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Experimental and simulation investigation of


the combustion characteristics and emissions
using n-butanol/biodiesel dual-fuel injection
on a diesel engine
ARTICLE in ENERGY SEPTEMBER 2014
Impact Factor: 4.84 DOI: 10.1016/j.energy.2014.07.041

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Energy 74 (2014) 741e752

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Energy
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/energy

Experimental and simulation investigation of the combustion


characteristics and emissions using n-butanol/biodiesel dual-fuel
injection on a diesel engine
Haifeng Liu a, Xin Wang a, Zunqing Zheng a, *, Jingbo Gu a, Hu Wang b, Mingfa Yao a
a
b

State Key Laboratory of Engines, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, China


Engine Research Center, University of WisconsineMadison, Madison, WI 53705, USA

a r t i c l e i n f o

a b s t r a c t

Article history:
Received 31 December 2013
Received in revised form
24 June 2014
Accepted 16 July 2014
Available online 11 August 2014

The combustion and emissions of n-butanol/biodiesel dual-fuel injection were investigated on a diesel
engine based on experiments and simulations. n-Butanol was injected into the intake port, while soybean biodiesel was directly injected into the cylinder. Three different premixed ratios (rp) were investigated, including 80%, 85% and 90%. The injection timings of biodiesel were adjusted to keep the 50%
burn point (CA50) between 2 CA and 10 CA after top dead center for achieving stable operation. The
EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) rates were changed from 35% to 45%. Results demonstrate that the same
CA50 can be achieved by the early or late-injection of biodiesel. For both early- and late-injection, the
auto-ignition is triggered by the biodiesel reaction. Increasing premixed ratios can retard the combustion
phasing and reduce the pressure rise rate, while the indicated thermal efciency (ITE) reduces by about
0.6% as increasing rp to 90%. The early-injection has lower NOx emissions compared to the late-injection
due to lower combustion temperature. The soot emissions are comparable for both early- and lateinjection. With the increase of EGR, the NOx and soot emissions decrease, while the HC (hydrocarbons) and CO (carbon monoxide) emissions increase. The ITE reduces by 1e2% as increasing EGR to 45%.
2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords:
n-Butanol
Biodiesel
Dual-fuel injection
Combustion
Emissions

1. Introduction
Diesel engines are widely used in transportation, agriculture
and engineering machinery due to its reliability and high efciency.
However, they contribute signicantly to carbon dioxide and
harmful emissions and consume large amounts of fossil oil.
Therefore, the development of diesel engines faces the challenges
of energy and environment in the future. Advanced combustion
techniques and the application of biofuels are promising ways to
meet these challenges.
Biofuels derived from renewable resources are considered as the
sustainable alternative to conventional fossil fuels [1,2]. At present,
biodiesel is the primary alternative to diesel due to their similar fuel
properties [3]. Investigation on engine test demonstrated that
biodiesel-fueled engines could reduce emissions of hydrocarbons
(HC), carbon monoxide (CO) and particulate matter (PM), however
nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions and the brake specic fuel consumption were increased slightly [4e6]. Meanwhile, the

* Corresponding author. Tel.: 86 22 27406842x8013; fax: 86 22 2738 3362.


E-mail address: zhengzunqing@tju.edu.cn (Z. Zheng).
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.energy.2014.07.041
0360-5442/ 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

fundamental spay and ame propagation of biodiesel fuel has also


been studied on constant-volume chamber to deeply understand
the mixing and combustion process at different ambient conditions
[3,7,8]. Due to the wide application of biodiesel on engines, the
chemical kinetic models have been developed rapidly in past ten
years. The whole development trend is from small alkyl esters (up
to 5 carbons) to large alkyl esters (up to 19 carbons) and from single
surrogate to a mixture of surrogates [9,10]. For example, the kinetic
model of small alkyl ester of methyl butanoate (C5H10O2) was
developed by Fisher et al. [11]. After that, Metcalfe et al. [12] and
Dooley et al. [13] improved the kinetic model of methyl butanoate.
Then, with the further development on models, large alkyl esters
have been developed in recent years, such as methyl hexanoate
(C7H14O2) [14], methyl decanoate (C11H22O2) [15], methyl stearate
(C19H38O2) and methyl oleate (C19H36O2) [16]. Apart from the single
surrogate, some mixture have been proposed to represent the real
biodiesel, such as the blends of n-heptane and methyl butanoate
[17] and the mixture of methyl stearate (C19H38O2), methyl oleate
(C19H36O2), methyl linoleate (C19H34O2), methyl linolenate
(C19H32O2) and methyl palmitate (C17H34O2) [18]. Another class of
biofuel used in diesel engines is alcohols, such as ethanol and nbutanol [19,20]. Studies indicated that the blends of alcohol and

