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Fuel Property Effects on Biodiesel

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  Paper number  036034,  2003 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.15048) @2003
Authors:   Mustafa Ertunc Tat, Jon H. Van Gerpen
Keywords:   biodiesel, diesel fuel, alkyl esters, diesel engine, fuel injection, diesel combustion, diesel emission, NOx emission

Biodiesel is an environmentally friendly alternative diesel fuel obtained from renewable resources, such as vegetable oils, animal fats, and recycled restaurant greases. It is described in ASTM standard D 6751-02 as: a fuel comprised of mono-alkyl esters of long chain fatty acids derived from vegetable oils or animal fats. Biodiesel is oxygenated, sulfur-free, biodegradable, and nontoxic. One of the attractive characteristics of biodiesel is that it does not require any significant modifications to the diesel engine, so the engine does not have to be dedicated for biodiesel. However, due to its different properties, such as a higher cetane number, lower volatility, and lower energy content, biodiesel may cause some changes in the engine performance and emissions.

These different properties can effect the injection timing and the diesel combustion process causing lower power and higher oxides of nitrogen. The objective of this study was the investigation of biodiesel fuel properties such as cetane number, fuel volatility, and energy content on biodiesel combustion. The results of heat release analysis are presented from measured cylinder pressure data on a turbocharged diesel engine fueled with biodiesel from soybean oil, biodiesel from animal grease, and No. 2 diesel fuel.

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