative to the baseline diesel for different
engine loads in terms of BMEP (brake mean effective pressure) are
presented in Fig. 4. With the substitution of coconut biodiesel in the
fuel, the general trend indicates that the BSFC of biodiesel is
consistently higher than that of baseline diesel regardless of engine
load. A similar trend was observed by Sayin and Gumus [25] that
the BSFC generally increased with the increase in the biodiesel
blending ratio in the fuel blend. It is mainly due to the combined
effects of the higher density, higher kinematic viscosity and the

h
Overall experimental uncertainty Square root of uncertainty of fuel flow rate2 uncertainty of BP2
uncertainty of BSFC2 uncertainty of BSEC2 uncertainty of BSCO2
uncertainty of BSNOx 2 uncertainty of EGT2 uncertainty of smoke2
uncertainty of pressure sensor2 uncertainty of crank angle encoder2
i
h
uncertainty of accelerometer2 Square root of 0:52 0:32 1:52 1:52
i
0:72 2:52 0:152 12 0:52 0:032 12 3:7%

4. Results and discussions


In this study, the common-rail diesel engine was operated under
constant speed of 2000 rpm and at ve different engine loads (i.e.
0.17, 0.34, 0.52, 0.69 and 0.86 MPa) with coconut biodiesel. The fuel
rail injection pressure for various engine loads and fuel blends is

lower caloric value of biodiesel blends causing the BSFC to increase. As a result, more biodiesel blends are required to produce
the same power output due to their lower caloric value and higher
density in comparison to diesel. The result implies that the variation in BSFC is more prominent and higher with the increase in the
biodiesel blending ratio under all loading conditions. For instance,

H.G. How et al. / Energy 69 (2014) 749e759

90.0

BMEP (MPa)

Diesel
B10
B20
B30
B50

85.0
80.0
75.0

0.0

70.0
65.0
60.0
55.0
50.0

0.34

0.52

0.69

0.86

-1.0
-1.5
-2.0
-2.5
-3.0

0.17

0.17

-0.5
% Change in BSEC

Fuel Rail Injection Pressure (MPa)

754

0.34

0.52
BMEP (MPa)

0.69

0.86

-3.5

B10
B20
B30
B50

Fig. 5. The change in BSEC with the coconut biodiesel blends compared to diesel fuel.
Fig. 3. Variations in fuel rail injection pressure for diesel and biodiesel blends at
different engine loads.

the BSFC of B10, B20, B30 and B50 at 0.34 MPa are higher by 0.8%,
2.1%, 3.5% and 7%, respectively, as compared with the baseline
diesel.
Fig. 5 represents the BSEC for different biodiesel blends at
various engine loads. BSEC is also used to compare the efciency of
energy consumption of fuels, however, it is a more scientically
rational parameter compared to BSFC in analysing the engine performance of fuels with different caloric values. From the results, it
can be observed that biodiesel blends have consistently produce
lower BSEC under all loading conditions compared to baseline
diesel. For instance, the reduction in BSEC for B10, B20, B30 and B50
are 0.5%, 0.7%, 1.8% and 3.3%, respectively, compared to diesel fuel at
engine load of 0.86 MPa. It proves that the energy consumption of
biodiesel blends is more efcient than the baseline diesel under all
loading conditions. This can be attributed to the increased availability of fuel-bound oxygen content in biodiesel blends which
promotes better combustion efciency. Besides, the result also reveals that the variation in BSEC is more prominent and higher with
the increases in biodiesel concentration in the blend under all
loading conditions.

