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Fuel 89 (2010) 38273832

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Performance and emission characteristics of an CI engine fueled

with dieselbiodieselbioethanol blends
Istvn Barabs *, Adrian Todorut, Doru Baldean
Department of Automobiles and Agricultural Machinery, Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, Muncii 103-105, 400641 Cluj-Napoca, Romania

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:
Received 18 July 2009
Received in revised form 10 July 2010
Accepted 12 July 2010
Available online 23 July 2010

a b s t r a c t
The paper presents the experimental results obtained concerning performances and pollution of a diesel
engine fueled with dieselbiodieselethanol blends compared with diesel fuel in laboratory tests. The
main properties of the researched fuels are presented within this paper, in comparison with classical diesel fuel (chemical composition, density, kinematic viscosity, cold lter plugging point, ash point).
Engines performances were evaluated by determining the brake specic fuel consumption and brake
thermal efciency. For pollution evaluation the emissions of CO, CO2, NOx, HC and smoke have been measured. An increasing of brake specic fuel consumption has been observed, especially at lower engines
loads, with maximum 32.4%, reducing engine brake thermal efciency with maximum 21.7%. CO emissions decrease, especially at high loads with maximum 59%, on the basis of CO2 increased emissions.
NOx emissions slightly increase, especially at partial and high loads, meanwhile HC and smoke emissions
decrease in all engines load cycles.
2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction
In the last decades many methods for the pollution reduction of
ICE gases have been studied. One of the most important methods is
to add oxygenated components to fossil fuel [1]. The main oxygenated organic compounds are biodiesel, alcohols and ethers. The
biodiesel is produced from vegetable oils (fresh or used) and also
from animal fat.
The use of biodiesel for partial or total diesel fuel substitution
does not constitute a novelty, because the vegetable oils have been
proposed as compression ignition (CI) engines fuel since 1895 [2].
Today, the minimal quality conditions of biodiesel are regulated by
the European Standard for Biodiesel EN 14214.
The sequential introducing of biofuels for internal combustion
engines is regulated by the 2003/30/EC Directive, which provides
the step by step implementation of biofuels in the classic ones
for transport [3].
The main advantages of using biodiesel for CI engines are as
follows [2,4]: biodiesel is non-toxic; biodiesel degrades four times
faster than diesel; pure biodiesel degrades 8588% in water; the
higher ash point makes the storage safer; provides a domestic,
renewable energy supply; biodiesel does not produce greenhouse
effects, because the balance between the amount of CO2 emissions
and the amount of CO2 absorbed by the plants producing vegetable
* Corresponding author. Tel.: +40 (0) 264 401 674; fax: +40 (0) 264 415 490.
E-mail address: (I. Barabs).
0016-2361/$ - see front matter 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

oil is equal; biodiesel can be used directly in compression ignition

engines with no substantial modications of the engine.
Nevertheless, biodiesel use has also a number of disadvantages
[2,5]: light decrease in fuel economy on energy basics (about 10%
for pure biodiesel); density is higher than that of diesel fuel in cold
weather, but may need to use blends in sub-freezing conditions;
more expensive due to less production of vegetable oil. The use
of biodiesel can be considered as an alternative for CI engines,
but some of its properties, as density and viscosity, are higher than
those of classic diesel fuel. These properties can be ameliorated by
adding bioethanol, which on one hand allows the biofuels level-increase in the whole blend, and on the other hand brings the mentioned properties in standard diesel fuel prescribed limits.
The biodiesel density at 15 C is between 860 and 894 kg/m3
[68]. The commercial biodiesel viscosity at 40 C is between 3.3
and 5.2 mm2/s [79]. Bioethanol can be produced from different
feedstocks: sugar, starch or cellulose. Even if it is conceived mainly
as an alternative fuel for spark ignition engines, it also has applications for CI engines. The main methods of using ethanol in CI engines are described in [1]: the alcoholdiesel fuel blend; alcohol
fumigation; alcoholdiesel fuel emulsion with emulsier; and dual
The use of some bioethanoldiesel blends in CI engines is
restricted mainly by the limited miscibility at low temperatures
[10], as well as the necessity of some modications in the engine
fuel system, because the lower heating value drops which needs
an increase of fuel dose per engine cycle. Density and viscosity of


I. Barabs et al. / Fuel 89 (2010) 38273832

Fig. 1. Stand diagram: (1) diesel fuel tank; (2) biodiesel tank; (3, 4, 6, 7) valves; (5) recipient to measure the fuel consumption; (8) diesel engine; (9) commutable valve
between diesel/blends; (DA diesel access; BA blends access; DR diesel return; and BR blends return); (10) injection pump; (11) feeder pump; (12) lubricating oil
pressure transducer (plo); (13) lubricating oil temperature transducer (tlo); (14) cardan transmission; (15) brake torque transducer (M); (16) rotation transducer (n); (17)
hydraulic brake; (18) electronic control unit (ECU); (19) electronic data processing unit (EDPU); (20) cooling agent temperature transducer (tc); (21) fuel lter; (22) injector;
(23) input air temperature transducer (t0); (24) exhaust gas static pressure transducer (pegs); (25) exhaust gas dynamic pressure transducer (pegd); (26) exhaust gas
temperature transducer (teg); and E.G. exhaust gases.