742

H. Liu et al. / Energy 74 (2014) 741e752

diesel could reduce emissions of NOx, soot and CO simultaneously


[21e23], while HC emissions the brake specic fuel consumption
were increased [24,25]. In comparison with ethanol, n-butanol is a
more promising alcohol for application in diesel engines due to its
higher heating value, good intersolubility with diesel and no
corrosion to existing fuel pipelines [26,27]. Due to the above advantages in fuel properties, the fundamental spay and ame
propagation of the blend of n-butanol and diesel fuel has also been
studied on constant-volume chamber and optical engines to deeply
understand the mixing and combustion process [28,29]. Meanwhile, many different chemical kinetic model of n-butanol has been
proposed in recent years, including Refs. [30e32], and the kinetic
models of diesel and n-butanol blends have also been developed by
Saisirirat et al. [33] and Wang et al. [34]. In addition, to improve the
intersolubility between diesel and alcohols, some studies consider
biodiesel as an additive to stabilize ethanol/diesel and n-butanol/
diesel blends [35] and the combustion and emissions as fuelling
biodieselealcoholediesel blends have been investigated by Sukjit
et al. [36] and Yoshimoto et al. [37]. Alcohol/biodiesel blend were
also investigated in diesel engines because the disadvantage of
worse cold ow behavior and higher viscosity for biodiesel and the
lower cetane number for alcohols could be offset and properties of
blends are similar to conventional diesel fuel [38,39]. Accordingly,
the kinetic model based on biodieselealcohol has also been
developed by Togbe et al. [40].
In the recent 10 years, some advanced combustion modes, such
as homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI), premixed
charge compression ignition (PCCI), low temperature combustion
(LTC), etc., have obtained tremendous attention. These new combustion modes can provide both good fuel economy and very low
emissions of NOx and PM, but the auto-ignition timing is very hard to
control and the operating range is limited [41]. To control the ignition timing and extend the operating range, many methods have
been proposed, including advanced injection strategies, intake
temperature control, higher boost pressure, variable valve actuation
and varying fuel properties [42e44]. Among these, fuel property is a
quite important control parameter to these advanced combustion
modes. Many fuels have been used to control the auto-ignition
timing and extend the load range in advanced combustion modes,
including diesel [42], gasoline [43], dimethyl ether [44], biodiesel
[5], ethanol [45], n-butanol [27], 2,5-dimethylfuran [46], etc.
However, in the view of ignition control and load extension, a
high cetane number fuel is suitable for low loads and cold start due
to its easier auto-ignition ability, while a high octane number fuel is
preferable for high loads due to its anti-knock ability [47].
Furthermore, the optimum octane number which can achieve the
highest thermal efciency needs to be varied as the engine load
changes [47]. To achieve the above targets, an effective method is
the use of a dual-fuel injection system. In the dual-fuel system, two
selected fuels have the opposite auto-ignition characteristics. For
example, a high cetane number fuel is used to improve autoignition characteristics, while a high octane number fuel is used
to suppress auto-ignition. Then, the needed fuel properties can be
achieved by changing the ratio of two fuels according to the
different engine loads. Some previous studies have shown that the
HCCI combustion process can be exibly controlled and the operating range can be extended by dual-fuel port-injection systems
[48e50]. The dual-fuel injection system can also be composed of
direct-injection and port-injection. One fuel with high cetane
number is directly injected into the cylinder, while the other liquid
fuel with high octane number and low boiling point or a high octane number gas fuel is injected into the intake port, which is
named as reactivity controlled compression ignition (RCCI) [51,52],
premixed compression ignition (PCI) [53], or just called dual-fuel
combustion system [54,55]. In addition, some studies have

investigated the opposite combination in fuel properties in dualfuel system, such as injecting high cetane number fuel at the
intake port followed by the direct-injection of a high octane
number fuel [56] or just using a single fuel of
gasolineegasoline DTBP (di-tert butyl peroxide cetane improver)
[57]. In these dual-fuel injection systems, it includes not only the
variation of fuel properties but also the variation of charge stratication as the injection timing is changed. The charge stratication
has been seen as an effective method to control the ignition timing
and extend the operating range [58,59]. Therefore, the dual-fuel
strategy consisting of port- and direct-injection has more advantages than those of single-fuel or dual-fuel port-injection owing to
the cooperated control of fuel properties and charge stratication.
In fact, the dual-fuel injection system has been widely studied in
conventional mechanical pump diesel engine using the portinjection methanol [60] or gasoline [61e63] or two-stroke cycle
engines [64] to reduce soot and NOx emissions and increase thermal efciency. For the current common-rail injection system, it can
offer exible injection strategies and thus form the needed charge
stratication. Therefore, the current dual-fuel system should have
more advantages than the conventional mechanical pump dualfuel system and the combustion and emission characteristics
need to be a new awareness in the current engine technology.
In previous studies, Chen et al. [65] investigated the effect of nbutanol volume fractions (0e65%) and EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) rates (15% and 45%) on combustion and emissions on a dualfuel system with port-injection of n-butanol and direct-injection of
diesel fuel. They found that n-butanol fractions and EGR have a
coupled impact on combustion process, and the dual-fuel system
could simultaneously reduce both NOx and soot emission to a very
low level. Soloiu et al. [66,67] investigated the effects of port fuel
injection of n-butanol and direct-injection of biodiesel on combustion and emissions at idling and low loads (<5 bar IMEP (indicated mean effective pressures)). They found that soot and NOx
emissions reduced by ~90% and ~50%, respectively, and clean idling
technology could be developed based on this dual-fuel system. In
the current study, the effects of different control parameters such as
n-butanol premixed ratios, injection timings, and EGR rates on
combustion, emissions and performance were investigated on a
dual-fuel system with port-injection of n-butanol and directinjection of diesel fuel. Meanwhile, a reduced chemical kinetic
model of n-butanol/biodiesel dual-fuel was coupled into the
computational uid dynamics (CFD) model to reveal the mechanism of combustion and emissions.
2. Experimental setup and methods
A six-cylinder diesel engine was modied to operate in one
cylinder only. This arrangement gave a robust and inexpensive
single-cylinder engine, but at the cost of the reliability of the brake
specic results. With a pressure transducer, the gross indicated
mean effective pressure during the compression and expansion
strokes only was calculated, which means that the effect of supercharging on the gas exchange process was absent. The detailed
specications are shown in Table 1. Fig. 1 illustrates the experimental setup. The intake air was provided by the external
compressor and air-conditioning system. The intake temperature
was kept at 25  C and intake absolute pressure was kept at
0.18 MPa. The rates of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) were
controlled by adjusting the EGR valve and EGR rates were changed
from 35% to 45%. Under steady operating conditions, the EGR rate
was calculated by the concentrations of carbon dioxide in intake
and exhaust gas. The in-cylinder pressure was measured with a
pressure transducer (Kistler 6125B). A charge amplier (Kistler
5018 A1003) was connected with the pressure transducer to

