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Journal of the Institute of Engineering, Vol. 3, No. 1, December 2003, pp.

12 - 16 TUTA/IOE/PCU

12

Fuel Adulteration and Tailpipe Emissions


Dr. B. B. Ale Associate Professor Department of Mechanical Engineering Pulchowk Campus, Institute of Engineering

Abstract All engines are designed and manufactured to run on specified fuel. They will emit substantially more pollutant if the fuel specification is changed and poorly maintained. Fuel adulteration has been practiced in Nepal due to financial incentives arising from differential taxes that are imposed by the government. Fuels (petrol, diesel, kerosene) mixed in different proportion were used to run the engine at low idling and high idling speed and the tailpipe emissions were recorded for each sample mixture and compare with the existing emission standard for in use vehicles. The test results indicated that there is little change in tailpipe emission with the adulterated fuel. But an adulterated fuel when used in petrol engine has significant negative impact on its performance. Introduction Adulteration of automotive petrol and diesel with low-taxed or subsidized kerosene is widespread in Nepal. This adulterated fuel, often but not always, leads to increased tailpipe emissions of harmful pollutants, reduce the life of engine components and performance of engine. Time to time we read in the newspaper that the fuel pumps are selling adulterated fuels, contributing a large quantity of pollutants and making inhabitants to breathe difficult. Types of fuel adulteration The main cause of fuel adulteration is financial incentives arising from differential taxes that are imposed by government. Petrol carries a much higher tax than diesel, which in turn is taxed more than kerosene. Industrial solvents and recycled lubricants are other materials with little tax or no tax. Most commonly practiced fuel adulteration in Nepal can be classified as follows: blending of kerosene into petrol blending of kerosene into diesel blending of used lubricants into diesel blending of lubricants into kerosene as a substitute for diesel Impact on emissions and health Not all types of adulteration are harmful to public health. Some adulterated fuels increase emissions of harmful pollutants and some may have little or no effect on air quality. In some cases there is indirect health effect. For example, diversion of subsidized kerosene for household use to the diesel sector does not increase emissions from diesel vehicles, but deprives the poor people from kerosene for cooking purpose. Lack of availability of subsidized kerosene forces them to continue to use biomass and exposes them to high levels of indoor air pollution [1]. Engines are designed and manufactured to run on specified fuel. When the fuel specification is altered and poorly maintained they will emit substantially more pollutants. Apart from fuel quality the amounts of pollutants emitted depend on such parameters as the air-fuel ratio, engine speed, engine load, operating temperature, whether the vehicle is equipped with a catalytic converter etc. Objectives The major objective of this study is to analyze and identify the different exhaust emissions from the combustion of adulterated fuels like kerosene into petrol and diesel, lubricating oil into kerosene in different ratios and compare these emissions with existing emission standards for in-use vehicles. Sources of fuel Fuels (petrol, diesel, kerosene) and lubricating oil were bought from the fuel pump and were not tested for adulteration prior to mix at different proportions. The fuels as well as lubricating oil (loose Mobil) were bought only from the same fuel pump as per need. Apparatus and procedures The necessary testing equipment and engines were provided by the VAPP/ESPS/MOPE, Ekantakuna, Lalitpur.

Journal of the Institute of Engineering, Vol. 3, No. 1, December 2003, pp. 12 - 16 TUTA/IOE/PCU

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Equipment Exhaust Gas Analyser (BOSCH AC 230) Opacimeter RTM 430 (BOSCH) 4 Cylinder Petrol Engine (Nissan) 4 Cylinder Diesel Engine (Ford) Mixture preparation Fuel samples collected from different sources were not possible to be tested for their purity. So, it was decided to buy the fuels from the same source as per need. Before starting the analysis, the test samples were prepared in different ratios by volume and stored in different containers. For the mixture preparation of petrol and kerosene, at least five sets of sample mixture were prepared in 100:00, 80:20, 70:30, 60:40, and 50:50 ratios. Similarly, for the mixture preparation of diesel and kerosene, at least eight sets of sample mixture were prepared in 100:00, 80:20, 70:30, 60:40, 50:50, 40:60, 30:70 and 20:80 ratios. For kerosene and lubricating oil mixture preparation, at least 8 sets of sample mixture were prepared and tested. The mixture samples prepared by adding kerosene into petrol in different ratios were used to test the emissions from petrol engine and different sets of emissions were measured. Similarly, the mixture samples prepared by mixing diesel and kerosene and kerosene and lubricating oil in various proportions respectively were used in diesel engine to measure the emission levels. The measured emission levels were then compared with the existing standards for in-use vehicles. Exhaust emission readings Engine was run with adulterated fuel for 10 minutes and readings were taken at stable engine speed. For each mixture at least two readings were taken. Test results and discussions1 At low engine idling speed the carbon monoxide (CO) emission varied from 0.15% to 0.23% and unburned hydrocarbons (HC) from 260 ppm to 435 ppm respectively when the proportion of kerosene in petrol was increased (Figure 1). Though these measured emissions are at low levels it indicates that the levels of measured emissions increase with the increase of amount of kerosene in petrol.

500 400 HC HC, ppm 300

0.5 0.4 0.3

CO
200 100 rpm = 780 0 100 0.0 90 80 70 60 50 PETRO L IN ADULTERATED FUEL, % 0.2 0.1

Figure 1. Tailpipe emissions of adulterated petrol with kerosene at different ratio at low idling speed.
1

Test results were presented at seminar on Air Quality Management of Kathmandu Valley: Challenges & Opportunities organized by ESPS and EVAN on 19 June 2002 [2].