bioethanoldiesel fuel blends is lower than that of classic diesel

fuel, which reduces the fuel lubricating capacity.
Density is a fuel-property which has direct effects on the engine
performance characteristics [11]. Many fuel properties such as cetane number and heating value are related to the density. Fuel density inuences the efciency of fuel atomization and combustion
characteristics [11,12]. Because diesel fuel injection systems meter
the fuel by volume, the change of the fuel density will inuence the
engine output power due to a different mass injected fuel. The ethanol density is lower than diesel fuel density, but biodiesel density
is higher.
Viscosity is one of the most important fuel properties, because it
affects the operating conditions of injection systems, especially at
low temperatures when fuel uidity is reduced. Also, viscosity affects fuel lubricating capacity [4], ensuring fuel pumps and injectors lubrication [1,13].
In the case of dieselbiodieselethanol blends it has an emulsier role [1416], some blends being stable even at negative temperatures [17]. The heating value is comparable with the one of
diesel fuel, having a higher lubricating capacity than the previous,
facilitating the increase of biofuels content in the whole blend
The most important objectives of this study consist in evaluating the main properties of the studied dieselbiodieselethanol
blends and comparing them with those of classical diesel fuel.
The performance and emissions at different engines loads have
been studied through fuel blends tests on ICE, and some conclusions have resulted concerning the use of dieselbiodieselethanol
blends for diesel engines and the dual-fuel operating system

2. Material and methods

The experimental research concerning the ICE performances
and pollution have been directed toward three fuel blends of
dieselbiodieselethanol, for which diesel fuel has been used as
reference. The fuel blends have been chosen taking into consideration the previous research recommendations from the specialized
literature [1417], and on the basis of some researches of a grant
Researches aiming partial substitution of diesel fuels for diesel
engine with dieselbiodieselethanol mixtures (Romanian
National University Research Council, Research Programme ID
1098, No. 88/01.10.2007), the main criteria being that their density
and viscosity should be very close to that of classical diesel fuel,
having a corresponding lubricating capacity at the same time. In
order to prepare the blends the following components were used:
commercial diesel fuel, biodiesel obtained from rape oil and
ethanol 99.3%.

Table 1
Main engine specications.
Number of cylinders
Compression ratio
Rated power
Rated torque
Displacement volume
Nozzle opening pressure
Size of nozzle
Injection system

4 in line
110 mm
130 mm
46.5 kW at 1800 rpm
285 N m at 1200 rpm
4.76 l
175 5 bar
4  0.275 mm
Direct, mechanical


I. Barabs et al. / Fuel 89 (2010) 38273832

The experimental researches concerning the performances and

the determination of pollutant emissions were developed on the
test bench presented in Fig. 1. The bench is equipped with a D2402.000 type CI engine, having the main characteristics presented
in Table 1, hydraulic dynamometer and a data acquisition system
for recording the operating parameters. For pollutant emissions
evaluation the Bosch BEA 350 type gas analyzer has been used.
Diesel engines of the given type were designed in the 1990s,
redesigned in 2002 and were produced and exported until 2006.
These engine have been widely used up to the present day in agricultural machinery in Romania. On these grounds, the results of
the research performed by the authors are used for preliminary
evaluation of the expected efciency of the replacement of fossil
diesel fuel with dieselbiodieselethanol mixtures for the above
mentioned diesel engine and other similar types of diesel engines.
The load characteristics have been drawn at the 1400 rpm engine speed, this one being between the maximum torque speed
and the maximum power speed. Before each test the fuel lters
were replaced and the engine was brought to the nominal operating temperature. For evaluation the obtained results were
compared with those obtained in the case of diesel fuel. The
results-evaluation has been made for three engine loading
domains: small loads (040%), medium loads (4080%) and high
loads (>80%).
3. Results and discussion
3.1. Fuel properties
The main characteristics of the studied fuels are presented in
Table 2.
The fuel blends density variation with temperature is presented in Fig. 2. It can be seen that the dieselbiodieselethanol
blends have a very close density to diesel fuel on the whole considered temperature domain.
The constituents viscosity and the blends viscosity variation
are presented in Fig. 3. There may be seen that the blends viscosity
is very close to that of diesel, and the differences get smaller with
temperature increase. Because the ethanol vaporizing temperature
is quite small (approximately 78 C), it will be in vapor state at the
operating injector temperature. The compensation of biodiesel
higher density and viscosity levels is important especially at low
engine operating temperatures.
At the same time, a signicant decrease in the blends ash
point can be observed (1217 C). The ash point of a diesel
biodieselethanol mixture is mainly dominated by ethanol. All of
the blends containing ethanol were highly ammable with a ash
point temperature that was below the ambient temperature, which
constitutes a major disadvantage, especially concerning their
transportation, depositing and distribution, which affects the ship-