H. Liu et al. / Energy 74 (2014) 741e752


Table 1
Engine specications.
Bore  stroke
Displacement
Rated engine speed
Connecting road length
Number of valves
Compression ratio
Swirl ratio
Combustion chamber
Bowl volume
Intake valve open timinga
Intake valve close timinga
Exhaust valve open timinga
Exhaust valve close timinga
a

743

Table 2
Fuel properties of gasoline, diesel, n-butanol, and biodiesel [16,20].
105  125 mm
1081.8 mL
2500 r/min
210 mm
4
16:1
1.6
Bowl in piston
61.6 mL
343  CA ATDC
133  CA BTDC
125  CA ATDC
343  CA BTDC

0  CA is taken to be top dead center compression.

convert charge to voltage. The cylinder pressure was recorded in


half crank-angle increments, triggered by an optical shaft encoder
(Kistler 2614A4). At each operating point, 100 pressure cycles were
recorded.
The dual-fuel injection was composed of port-injection of nbutanol and direct-injection of soybean biodiesel. The fuel properties are listed in Table 2. An electronic port fuel injector (Delphi)
was installed in the intake port. An electronic controller was used
to control both injection timing and injected fuel mass ow. The
port-injection timing was maintained at intake valve close to provide the homogeneous charge. Soybean biodiesel was directly
injected into the cylinder by a common-rail injection system
(Bosch). The injection timing was varied to form the different
charge stratications in the cylinder. The ow-rate for port- and
direct-injection fuel was measured by fuel consumption meters
(AVL 733S) with gravity scale. The specications of the port and
common-rail injection system are listed in Table 3.
Gaseous emissions were measured by a gas analyzer (HORIBA
MEXA 7100DEGR), which measured total hydrocarbon by a method
of hydrogen ame ionization, CO and CO2 by non-dispersive
infrared and NOx by a chemiluminescent analyzer. Soot was
measured by a lter paper smoke meter (AVL 415S). The indicated
specic dry soot (unit: g/kW h) was calculated through the
following formula [68]:

Molecular formula
Cetane number
Octane number
Oxygen content (wt. %)
Density (g/mL)
Auto-ignition
temperature ( C)
Flash point ( C) at
closed cup
Lower heating value
(MJ/kg)
Boiling point ( C)
Stoichiometric ratio
Latent heating (kJ/kg)
at 25  C
Viscosity (Pa s) at 20  C

Gasoline

Diesel

n-Butanol

Biodiesel

C4eC12
0e10
80e99
e
0.72e0.78
~300

C12eC25
40e55
20e30
e
0.82e0.86
~210

C4H9OH
25
96
21.6
0.81
385

C12eC24
47
e
10
0.885
363

45 to 38

65e88

35

166

42.7

42.5

33.1

37.5

25e215
14.7
380e500

180e370
14.3
270

117.7
11.21
582

262e359
12.5
200

0.5e0.6

2.8e5.0

3.64

4.11
(at 40  C)

.
soot 1 0:405  5:32  FSN  e0:3062FSN  0:001
.

1:2929  Pi
 mair mfuel

(1)

where FSN is the lter smoke number, mair and mfuel denote air and
fuel mass ow (kg/h), respectively, and Pi denotes indicated power
(kW).
In this study, all tests were conducted at the engine speed of
1500 r/min. The cooling water and lubricating oil temperature were
kept at 85 2  C and 95 2  C, respectively. Other uncertainties of
the measurement instruments have been shown in Table 4. At each
tested point, the engine was run for several minutes until the
controlled and measured parameters were stable. Then, the results
of combustion pressures, emissions and performance were recorded for the off-line analysis.

