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Increasing concerns of a global energy crisis and stringent emission regulations all over the world have created an unprecedented demand for alternative fuels. The clean diesel engine lab (CDEL) at the University of Windsor has successfully demonstrated the utilization of ethanol and butanol on a high compression ratio diesel engine. Extensive engine test results revealed that both ethanol and butanol are promising alternative fuels for clean combustion engines. Our project, which is part of the Utilization Theme of BioFuelNet, tackles the real world challenge of scaling biofuel production for use in the automotive industry.

For a diesel engine to run at an ultra-low emission mode, it must maintain its fuel economy simultaneously. Typically, to meet contemporary regulations, emission reduction approaches will result in a significant fuel penalty. In this project, we investigated an innovative dual fuel combustion mode that delivers both bio-alcohol fuel and diesel fuel into the cylinder through separate fueling systems to evaluate the potential of bio-alcohols to achieve ultra-low emissions on diesel engines. The results showed that alcohol fuels are capable of lowering engine-out emissions significantly while maintaining relatively high fuel efficiency.

the clean combustion engine laboratory

The clean diesel engine laboratory

This project was executed in cooperation with our industry partner, Ford Canada, one of the leading promoters of ethanol-fueled vehicles. The innovative approach to utilize alcohol fuels in diesel engines has the potential to create a new market for biofuels. The market will benefit the Canadian bio-economy growth by providing a large scale outlet for biofuel production. The technical know-how and data accumulated during this project can be seamlessly transferred to Ford, thus profiting the automotive industry simultaneously.

Lab_controlRm

The clean diesel engine laboratory

The CDEL’s current project established a database of bio-alcohols’ combustion and emissions on a modern diesel engine. Favorable fuel properties are proposed based on profound understandings of engine combustion. From the engine application point of view, a direction for future biofuel property design can be provided to the biofuel industry.

Our research has benefitted from BioFuelNet through greater access to biofuel property data and training highly-qualified personnel (HQP). The network offers an excellent opportunity for the HQPs to meet the people in multiple disciplines. During the Advanced BioFuels Symposium held in May 2014, I became exposed to the whole picture of Canadian bio-economy strategy. Through discussions with experts on  biofuel chemistry, I gained knowledge that will help advance future research pursuits.

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