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Neat Oxymethylene Ethers: Combustion Performance and Emissions of OME2, OME3, OME4 and OME5 in a Single-Cylinder Diesel Engine
ISSN: 0148-7191, e-ISSN: 2688-3627
To be published on April 14, 2020 by SAE International in United States
Diesel engines are arguably the superior device in the ground transportation sector in terms of efficiency and reliability, but suffer from inferior emission performance due to the diffusive nature of diesel combustion. Great research efforts gradually reduced nitrogen oxide (NOX) and particulate matter (PM) emissions, but the PM-NOX trade-off remained to be a problem of major concern and was believed to be inevitable for a long time. In the process of engine development, the modification of fuel properties has lately gained great attention. In particular, the oxygenate fuel oxymethylene ether (OME) has proven potential to not only drastically reduce emissions, but possibly resolve the formerly inevitable trade-off completely. Although intensified investigations with OME were conducted within the past decade, little is known about the specific influence of fuel properties inherent to unimolecular, high chain length OME on combustion characteristics, emission performance and particle size. The latter is of special concern, as studies on oxygenate fuels reported increased formation of nanoparticles, which are known to have adverse effects on human health. In this paper, the authors present a detailed analysis of emissions, combustion characteristics, and particle size of neat oxymethylene ethers. A single-cylinder diesel engine was fueled with neat OME2, OME3, OME4 and OME5 to evaluate effects that directly correlate with chain length. In the process, hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO) was used as diesel reference fuel. It was found that a high chain length beneficially affects NOX with little drawbacks on thermal efficiency. This trade-off clearly evolves favorable with high chain lengths, as NOX emissions are reduced in greater extent than engine efficiency. Particle size is not adversely influenced by the additional, fuel-bound oxygen. In comparison to HVO, all OME display a significant efficiency advantage in lean combustion due to enhanced burnout speed.