3. Description of chemical kinetics and computational uid


dynamics (CFD) model
The multi-dimensional CFD (KIVA-3vr2 code) was used to
investigate the combustion and emissions mechanisms. The
reduced chemical kinetic model of n-butanol/biodiesel dual-fuel
was coupled into the CFD model. In this reduced kinetic model,
the methyl decanoate (MD) was used as the biodiesel surrogate.
The previous study has showed that the MD was a good biodiesel
surrogate due to the similar characteristics in combustion and
emissions [69]. Then, the detailed MD kinetic model proposed by
Herbinet et al. [15] was reduced by the method of direct reaction
graph, path ux analysis and sensitivity analysis. A skeletal mechanism including 116 species and 517 reactions was achieved and the
detailed reduced process and validation can be found in Ref. [69].

Table 3
Specications for port and common-rail injection system.
Port-injection

Direct-injection
Fig. 1. Engine setup. 1, Compressor; 2, bypass valve; 3, air ow meter; 4, air tank; 5,
intake cooler; 6, EGR valve; 7, EGR cooler; 8, one-way valve; 9, port injector; 10, direct
injector; 11, pressure transducer; 12, charge amplier; 13, encoder; 14, backpressure
valve; 15, smoke meter; 16, exhaust analyzer.

Number of holes
Included spray angle
Steady ow-rate
Injection pressure
Number of holes
Included spray angle
Hole diameter
Steady ow-rate at 100 bar
Injection pressure
Electronic control unit

4
15
700 mL/min
0.3 MPa
8
150
0.15 mm
500 mL/30 s
100 MPa
EDC7 (BOSCH)

744

H. Liu et al. / Energy 74 (2014) 741e752

Table 4
Uncertainties of the measurement instruments.
Instrument

Uncertainties

Resolution/
sensitivity

Gaseous analyzer (HORIBA MEXA


7100DEGR)
Smoke meter (AVL 415S)

0.5% full scale

1 ppm

0.005 FSN 3% of
measured value
<1%
<1%

0.001 FSN
16 pC/bar
0.1 m3/h

<1%
1 kPa

0.01 kg/h
0.1 kPa

1  C

0.1  C

Inecylinder pressure (Kistler 6125B)


Air ow meter (vortex shedding ow
meter)
Fuel ow meter (AVL 733S)
Intake gas pressure (pressure
transmitter)
Intake gas temperature (k-type
thermocouple)

The reduced kinetic mechanism for n-butanol and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) proposed by Wang et al. [34] was used in
the current study. Finally, the reduced dual-fuel kinetic mechanism
including 157 chemical species and 641 elementary reactions and
the detailed reduced process and validation can be found in
Ref. [70]. The turbulence model of RNG ke was used to simulate
the turbulent characteristics in the cylinder. Spray droplet breakup
was modeled by KelvineHelmholtz and RayleigheTaylor model.
For the emission's models, NOx emissions were simulated by a
reduced NOx mechanism that was derived from the Gas Research
Institute NO mechanism [71], while soot emissions were simulated
by a multi-step phenomenological soot model and the polycyclic
aromatic hydrocarbons were used as the soot precursor [72].
The geometry of combustion chamber and computational grids
used for the simulations are shown in Fig. 2. The fuel injector is
center-located and has eight holes. In order to improve the
computational efciency, a sector of 45 was calculated from intake
valve close to exhaust valve open. The cell numbers of the engine at
bottom dead center were about 9500. Fig. 3 shows the comparison
of cylinder pressure and heat release rate between experiment and
simulation at early-injection (30 CA ATDC) and late-injection
(9 CA ATDC). It can be seen that the CFD simulations can reproduce the experimental combustion pressures and heat release rates.

4. Results and discussion


4.1. Effects of premixed ratios and injection timings on combustion
characteristics
In this paper, the premixed ratio (rp) was dened as the ratio of
cycle energy of premixed fuel to total energy which included premixed fuel and directly injected fuel. The rp can be calculated using
the following formula:

rp

Qp
m_ p LHVp
 100%
Qt
m_ p LHVp m_ d LHVd  100%

(2)

where m_ is the fuel mass ow-rate and the unit is mg/cycle, and
LHV represents the lower heating value of the fuel and the unit is J/
mg. The subscripts p and d denote premixed and directly injected
fuel, respectively. The previous dual-fuel study has showed that
lower NOx and soot emissions were obtained at higher rp condition.
Meanwhile, a higher rp could also reduce the pressure rise rate,
which is benecial to extend the engine load [51]. Therefore, three
high premixed ratios, 80%, 85% and 90% were controlled, while the
EGR rate was kept at 35% in this part. It should be noted that the
corresponding premixed fuel mass ratios were 84%, 88% and 92%
due to the lower heating value of n-butanol, while the calculated rp

Fig. 2. The geometry of combustion chamber and computational mesh at 30 CA


ATDC.