4.2. Impact of coconut biodiesel blends on exhaust emissions


CO is the product of the incomplete combustion of the fuels. It is
an extremely toxic and dangerous gas because it inhibits the

B10

B20

B30

18

B50

16
14

6
BSCO (g/kWhr)

% Change in BSFC

bloods ability to carry oxygen to body tissue and causes fatal


poisoning. The variation in BSCO emissions of the engine with
different engine loads and fuel types is illustrated in Fig. 6. It is
observed that the trend of BSCO emissions is signicantly affected
by the engine load setting and biodiesel blending ratio. High fuelborne oxygen content in coconut biodiesel plays a key role in
reducing CO emissions. Generally, it is observed that BSCO emissions decrease with the increase in the biodiesel blending ratio. The
results of CO emissions are in agreement with most of the literature
[15,26,27]. This is due to the oxygen enrichment in biodiesel promoting more complete combustion in the engine [25,28]. The BSCO
emissions at high engine load of 0.86 MPa decreased by 2.8%, 4.5%,
23.7% and 36.7% for B10, B20, B30 and B50, respectively, compared
to the diesel fuel. Another observation is that the BSCO emissions at
low load condition are generally higher compared to high load
conditions regardless of the fuel used. This is largely due to the
better airefuel mixing process, as a result of the higher turbocharger booster air pressure at higher engine load, and thus
decreasing the BSCO emissions. Another explanation is due to the
airefuel ratio is too lean for complete combustion at low load
condition, and thus leads to the higher in BSCO emissions. The
relative airefuel ratio (l) for various engine loads and fuel types is
shown in Fig. 7. Basically, l is dened as the ratio of the actual aire
fuel ratio to that of the stoichiometric airefuel ratio required to
completely burn the fuel delivered. Airefuel ratio of the mixture
affects the combustion phenomenon and the completeness of
combustion especially at the fuel lean zone. In fact, the general
trend indicates that the variations in BSCO emissions are very

5
4
3
2

Diesel
B10
B20
B30
B50

10
8
6
4

1
0

12

0.17

0.34

0.52
BMEP (MPa)

0.69

0.86

Fig. 4. The change in BSFC with the coconut biodiesel blends compared to diesel fuel.

0.17

0.34

0.52
BMEP (MPa)

0.69

0.86

Fig. 6. Variations in BSCO emissions with different engine loads and fuel types.

H.G. How et al. / Energy 69 (2014) 749e759

450

Relative air-fuel ratio ( )

4.0
Diesel
B10
B20
B30
B50

3.5
3.0

2.5
2.0
1.5
1.0
0.5

Exhaust Gas Temperature, EGT (C)

4.5

400

0.17

0.34

0.52
BMEP (MPa)

0.69

Diesel

B10

B20

B30

B50

350
300
250
200
150
100
50
0

0.0

755

0.86

0.17

0.34

0.52
BMEP (MPa)

0.69

0.86

Fig. 7. Variations in relative airefuel ratio (l) with different engine loads and fuel
types.

Fig. 9. Variations in exhaust temperature with different engine loads and fuel types.

similar with the variation in l values. In addition, it appears that


even under high load conditions (i.e. 0.86 MPa of engine load), the l
values are all above 1, indicating a lean combustion process. Besides, the use of biodiesel has created slightly rich combustion
environment. As a result ignition delay becomes shorter, combustion duration increases and combustion gets completed properly,
hence leads to a further decrease in CO emissions.
NOx is an undesirable and harmful emission product and it is
produced during fuel combustion, especially at high combustion
temperatures. In exhaust emissions, NO (nitric oxide) is the predominant NOx emissions, together with a small amount of NO2
(nitrogen dioxide). The formation of NOx depends on the fuel type,
fuel properties and engine operating conditions [29]. In this study,
the BSNOx emissions for all coconut biodiesel blends was found to
be consistently higher compared with baseline diesel fuel across all
engine loads as presented in Fig. 8. For instance, the increases of
BSNOx emissions for B10, B20, B30 and B50 are 9.4%, 11.2%, 13.7%,
and 20.8%, respectively as compared to diesel fuel at mid load
setting of 0.52 MPa. This phenomenon can be associated with the
intrinsic oxygen content (approximately 10e11% by weight) in the
biodiesel samples as reported in the literature [30,31]. This
oxygenated fuel may provide additional oxygen for the formation of
NOx. Besides, the reduction in the heat dissipation by radiation, as a
consequence of the lower amount of soot emitted with the use of
biodiesel (see Fig. 11) could also explain the increase in NOx emissions [32].