CO, %

Journal of the Institute of Engineering, Vol. 3, No. 1, December 2003, pp. 12 - 16 TUTA/IOE/PCU

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Similar results have been observed when the tailpipe emissions of adulterated petrol with kerosene at different proportions were measured at high rpm idling (Figure 2.). It has been noticed that the level of CO increased significantly compared to the level of CO at low idling speed. But still these measured values of CO emissions were close to 3%.
400 6.0

300 HC, ppm

HC CO std CO

4.5

200

3.0

100 rpm = 2440 - 2480 0 100 90 80 70 60 50 PETROL IN ADULTERATED FUEL, %

1.5

0.0

Figure 2. Tailpipe emissions of adulterated petrol with kerosene at different ratio at high idling speed. The level of particulate matters (PM) gradually decreased with the increasing amount of kerosene in diesel. Measured k2 value varied from 2.1 to 1.1 min-1 which is below the standard value of k equal to 2.24 (65% HSU3). There is also an increasing trend of HC though insignificant in value with the increasing amount of kerosene in diesel respectively. And the level of CO was negligible and was not affected by the adulteration at all (Figure 3).
100 4.0

80 HC
HC, ppm

k std 2.0

60

40 20

k [PM] 1.0 CO

0 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20

0.0

DIESEL IN ADULTERATED FUEL, %

Figure 3. Tailpipe emissions of adulterated diesel with kerosene at different ratio at idling speed.
2

k is the coefficient of light absorption, a measure of blackness of the smoke which is independent of the measurement length. 3 HSU (Hatridge Smoke Unit) is the percentage opacity measurement for a column of smoke 430mm in length.

CO, % and k, m-1

3.0

CO, %

Journal of the Institute of Engineering, Vol. 3, No. 1, December 2003, pp. 12 - 16 TUTA/IOE/PCU

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4.0

3.0

k std

k, m-1

2.0 k [PM] 1.0

0.0 0 2 4 6 8 10 LUBRICANT IN KEROSENE, %

Figure 4. Tailpipe emissions of particulate matters from kerosene mixed with lubricants at different ratio at idling speed. Time to time it has been reported in the newspaper that the diesel fuelled buses are run on kerosene with a very little addition of lubricant in it for lubricating fuel supply system. Usually kerosene and lubricant is mixed in the ratio of 60:1. Few mixtures of kerosene and lubricant were prepared in different proportions and diesel engine was run with these fuels and PM were recorded (Figure 4). It can be seen from the figure that there is not significant change in the values of PM with the addition of lubricant in kerosene. Impact on engine performance When kerosene is adulterated into petrol in large scale it will be difficult to start the engine during cold weather and there is also possibility of knock. Since the octane number of kerosene is lower than octane number of petrol it will cause knocking of the engine with the use of kerosene-adulterated petrol. This was noticed when the engine was run with the adulterated fuel in the ratio of 40% petrol and 60% kerosene. There is also possibility of carbon deposits on the spark plug, piston head and valves. Similarly, the viscosity of lubricant added kerosene will be different from the viscosity of the diesel fuel. Change in fuel specification will of course have negative impact on the life of engine components and which consequently affect the performance of engine. Steps to minimize adulteration Talking and thinking about fuel quality and vehicular pollution control in Nepal will have some meaning only if we are in a position to confirm the stated specification parameter by testing, checking and rechecking by ourselves. Establishment of a full-fledged fuel-testing laboratory under an independent authority is needed. Enforcing good monitoring mechanism with heavy penalty on the sale of adulterated fuels from the petrol pumps in order to discourage fuel adulteration. Removal of subsidy on kerosene if possible. Conduction of public awareness program on fuel adulteration and vehicular emissions. Conclusions There is very little change in tailpipe emission with the adulterated fuel. (All tests had passed Green Sticker Test) HC is slightly increased when kerosene is added in Petrol. Similarly, there is an increasing trend of CO emission with the increasing amount of kerosene in Petrol. Both HC & CO are within the Idle Test Emission Standard even though the petrol is adulterated with kerosene at different ratios. PM is decreased and HC is increased with the increasing quantity of kerosene in diesel respectively in diesel engine.

Journal of the Institute of Engineering, Vol. 3, No. 1, December 2003, pp. 12 - 16 TUTA/IOE/PCU

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PM did not vary significantly by adding lubricating oil in kerosene and running it in diesel engine. Since there is not significant changes in emission levels from adulterated fuels the tailpipe emissions can be reduced by well maintaining the vehicle, avoiding tampering of the fuel injection pump, avoiding overloading the vehicle and importing quality fuel (unleaded petrol and low sulphur content diesel).

Acknowledgement The author is glad to acknowledge Vehicle Anti-Pollution Program / Environment Sector Program Support / Ministry of Population and Environment (VAPP/ESPS/MOPE) for providing testing facilities and 4th year students (2002) from Department of Mechanical Engineering, Pulchowk Campus for conducting tests. References: 1. South Asia Urban Air Quality Management Briefing Note No. 7, 2002, Catching gasoline and diesel adulteration, July. Available at http://www.worldbank.org/sarurbanair. 2. Ale, B. B., 2002, Fuel adulteration and tailpipe emissions, seminar on Air Quality Management of Kathmandu Valley: Challenges & Opportunities organized by ESPS and EVAN.