based on Eq. (2) were used in this work. The overall energy injected
per cycle was constant for different injection strategies and the
mass ow of total fuel was kept at 60 mg of equivalent biodiesel.
The equivalent biodiesel means that the mass ow of n-butanol in
the total fuel is converted to biodiesel mass ow according to the
lower heating value. The total mass ow of equivalent biodiesel can
be calculated using the following formula:

Total mass flow m_ p

LHVp
m_ d
LHVd

(3)

The symbolic meaning and unit in Eq. (3) is the same as Eq. (2).
Accordingly, the direct-injection of biodiesel mass was 12 mg, 9 mg
and 6 mg. Due to the same energy input in each cycle, the indicated
mean effective pressures (IMEP) were roughly kept at 0.95 MPa
(56% load of the original engine) for tested cases.
Fig. 4 shows the effects of premixed ratios and injection timings
on the combustion phase, maximum pressure rise rate (MPRR) and
coefcient of variation (COV) in IMEP. The combustion phasing is
represented as the 50% burn point (CA50). The location of CA50
greatly inuences the performance, emissions, mechanical load of
diesel engines. In this study, the CA50 was controlled between 2  CA
and 10  CA after top dead center (ATDC) by varying injection timings. It can be seen that the CA50 is initially advanced, and then is
delayed as the injection timing retards. A same CA50 can be achieved by the early or late-injection of biodiesel, so the injection
strategy can be divided into early-injection and late-injection according to the different injection timings. The discontinuous curves
can be seen as the rp decreasing to 80e85%, which is due to the
limitation of MPRR. For example, as the injection timing is delayed
from 43  CA to 35  CA under the rp of 80%, the MPRR increases
from 0.4 to 1.0 MPa/ CA. For this experimental engine, the limitation
on the maximum allowable pressure rise rate is 1.0 MPa/ CA, beyond
which combustion tends to become knocky. Therefore, the higherpressure rise rate constrains the range of injection timings. However, as the injection timing is later than 10 CA ATDC, the MPRR is
lower than the limitation of 1.0 MPa/ CA again and the MPRR reduces with the delay of injection timing. The reduced pressure rise
rate should be attributed to the retard of CA50. With greater CA50
retard, the rate of expansion due to piston motion increases, which
results in the lower combustion temperature and the slowed pressure rise rate. However, even though retarding CA50 is an effective
method to reduce pressure rise rates and extend operating loads, the
retard of CA50 is limited by poor cycle-to-cycle stability. In this
study, as the CA50 is delayed over 10  CA ATDC, the COV increases
and results in potentially unstable combustion. This result is

H. Liu et al. / Energy 74 (2014) 741e752

745

Fig. 3. Comparison between the measured and computed cylinder pressure and heat release rate under early-injection (30 CA ATDC) and late-injection (9 CA ATDC). The
premixed ratio of n-butanol was 85% and the EGR rate was 35%.

consistent to the previous study which reported that the combustion phasing could not be retarded beyond 10e15  CA ATDC [41].
Therefore, to maintain the CA50 between 2  CA and 10  CA ATDC, the
injection timings of biodiesel are limited by the COV and MPRR for
this dual-fuel combustion system.
Fig. 5 shows the effects of injection timings on the in-cylinder
pressure, apparent heat release rate (AHRR), pressure rise rate
(PRR) and mean gas temperature. As to the early-injection, Fig. 5a
shows that the combustion process presents a single-stage high
temperature heat release (HTHR). For early-injection cases, the
kinetic simulation in Fig. 6a shows that biodiesel was not consumed
directly after injection. With the piston moving up, the in-cylinder
temperature and pressure increases and biodiesel fuel starts to be
consumed and the H2O2 starts to form at about 17  CA ATDC.
Subsequently, the mole fraction of biodiesel continually reduces
and is consumed completely at 2  CA ATDC. Meanwhile, the
obvious heat release can be seen in Fig. 5a and a large amount of OH

Fig. 4. The combustion phase, maximum pressure rise rate (MPRR), and coefcient of
variation (COV) under different premixed ratios and injection timings, the EGR rate
was kept at 35%. (a) Early-injection. (b) Late-injection.