ping and storage classication of fuels and the precautions that

should be used in handling and transporting the fuel. As a result,
the storage, handling and transportation of dieselbiodiesel
ethanol mixtures must be managed in a special and proper way,
in order to avoid an explosion.
Concerning the cold lter plugging point (CFPP) it was observed
that in the case of 5% ethanol blends it decreases, but it gets higher
in the case of D80B10E10 blend because of the limited ethanol miscibility, which restricts its use at low temperatures.
The cetane number and cetane index is also in proportion to
density value. The cetane number of the dieselbiodieselethanol
blend is decreasing with the bioethanol content, because ethanol
itself has very low cetane number. The lower the cetane number
is, the poorer the ignition property will be. Cetane number also
has an effect on the engine start up, combustion control, and engine performance [14]. However, biodiesel, due to its high cetane
number value, could improve this property, so the blend can fulll
the cetane number requirement for diesel, 51 CN [20,21].
3.2. Engine performances
3.2.1. Break specic fuel consumption
The obtained results in the case of specic fuel consumption related to engine load are presented in Fig. 4. The brake specic consumption is greater at smaller loads, but it decreases at medium
and higher loads. The brake specic fuel consumption is greater
for the blends, because their heating value is smaller. The sequence
is D100, D85B10E5, D80B10E10 and D70B25E5, being the same at
all engine loads, maintaining the increasing sequence of biofuels
content. The increase is higher at small loads (32.4% in the case
of D70B25E5); at medium and high loads the determined values
for blends are comparable with the values for diesel, being between 6.2% and 15.8%.
3.2.2. Brake thermal efciency
The engine efciency variation with load for the studied fuels is
shown in Fig. 5. As it was expected, the engine efciency decreases
for fuel blends, the tendencies being similar with those of brake
specic fuel consumption. The engine efciency decrease is between 0.4% and 21.7%.
3.3. Pollutant emissions
3.3.1. Carbon monoxide
The carbon monoxide emissions differ with the fuel and engine
load (Fig. 6). Thus, at small and medium loads, the greatest emissions have been measured for diesel fuel and the lowest for
D80B10E10 fuel blend. As it was expected, at high loads CO emission increases, being with approximately 50% lower in the case of
studied fuel blends. This fact is explained in [14] through high level

Table 2
The main properties of analyzed fuels.









Diesel content
Biodiesel content
Ethanol content
Oxygenate content
Carbonate content
Hydrogen content
Density at 15 C
Kinematic viscosity at 40 C
Flash point
Cetane number [20,21]
Cetane index [14]

% vol.
% vol.
% vol.
% vol.
% wt.
% wt.

EN ISO 12185
ASTM D7042-04
EN ISO 2719
EN 116









I. Barabs et al. / Fuel 89 (2010) 38273832

Fig. 2. Density variation of analyzed fuels with temperature.

Fig. 5. Engines efciency variation with load for analyzed fuels.

Fig. 3. Viscosity variation with temperature.

Fig. 6. Variation of CO emission with percentage of load for different fuels.

of oxygen content in biodiesel and ethanol, which sustain the oxidation process during the exhaust process as well. The experimental results have shown, that in the case of high engine loads, the
lowest CO emission is for the D85B10E5 fuel blend (0.234% vol.),
which compared with the one for diesel fuel (0.575% vol.) represents a reduction with 59%. The experimentally obtained results
for CO emissions are comparable with those presented in [14].

Fig. 4. Variation of brake specic fuel consumption of different fuels.

3.3.2. Carbon dioxide

The CO2 emissions for the studied fuel blends are superior to the
measured values in the case of an engine running with diesel fuel
in all three load operating conditions taken into account in this paper (Fig. 7). The increase of CO2 emission levels may be due to the
CO decrease, which continues the oxidation process because of the
high oxygen level of the studied fuels, ensuring a more complete
combustion. Also, the oxygen overow makes the CO oxidation
possible in the exhaust time, including in the exhaust gas pipe
lines. Similar results are presented also in [2,16]. This explanation
is also sustained by CO emissions reduction compared to those ob-

I. Barabs et al. / Fuel 89 (2010) 38273832

Fig. 7. Variation of CO2 emission with percentage of load for different fuels.

