Main content area

Formulation of Canola-Diesel Microemulsion Fuels and Their Selective Diesel Engine Performance

Nguyen, Thu, Abraham, Jacob, Ramallo, Melisa, Wagner, David, McLennan, John
journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society 2012 v.89 no.10 pp. 1905-1912
alternative fuels, canola oil, diesel fuel, durability, emissions, energy use and consumption, ethanol, nitrogen oxides, particulates, pour point, temperature, vegetable oil, viscosity
Vegetable oils have been considered as an alternative to diesel fuel due to their comparable properties and performance. However, the high viscosity of vegetable oil causes engine durability problems with long-term usage. Vegetable oil viscosity can be reduced by blending with diesel fuel in thermodynamically stable mixtures using microemulsion fuel formulation techniques. This work focuses on the formulation of microemulsion fuels comprising diesel fuel and canola oil as the oil phase with ethanol and sec-butanol as viscosity reducers as well as 1-octanol and oleyl amine as surfactant/cosurfactant. Selective tests on an instrumented diesel engine were performed for formulated microemulsion fuels and No. 2 diesel fuel for comparison. The results show that formulated microemulsion fuels have fuel properties that meet the ASTM requirements for viscosity, cloud point, and pour point for biodiesel. Even more important, they have phase stability over a wide range of temperatures (−10 to 70 °C). Although all of the microemulsion fuels showed higher fuel consumption than diesel fuel, some of the microemulsion fuels had significantly reduced CO and NOx emissions as well as reduced particulates when compared to baseline diesel fuel. The research demonstrates the potential of these microemulsion fuels as alternative to neat diesel fuel.