is formed. After, n-butanol starts to be consumed at about 2  CA


ATDC and the whole consumption of n-butanol is very fast
between 2  CA and 5  CA ATDC, which results in the intense heat
release process as shown in Fig. 5a. In addition, it can also be seen
that with the retard of injection timing, the ignition timing advances, the peak of in-cylinder pressure, PRR and mean gas temperature increase. As injection timing retards, more stratied
mixture can be formed due to the shorter mixing time. The previous study has reported that the stratication increased the local
equivalence ratio and formed more fuel-rich regions, which made
the auto-ignition much easier under the relative homogeneous lean
conditions [73]. Therefore, the auto-ignition timing was advanced
with the increase of mixture stratication.
As to the late-injection, Fig. 5b shows that the combustion
process presents a two-stage high temperature heat release (HTHR)
and the ignition timing is retarded with the delay of injection
timing. The peaks of in-cylinder pressure, PRR and mean gas temperature decrease with the retard of injection timing. The kinetic
simulation in Fig. 6b shows that biodiesel was consumed directly
after injection due to the high pressure and temperature near the
top dead center under late-injection conditions. Subsequently, the
mole fraction of biodiesel reduces much quickly than that of earlyinjection case and is consumed completely at 0  CA ATDC. Meanwhile, the peak of rst-stage heat release as shown in Fig. 5b was
located at 0  CA ATDC and n-butanol just starts to be consumed at
top dead center. Therefore, the rst-state stage HTHR mainly comes
from the combustion of biodiesel. After, the rst-stage of HTHR
triggers the remainder mixture to burn and results in a higher
second stage of HTHR. Further, it can be noted that the rst peak of
AHRR is nearly consistent with different injection timings, while
the second peak of AHRR decreases with the retard of injection
timing. As the biodiesel mass ow decreases, the rst-state HTHR
reduces as shown in Fig. 7, which again demonstrates that the rststage HTHR should mainly come from the combustion of biodiesel.
In addition, compared to the early-injection, the pressure rise rates
of late-injection demonstrate two peaks. Furthermore, the second
peak of PRR is higher than that of rst one, which indicates that the
MPRR of late-injection is caused by the fast heat release of premixed n-butanol fuel during the second stage HTHR. Based on the
above discussion, it can be found that the biodiesel is consumed
rstly for both early and late-injection. Then, n-butanol starts to
take part in the reaction as biodiesel is nearly fully consumed.
Furthermore, as the OH radical starts to be formed, the consumed
n-butanol is quite limited. Therefore the auto-ignition at the current condition was trigged by the reaction of biodiesel.
Fig. 7 shows the effects of premixed ratios on the in-cylinder
pressure, AHRR, PRR and mean gas temperature. The combustion

-30 / 85%

320
240

160
80

0.8
0.4
0.0
-0.4
1600
1400
1200
1000
-15

-10

-5

10

15

20

800
30

25

Crank Angle ( CA ATDC)

10

-11 / 85%

400

-9 / 85%

320

-7 / 85%

240

160
80

0.8

Injection timing/ rp

Heat release rate J/ CA

-32.5 / 85%

12

0.4
0.0
-0.4
1600
1400
1200
1000
-15

-10

-5

10

15

20

800
30

25

Crank Angle ( CA ATDC)

(a) early-injection

Mean gas temperature (K)

400

-36 / 85%

Pressure rise rate (MPa/ CA)

Injection timing/ rp

Heat release rate J/ CA

10

Mean gas temperature (K)

Pressure rise rate (MPa/ CA)

12

In-cylinder pressure (MPa)

H. Liu et al. / Energy 74 (2014) 741e752


In-cylinder pressure (MPa)

746

(b) late-injection

Fig. 5. The in-cylinder pressure, heat release rate, pressure rise rate, and mean gas temperature under different injection timings, the EGR rate was kept at 35%. (a) Early-injection
(30 CA ATDC). (b) Late-injection (9 CA ATDC).

phasing is retarded with the increase of rp due to the lower global


fuel reactivity. Then, the retarded combustion phasing reduces the
level of constant-volume combustion, which results in the lower
combustion temperature, pressure and AHRR under higher premixed ratios conditions. The relatively slow heat release prolongs
the combustion duration and decreases MPRR for higher rp case. To
further reveal the effect of premixed ratios on the combustion
processes, Fig. 8 shows the in-cylinder pressure and AHRR under
early-injection and late-injection conditions with the same CA50. It
shows that the combustion pressure and AHRR at the rp of 85% are
nearly consistent to those of 80% case. However, as the rp increases
to 90%, the combustion characteristics are different to those of
lower premixed ratios. At the rp of 90%, the heat release rate is
slowed, the peak value of AHRR is reduced and the combustion
duration is prolonged. The higher premixed ratio results in more nbutanol in the cylinder, which reduces the fuel reactivity and reaction rate, leading to the longer combustion duration.

The combustion efciency is evaluated from the exhaust gas


composition. The gross indicated thermal efciency is evaluated by
measuring the fuel ow and the indicated mean effective pressure
during the compression and expansion strokes only. This means
that the effect of supercharging caused by the external air
compressor on the gas exchange process is absent.
It can be seen that the combustion efciency and ITE increase
rstly and then decrease with the retard of injection timing. The
earlier or later injection timings result in the delay of CA50, the
lower combustion temperature and the lower degree of constantvolume combustion, and thus the combustion efciency and ITE
are reduced. Compared to the lower rp, the higher rp leads to more
n-butanol entering into the crevices where the fuel cannot be fully
oxidized. Therefore, the combustion efciency decreases with the
increase of rp. The ITE is comparable for both 80% and 85% of rp,
while the ITE reduces by about 0.6% as increasing rp to 90%. In
addition, Fig. 9 also shows that the early-injection has a little higher
ITE compared to the late-injection.

Fig. 9 shows the effects of premixed ratios and injection timings


on the combustion efciency and ITE (indicated thermal efciency).

