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Title: An experimental study of ethanol-diesel dual-fuel combustion for high efficiency and clean heavy-duty engines
Author: Bernardes Pedrozo, Vinícius
ISNI:       0000 0004 7658 2676
Awarding Body: Brunel University London
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2017
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Higher atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases (GHG) such as carbon dioxide and methane has contributed to an increase in Earth's mean surface air temperature and caused climate changes. This largely reflects the increase in global energy consumption, which is heavily dependent on oil, natural gas, and coal. If not controlled, the combustion of these fossil fuels can also produce high levels of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and soot emissions, which adversely affect the air quality. New and extremely challenging fuel efficiency and exhaust emissions regulations are driving the development and optimisation of powertrain technologies as well as the use of low carbon fuels to cost-effectively meet stringent requirements and minimise the transport sector's GHG emissions. In this framework, the dual-fuel combustion has been shown as an effective means to maximise the utilisation of renewable liquid fuels such as ethanol in conventional diesel engines while reducing the levels of NOx and soot emissions. This research has developed strategies to optimise the use of ethanol as a substitute for diesel fuel and improve the effectiveness of dual-fuel combustion in terms of emissions, efficiency, and engine operational cost. Experimental investigations were performed on a single cylinder heavy-duty diesel engine equipped with a high pressure common rail injection system, cooled external exhaust gas recirculation, and a variable valve actuation system. A port fuel injection system was designed and installed, enabling dual-fuel operation with ethanol energy fractions up to 0.83. At low engine loads, in-cylinder control strategies such as the use of a higher residual gas fraction via an intake valve re-opening increased the combustion efficiency (from 87.7% to 95.9%) and the exhaust gas temperature (from 468 K to 531 K). A trade-off between operational cost and NOx reduction capability was assessed at medium loads, where the dual-fuel engine performance was less likely to be affected by combustion inefficiencies and in-cylinder pressure limitations. At high load conditions, a Miller cycle strategy via late intake valve closing decreased the in-cylinder gas temperature during the compression stroke, delaying the autoignition of the ethanol fuel and reducing the levels of in-cylinder pressure rise rate. This allowed for the use of high ethanol energy fractions of up to 0.79. Finally, the overall benefits and limitations of optimised ethanol-diesel dual-fuel combustion were compared against those of conventional diesel combustion. Higher net indicated efficiency (by up to 4.4%) combined with reductions in NOx (by up to 90%) and GHG (by up to 57%) emissions can help generate a viable business case of dual-fuel combustion as a technology for future high efficiency and clean heavy-duty engines.
Supervisor: Zhao, H. ; Megaritis, A. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Low carbon fuel ; Alternative fuel ; Greenhouse gas emissions ; NOx emissions ; Diesel engine