The EGT shows the effective heat energy use of a fuel. A higher
EGT is undesirable as it will reduce the conversion of heat energy of
the fuel to generate useful work [33]. The variation in EGT is shown
in Fig. 9. It is observed that the EGT increases with engine load
because more fuel is burnt at higher loads to meet the power
requirement. In general, the EGT of biodiesel blends are lower
compared to baseline diesel. This may suggest that the engine is not
thermally overloaded when operating on biodiesel although more
fuel is injected into the engine cylinder in order to produce the
same power output. Besides, the EGT is lower for higher blends of
biodiesel because of the improved combustion provided by the
biodiesel under all engine loading conditions. In fact, many researchers have also reported that the EGT is lower with the engine
fuelled with biodiesel blended fuel compared to the baseline diesel
[15,21,33,34]. The general causes behind this phenomenon are
mainly due to the lower caloric value and the existence of
chemically bound oxygen of biodiesel blends, which reduces the
total energy released and improves the combustion, respectively.
The EGT was thereafter decreased. This however leads to a
marginally lower BAP (booster air pressure) because of the reduced
energy content in the exhaust gases, as shown in Fig. 10. The
reduction in BAP is not a cause for concern. On the contrary, it
signies that the BAP has moved towards a more ideal value with
the improved combustion in the combustion chamber of the
engine.
The formation of smoke results from the incomplete combustion of the hydrocarbon fuel and the partial reaction of the carbon
170.0

Diesel

B10

B20

B30

B50

Booster Air Pressure, BAP (kPa)

BSNOx (g/kWhr)

6
5
4
3
2
1

160.0
150.0
140.0

130.0
120.0
110.0

0
0.17

0.34

0.52
BMEP (MPa)

0.69

0.86

Fig. 8. Variations in BSNOx emissions with different engine loads and fuel types.

Diesel
B10
B20
B30
B50

0.17

0.34

0.52
BMEP (MPa)

0.69

0.86

Fig. 10. Variations in intake manifold booster air pressure with different engine loads
and fuel types.

756

H.G. How et al. / Energy 69 (2014) 749e759

Diesel

Smoke Opacity (%)

B10

B20

B30

B50

6
5
4
3
2
1
0

0.17

0.34

0.52
BMEP (MPa)

0.69

0.86

Fig. 11. Variations in smoke emissions with different engine loads and fuel types.

content in the liquid fuel [34]. The emission of smoke opacity is


demonstrated in Fig. 11 for different coconut biodiesel fuel blends.
Relating to the effect of biodiesel contents on the smoke opacity, it
was observed that generally the smoke opacity tends to decrease as
the blending ratio of biodiesel in the fuel blend increases. For
example, smoke opacity decreases by 5.4%, 15.1%, 20%, and 52.4% for
B10, B20, B30 and B50, respectively, as compared to diesel fuel at
high load of 0.86 MPa. The reduction of smoke opacity is mainly due
to the high fuel-borne oxygen and lower carbon content in biodiesel, which results in more complete combustion and restricts
the formation of smoke [35].
4.3. Effect of coconut biodiesel blends on combustion and vibration
characteristics
4.3.1. Combustion characteristics
To evaluate the effect of biodiesel blending ratio on the combustion characteristics, the cylinder pressures for 100 consecutive
combustion cycles were recorded and compared at a constant load
of 0.86 MPa and engine speed of 2000 rpm. The variation in cylinder pressure under this condition is shown in Fig. 12. The cylinder
pressure proles for all the tested fuels are comparable and no
signicant variations could be observed among all biodiesel blends
and diesel fuel. The result indicates that most of the biodiesel
blends have lower peak pressure as compared to the baseline
diesel. Also, it can be seen that the location of the peak pressures for