Fig. 10 shows the effects of premixed ratios and injection timings


on the NOx, soot, HC and CO emissions. The NOx emissions increase

10

-2

10

-3

10

-4

MD
NB
OH
H2O2

-30

-20
-10
0 o 10
20
Crank Angle ( CA ATDC)

30

(a) Early-injection (-30CA ATDC)

Mole fraction

4.3. Effects of premixed ratios and injection timings on emissions

Mole fraction

4.2. Effects of premixed ratios and injection timings on combustion


efciency and indicated thermal efciency (ITE)

10

-2

10

-3

10

-4

MD
NB
OH
H2O2

-30

-20
-10
0
10
20
o
Crank Angle ( CA ATDC)

30

(b) Late-injection (-9CA ATDC)

Fig. 6. The mole fractions of fuels, OH radical and H2O2 at different injection timings (MD, methyl decanoate; NB, n-butanol).

H. Liu et al. / Energy 74 (2014) 741e752

-7 / 85%

400
6

320
240

160
80

0.8

Heat release rate J/ CA

-7 / 90%

96
95
94
93
rp=80%

92

rp=85%

91

48.0

rp=90%

47.5
47.0
46.5

0.4

46.0

-0.4
1600
1400
1200
1000
-15

-10

-5

10

15

20

25

800
30

Crank Angle ( CA ATDC)

Fig. 7. The in-cylinder pressure, heat release rate, pressure rise rate, and mean gas
temperature under different premixed ratios, the EGR rate was kept at 35%.

with the retard of injection timing under early-injection conditions.


Retarding injection results in the increase of charge stratication
and the combustion temperature, thus the NOx emissions increase.
However, the NOx emissions decrease with the delay of injection
timing under late-injection conditions, which is attributed to the

45.5
-45

-40 -35 -30 -25 -20 -15 -10


-5
Injection timing of biodiesel ( CA ATDC)

45.0

Fig. 9. The combustion efciency and indicated thermal efciency under different
premixed ratios and injection timings, the EGR rate was kept at 35%.

retard of combustion phasing and the lower combustion temperature. Compared to the late-injection, the early-injection can achieve lower NOx emissions, which is due to the fact that the more
homogeneous mixture formed in early-injection results in less local
high temperature zones as shown in Fig. 11. Furthermore, the
simulation results in Fig. 11 also show that the regions of high NOx
emissions are agreement with the high temperature zones.
Compared to early-injection, the late-injection has wider high
temperature zones in the cylinder and thus the higher NOx
emissions.

2.0
1.6
1.2
0.8
0.4
0.0

Injection timing / rp

10

rp=90%

-43 / 80%
o

-36 / 85%

320
240

160
80

12

0
Injection timing / rp

0.008
0.006
0.004
0.002
7

0.000

6
5

CA50=9.0 CA

10

0.010
Soot (g/kW.h)

400

-23 / 90%

Heat release rate J/ CA

-5 / 80%

4
3

-6 / 85%
o

-8 / 90%

400
6

320
240

160
80

-15

-10

-5

10

15

20

25

0
30

15

CO (g/kW h)

In-Cylinder Pressure (MPa)

rp=85%

CA50=8.5 CA

Heat release rate J/ CA

In-Cylinder Pressure (MPa)

rp=80%

HC (g/kW.h)

0.0

12

Indicated thermal efficiency (%)

97

NOx (g/kW h)

-7 / 80%
10

Mean gas temperature (K)

Pressure rise rate (MPa/ CA)


In-cylinder pressure (MPa)

Combustion efficiency (%)

Injection timing/rp

12

747

12
9
6
3

-45 -40 -35 -30 -25 -20 -15 -10

-5

Injection timing of biodiesel ( CA ATDC)

Crank Angle ( CA ATDC)


Fig. 8. The in-cylinder pressure and heat release rate under early-injection and lateinjection conditions with the same CA50, the EGR rate was kept at 35%.

Fig. 10. The NOx, soot, HC and CO emissions under different premixed ratios and injection timings, the EGR rate was kept at 35%. The equivalence ratio was approximately
0.478 at this case.

748

H. Liu et al. / Energy 74 (2014) 741e752

Fig. 11. The simulation results of NOx and temperature distribution in the cylinder at different injection timings of biodiesel.

The quite low soot emissions (<0.01 g/kW h) are achieved in this
study. This result can be attributed to the following reasons. On one
hand, the dual-fuel combustion system offers more homogeneous
mixture, which leads to the decrease of the local high temperature
and high equivalence ratio zones. On the other hand, the oxygen in
n-butanol and biodiesel can suppress the soot formation. The soot
emissions of late-injection are comparable with those of earlyinjection cases, although the late-injection has stronger charge
stratication. The simulation results of soot and equivalence ratio
distribution and soot formation and oxidation processes are shown
in Fig. 12. It can be seen that the early-injection has lower soot
formation due to the more homogeneous distribution of equivalence ratios. For the late-injection, it results in higher soot formation due to the more local fuel-rich regions. However, the higher
combustion temperature increases the soot oxidation under lateinjection case, which makes the soot emissions under lateinjection conditions quite low either.

