Combustion of n-butanol in a spark-ignition IC engine

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Alcohols, because of their potential to be produced from renewable sources and because of their high quality characteristics for spark-ignition (SI) engines, are considered quality fuels which can be blended with fossil-based gasoline for use in internal combustion engines. They enable the transformation of our energy basis in transportation to reduce dependence on fossil fuels as an energy source for vehicles. The research presented in this work is focused on applying n-butanol as a blending agent additive to gasoline to reduce the fossil part in the fuel mixture and in this way to reduce life cycle CO2 emissions. The impact on combustion processes in a spark-ignited internal combustion engine is also detailed. Blends of n-butanol to gasoline with ratios of 0%, 20%, and 60% in addition to near n-butanol have been studied in a single cylinder cooperative fuels research engine (CFR) SI engine with variable compression ratio manufactured by Waukesha Engine Company. The engine is modified to provide air control and port fuel injection. Engine control and monitoring was performed using a target-based rapid-prototyping system with electronic sensors and actuators installed on the engine [1]. A real-time combustion analysis system was applied for data acquisition and online analysis of combustion quantities. Tests were performed under stoichiometric air-to-fuel ratios, fixed engine torque, and compression ratios of 8:1 and 10:1 with spark timing sweeps from 18° to 4° before top dead center (BTDC). On the basis of the experimental data, combustion characteristics for these fuels have been determined as follows: mass fraction burned (MFB) profile, rate of MFB, combustion duration and location of 50% MFB. Analysis of these data gives conclusions about combustion phasing for optimal spark timing for maximum break torque (MBT) and normalized rate for heat release. Additionally, susceptibility of 20% and 60% butanol-gasoline blends on combustion knock was investigated. Simultaneously, comparison between these fuels and pure gasoline in the above areas was investigated. Finally, on the basis of these conclusions, characteristic of these fuel blends as substitutes of gasoline for a series production engine were discussed. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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