TDC

Cylinder Pressure (bar)

80

Diesel

40

B10

35

Heat Release Rate (J/CA)

90

B20

70

B30
B50

60
50
40
30
20

all the tested fuels is close to TDC (top dead centre). A small
reduction in peak pressure in the range of 0.05e1.47 bar is observed
for the operation with the biodiesel blend fuels. The decreasing
trend in peak pressure with the addition of biodiesel concentration
in the blends may be due to the combined effects of higher viscosity
and lower caloric values of the biodiesel fuel.
In general, the combustion pressure of compression ignition
engine normally rises rapidly and the peak pressure is relatively
high compared to its counterpart, spark ignition engine. As a result,
diesel engines normally produce more vibration and noise
compared to gasoline engines. One of the promising technologies to
solve this problem is the use of electronically controlled highpressure common-rail fuel injection technology. In this study, an
engine equipped with a high-pressure common-rail injection system, which featured two fuel injection timings (pilot and main
injection), is used. The pilot injection injects a small amount of fuel
prior to the main fuel injection process to control the cylinder
pressure rise and to reduce the engine noise by smoothing the
combustion process. As shown in Fig. 13, two peaks in the HRR, as a
result of the pilot (occurring before the TDC) and main (occurring
after the TDC) injections are clearly visible. The addition of biodiesel fuel in the blend has an effect on the variations in HRR and
thus the combustion characteristics. As most of the brake torque
results from the combustion of the main fuel injection, hence only
the HRR caused by this injection is discussed in the present study. It
is observed that baseline diesel achieved the highest peak HRR of
36.32 J/ CA for main injection combustion followed by B10 (36.27 J/
 CA), B50 (35.6 J/ CA), B20 (35.4 J/ CA) and B30 (34.9 J/ CA).
Although no general correlation can be drawn between the variation in biodiesel content in the blend and the peak HRR ordering,
one still can observe that adding biodiesel in the blend caused
decreases in the peak HRR. The same observation, that there is no
general correlation between the biodiesel blend ratio and HRR, was
also reported by An et al. [21].
Another worthy observation that can be seen from the HRR
diagram is the variations in ID (ignition delay). Mathematically, ID
is dened as the crank angle interval measured from start of injection timing to start of combustion timing which is typically
determined from the fuel injector signal and HRR data, respectively.
As summarized in Table 5, it can be found that, in general,
regardless of the engine load, the biodiesel blends have shorter IDs
than baseline diesel due to their relatively higher cetane number.
As shown in Fig. 14, lines indicating mass fraction burned of 10%
(CA10), 50% (CA50) and 90% (CA90) were marked. Empirically, 10%
and 90% lines marked the start and end of main combustion
duration, respectively. The period between CA10 and CA90 was
TDC
Main Injection HRR

Diesel
B10
B20
B30
B50

30
25
20
15
10

Pilot Injection HRR

5
0

-30

-20

-10

0
10
Crank Angle (degree)

20

30

Fig. 12. Cylinder pressure versus crank angle for tested fuels at engine load of
0.86 MPa.

-5

-40

-30

-20

-10
0
10
Crank Angle (degree)

20

30

Fig. 13. HRR versus crank angle for tested fuels at engine load of 0.86 MPa.