tained for diesel fuel. Increased CO2 emission level should not be
considered as a negative consequence, because it is reused (consumed) in the photosynthesis process of the plants used for biofuels production.
3.3.3. Nitrogen oxides
The engines NOx emission level for the analyzed fuels at different loads is presented in Fig. 8. It may be observed that the presence of oxygenated components in the studied fuels at small
loads has an unimportant inuence on the NOx emission level, presenting especially a small reduction. At medium and high engine
loads the NOx emission level is greater compared to those of diesel
fuel with 1026%. The increased NOx emission level is explained by
the increased fuel combustion temperature, due to the oxygen content of biodiesel and ethanol, which makes possible a more complete combustion and thus an increased combustion
temperature, which facilitates the generation of NOx. Also, due to
the ethanols reduced cetane number, the whole blends cetane
number will decrease. This fact will lead to an increasing fuel ignit-

Fig. 8. Variation of NOx emission with percentage of load for different fuels.


Fig. 9. Variation of HC emission with percentage of load for different fuels.

ing delay, which consequently will cause a faster combustion of

air/fuel mixture, generating a faster heat release at the beginning
of the combustion process, having as result a higher temperature,
which facilitates the formation of NOx [22].
3.3.4. Hydrocarbons
HC emission variation with engine loads for the analyzed fuels
is shown in Fig. 9. It may be observed that in the case of 5% ethanol
blends HC emissions signicantly decrease compared to diesel fuel
in all three engine loads domains. The higher level ethanol blends
generate greater HC emissions, and those with higher biodiesel level generate less HC. This fact suggests that the presence of ethanol
in the fuel blend is the reason for increasing HC emissions, and biodiesel-presence leads to their reduction. An explanation could be
sustained by the cetane number inuence: biodiesel having a higher cetane number than diesel fuel facilitates an easier ignition and
more complete fuel blends combustion, meanwhile the ethanols
low cetane number acts in the opposite direction. Due to its reduced cetane number ethanol will ignite later and will not burn
completely, increasing in this way the unburned HC level from
the exhaust gases. The most signicant decrease is with approximately 50% at high loads operating level.
At low and medium loads the obtained results of Kwanchareon
et al. [14] are opposed to ours.
3.3.5. Smoke
The CI engines smoke emissions were evaluated through exhaust gases opacity measurements, made obvious by the light
absorbing coefcient (Fig. 10). Exhaust gases opacity has signicantly decreased (with more than 50%) in the case of all fuel
blends, especially at low and medium loads. At high loads the
reduction is between 27.6% in the case of D70B25E5 fuel blend
and 50.3% in the case of D85B10E5. Even if it is known that in
the case of using oxygenated fuel blends the particle emissions of
CI engine are lower [15,16], the whole mechanism through which
the fact is possible has no plausible explanation yet. The smoke
generation takes place in fuel-rich areas of the combustion chamber, especially in the fuel-spray core (liquid phase) of the pulverized jet. Considering that the oxygen from biofuels ensures
oxidant for the pirolize processes from the jet combustion area, it
results a decrease in solid particle formation [16]. The obtained results are conrmed by the published ones in [16], with the note


I. Barabs et al. / Fuel 89 (2010) 38273832

The research has been nanced by The National University Research Council through Executive Agency for Higher Education
and Research Founding, Project No. ID 1098, Contract No. 88/

Fig. 10. Particle emissions.

that in the mentioned work the solid particle content of exhaust

gases was analyzed.
4. Conclusion
In this paper the experimental research results have been presented concerning the CI engines performances and pollution
fueled with three dieselbiodieselbioethanol blend types, which
were compared to diesel fuel. Due to the used biofuels lower heating value compared to that of diesel fuel, the engines performances decrease, especially at low engine loads. CO emissions
decrease signicantly due to an important increase of CO2 emissions, as a result of a prolonged oxidation process even in the exhaust phase, which is possible due to the fact that the analyzed
fuel blends have up to 4.55% oxygen. NOx emissions increase especially at medium and high loads, a fact explained by more complete
combustion and by increased combustion temperature, due to the
presence of oxygen in fuel. HC emissions decrease in all engine
loading conditions. Concerning the smoke emissions it has been
observed that they decrease compared to the ones recorded in
the case of diesel fuel, being higher for the fuel blends with high
biofuel content.
In general it may be concluded that the studied fuel blends have
lower pollution levels, especially at medium and small loads of engine, exceptions being CO2 and NOx, cases in which the recorded
values are superior to those recorded for diesel fuel.
Concerning the CO emissions, they differ with the engine loads.
The presence of the oxygenated organic components in the fuel has
a small effect at low engine loads, but at medium and high loads
these emissions decrease signicantly.
The presented experimental results demonstrate the viability of
dieselbiodieselethanol blends use for CI engines fueling.

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