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Numerical assessment of fuel physical properties on high-dilution diesel advanced compression ignition combustion...

by Flavio Dal Forno Chuahy, Charles S Sluder, Scott J Curran
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Applications in Energy and Combustion Science
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Using traditional lean air-fuel mixture aftertreatment technologies to reduce NOx at low exhaust temperatures is limited below 175°C. Recent low engine load NOx emission regulations encouraged researchers to explore the potential of fuel physical properties to enable low-temperature, low-NOx combustion under challenging conditions in which the selective catalytic reduction device might be unable to treat engine-out NOx. Three diesel range fuels were developed to explore how the distillation profile affects and may enable low-load diesel advanced-compression ignition. The least volatile fuel is a conventional, commercially available diesel #2 fuel with a cetane number of 45.3. The second-most volatile fuel is diesel #1 fuel, which can also be found commercially. The last fuel, which is the most volatile, is a new formulation designed to target a final boiling point approximately 50 K below diesel #1 fuel and was termed diesel #0 fuel. A computational fluid dynamics model was developed and validated against experimental data to investigate the underlying effects of each of the developed fuels in the combustion process. Finally, each fuel physical property (e.g., density, viscosity, etc.) was changed independently to assess its effect under the same operating conditions and identify potential directions for fuel formulation that may enable improved NOx emissions and reduce the reliance on aftertreatment systems for NOx control. The results showed that although changes in the fuel distillation curve and other physical properties affect the air-fuel mixtures substantially, changes were not sufficient to result in a large impact to low-load NOx formation. The maximum predicted NOx reduction was 11% uncorrected by combustion phasing. The results suggest that further research efforts should focus on changing the chemical properties of the fuel, like the cetane number, to allow higher EGR dilution and stable combustion.