H.G. How et al. / Energy 69 (2014) 749e759

Engine
load (MPa)

0.17

Fuel
type

Main injected
fuel ignition
delay ( CA)

Crank angle for certain


percent mass fraction
burned ( ATDC)
10%

50%

90%

Combustion
duration ( CA)

Diesel
B10
B20
B30
B50

6.375
6.250
6.125
6.000
5.875

10.625
12.125
12.000
12.250
12.500

21.000
22.125
22.125
22.625
22.875

77.125
79.000
79.500
80.000
80.750

66.500
66.875
67.500
67.750
68.250

Diesel
B10
B20
B30
B50

6.125
6.000
6.000
5.875
5.750

12.375
13.000
12.625
13.125
13.375

21.875
22.375
22.250
23.125
23.250

67.625
68.125
69.000
70.125
70.375

55.250
55.125
56.375
57.000
57.000

Diesel
B10
B20
B30
B50

6.000
6.000
5.875
5.750
5.625

12.375
13.375
12.875
13.500
13.375

23.125
23.625
23.500
23.875
24.000

63.375
64.500
65.375
67.000
66.875

51.000
51.125
52.500
53.500
53.500

0.69

Diesel
B10
B20
B30
B50

4.500
4.375
4.250
4.250
4.125

11.375
11.500
11.750
12.250
12.250

22.000
22.250
22.125
22.500
22.500

58.500
60.625
60.875
62.500
62.625

47.125
49.125
49.125
50.250
50.375

0.86

Diesel
B10
B20
B30
B50

3.625
3.375
3.250
3.125
3.000

10.375
10.375
10.125
10.250
10.375

21.250
21.000
20.625
20.750
20.375

57.500
58.500
59.375
61.000
61.250

47.125
48.125
49.250
50.750
50.875

0.34

0.52

3.4
Peak Pressure Rise Rate (bar/CA)

Table 5
Crank angle position corresponding to certain percent mass fraction burned for all
tested fuels under various engine loads.

B50

B30
10%

-20

20

40

60

80

100

Crank Angle (degree)


Fig. 14. Variations in mass fraction burned for diesel and biodiesel blends at engine
load of 0.86 MPa.

RMS of Acceleration (m/s2)

Mass Fraction Burned

B10

0.2

2.9
2.8
2.7
2.6
2.5
0.17

0.34

Diesel

33.0

Diesel
B20

3.0

0.52
BMEP (MPa)

0.69

0.86

4.3.2. Engine vibration characteristics


In order to gain customer satisfaction and acceptance of the use
of biodiesel in modern diesel vehicles, renement of the NVH
(noise, vibration and harshness) is required. The engine combustion process can be closely related to the overall powertrain NVH.
For this reason, the effect of biodiesel blends on engine
combustion-related vibration at different load conditions is investigated and the results are compared to the baseline diesel fuel in
this study.
The variations in peak pressure rise rate for biodiesel fuel blends
in comparison with diesel are presented in Fig. 15. The range of the
peak pressure rise rate for all the tested fuels is within 2.73e
3.32 bar/ CA. In fact, it is noted that the peak pressure rise rate for
biodiesel blends are consistently lower than that of baseline diesel
at all loading conditions. To measure the engine vibration, RMS of
acceleration is used as an indicator to represent the degree of

90%

0.4

3.1

affected the ensemble heat release prole, and it was widely


applied in the simulation of engine performance when Wiebe
function was employed [36]. In the present study, it can be
observed that the CA50 timing is occurred slightly later with biodiesel blended fuels under all operating conditions, except at
higher load of 0.86 MPa. The largest shift in CA50 was found to be
1.875  CA postponed for B50 in comparison with that of baseline
diesel at lower load of 0.17 MPa.

0.8

50%

3.2

Fig. 15. Variations in peak pressure rise rate for diesel and biodiesel blends at different
engine loads.

TDC

0.6

Diesel
B10
B20
B30
B50

3.3

2.4

dened as combustion duration and typically measured in the unit


of crank angle. From Table 5, it can be seen that the general trend
indicates longer combustion duration was obtained with the
addition of biodiesel in the blends for all engine loads. In fact, the
B50 lengthens the combustion duration by average of 1.75  CA and
3.75  CA at engine load of 0.17 MPa and 0.86 MPa, respectively,
compared to the corresponding baseline diesel. The higher viscosity and poor airefuel mixing of the B50 are postulated to be the
reason for the longer combustion duration. Besides, it can be
observed that the CA50 shifted according to the change in the
biodiesel in the blend. Typically, CA50 was used as a parameter that

757

B10

B20

B30

B50

31.0
29.0
27.0
25.0
23.0
21.0
19.0
17.0
15.0

0.17

0.34

0.52
BMEP (MPa)

0.69

0.86

Fig. 16. Variations in RMS of acceleration for diesel and biodiesel blends at different
engine loads.

758

H.G. How et al. / Energy 69 (2014) 749e759

vibration caused by the combustion in the cylinders. Fig. 16 demonstrates the variations in RMS of acceleration for biodiesel fuel
blends in comparison with baseline diesel. The general trend indicates that the variations in RMS of acceleration are very similar
with the variation in peak pressure rise rate. Besides, the results
also show that RMS of acceleration is affected by biodiesel fuel
blends as well as the engine load condition. It is observed that the
B50 blend has consistently resulted in the lowest RMS of accelerations than the baseline diesel under all loading conditions. This is
mainly due to the rapid changes and the uctuations in cylinder
pressure being the least for B50 as depicted in Fig. 15. Essentially, it
is worthy to note that the largest reduction of 13.7% in RMS of acceleration is obtained with B50 at engine load of 0.86 MPa with
respect to the baseline diesel.
5. Conclusions
In the present study, the performance, emissions, combustion
and vibration characteristics of an engine fuelled with fossil diesel
fuel and coconut biodiesel blends were investigated at engine load
of 0.17, 0.34, 0.52, 0.69 and 0.86 MPa. The following main conclusion can be drawn from this investigation.
Due to the lower caloric value of biodiesel, a tangible increase
in BSFC was observed at all load conditions. Furthermore, a
reduction in BSEC for biodiesel blends was found at all loading
conditions due to the fuel-bound oxygen content in biodiesel
blends which enhance combustion efciency.
In terms of exhaust emissions, it was observed that the engine
load had a signicant effect on BSCO emissions. BSCO emissions
generally decreased with the increasing biodiesel blend ratio and
engine load. Besides, it was found that generally the BSNOx emissions increased with the increase in engine load and biodiesel
blending ratio. The BSNOx emissions of coconut biodiesel blends
were higher than those of baseline diesel across all engine loads
and the highest increment is found to be 20.8% for B50 at mid load
setting of 0.52 MPa. It is worth noting that smoke emissions from
coconut biodiesel blends were lower than baseline diesel across the
engine loading conditions. The largest reduction in smoke opacity
was found to be at engine load of 0.86 MPa of load operation where
a 52.4% decrease in smoke opacity was observed for B50.
For the combustion characteristics, it was found that at a constant load of 0.86 MPa, most of the biodiesel blends have lower
peak pressure in the range of 0.05e1.47 bar as compared to the
baseline diesel. Furthermore, it was observed that generally the
biodiesel blends produced lower peak HRR than baseline diesel. In
addition, a slightly shorter ignition delay and longer combustion
duration were also found with the use of biodiesel blends across the
engine load operations.
For vibration analysis, the results indicated that RMS of acceleration was affected by biodiesel fuel blends. The vibration trend is
well correlated with the peak pressure rise rate for all the tested
fuels. It was observed that the largest reduction of 13.7% in RMS of
acceleration is obtained with B50 at engine load of 0.86 MPa with
respect to the baseline diesel.
Acknowledgement
The authors would like to acknowledge the Ministry of Higher
Education (MOHE) of Malaysia and University of Malaya for the
nancial support through HIR grant (UM.C/HIR/MOHE/ENG/07),
Postgraduate Research (PPP) Grant (PG045-2012B) and UMRG
grant (RG145-12AET). A special thanks to Mr. Kamarul Bahrin
Musa for his technical supports during the work presented in this
paper.

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