The HC and CO emissions decrease rstly and then increase with


the retard of injection timing. The earlier or later injection timings
result in the retard of CA50 and the lower degree of constantvolume combustion and thus the lower combustion temperature,
which is disadvantageous to the oxidation of HC and CO. Compared
to the lower rp, the higher rp leads to more n-butanol entering into
the crevices where the fuel cannot be fully oxidized and thus has
the higher HC and CO emissions. Fig. 13 shows the simulation results of CO distribution in the cylinder. Even though the time of CO
formation is different for early and late-injection, the main CO
emissions come from the near wall region due to the lower temperature in these regions. Furthermore, compared to earlyinjection, the late-injection has higher CO emissions. The distribution of biodiesel fuel concentrates on the center of combustion
chamber for late-injection case, which results in that the radicals
provided by biodiesel combustion cannot react with n-butanol
completely. Therefore, more n-butanol near wall regions cannot be

Fig. 12. The simulation results of soot and equivalence ratio distribution in the cylinder and the soot formation and oxidation process at different injection timings of biodiesel.

H. Liu et al. / Energy 74 (2014) 741e752

749

36
30
24
18
12
EGR=35%
EGR=40%
EGR=45%

24
22
20
18
16
14
12

-45

-40 -35 -30 -25 -20 -15 -10


-5
Injection timing of biodiesel ( CA ATDC)

10

Combustion duration ( CA)

Ignition delay ( CA)

42

Fig. 14. The ignition delay and combustion duration under different EGR rates and
injection timings, the premixed ratio was kept at 85%.

Fig. 13. The simulation results of CO distribution in the cylinder at different injection
timings of biodiesel.

oxidized completely and leads to higher CO emissions at lateinjection case.


As a whole, the early-injection has more advantages than those
of late-injection due to its lower NOx emissions and the comparable
or lower HC, CO and soot emissions. For the effects of premixed
ratios under early-injection conditions, the NOx, HC and CO emissions increase with the increase of rp at a given CA50, while the soot
emissions are comparable with different rp cases. Therefore,
considering the compromise between engine performance and
emissions, the early-injection has more advantages than the lateinjection, while the rp of 85% has better results compared to
other premixed ratios.

emissions of the late-injection decrease with the increase of EGR


rates. At 45% EGR, the NOx emissions of late-injection are comparable with the early-injection. The soot emissions decrease with the
increase of EGR rates. The decrease of soot emissions should be due
to the longer ignition delay under higher EGR rates as shown in
Fig. 14, which can improve the mixing process of biodiesel and
reduce the over-rich zones. However, HC and CO emissions increase
with the increase of EGR rates. The increasing EGR rates results in
the decrease of combustion temperature, which is disadvantageous
to the oxidation of HC and CO. The higher HC and CO emissions
result in the lower combustion efciency under higher EGR rates as
shown in Fig. 15.
To investigate the potential of high load extension, the injected
fuel mass ow was increased in this part until the combustion
achieving to knocking limit. The injection timing was controlled at
late-injection due to it has larger anti-knocking based on previous
studies. Fig. 17 shows the maximum gross IMEP, CA50, soot and NOx

97
96
95
94
93
EGR=35%
EGR=40%
EGR=45%

92
91

48.0
47.5
47.0
46.5
46.0
45.5

-45

-40 -35 -30 -25 -20 -15 -10


-5
Injection timing of biodiesel ( CA ATDC)

45.0

Indicated thermal efficiency (%)

In this section, the premixed ratio was kept at 85% and the total
equivalent biodiesel mass was also kept at 60 mg per cycle. The EGR
rates were changed from 35% to 45%. The CA50 was also controlled
between 2  CA and 10  CA ATDC. Fig. 14 shows the ignition delay
and combustion duration at different EGR rates and injection timings. At early-injection conditions, different EGR rates have little
effect on ignition delay, while EGR rates have larger effects on
ignition delay at late-injection conditions and higher EGR rates
result in the longer ignition delay. With the increase of EGR rates,
the combustion reaction rate reduces and the combustion duration
increases. Fig. 15 shows the combustion efciency and gross indicated thermal efciency (ITE). With the increase of EGR rates, the
combustion efciency reduces. Increased EGR rates results in the
decrease of combustion temperature and thus partial fuel cannot be
oxidized completely. The ITE is comparable for both 35% and 40%
EGR, while the ITE reduces by 1e2% as increasing EGR to 45%. On
one hand, the decreased combustion efciency results in the
decrease of ITE. On the other hand, the combustion duration is
prolonged under higher EGR rates as shown in Fig. 14, which reduces the degree of constant-volume combustion.
Fig. 16 shows the NOx, soot, HC, and CO emissions at different
EGR rates and injection timings. It can be seen that the NOx

Combustion efficiency (%)

4.4. Effects of EGR on combustion, emissions and load extension

Fig. 15. The combustion efciency and indicated thermal efciency under different
EGR rates and injection timings, the premixed ratio was kept at 85%.

H. Liu et al. / Energy 74 (2014) 741e752

2.0
1.6
1.2
0.8
0.4
0.0

EGR=35%
EGR=40%
EGR=45%

0.008
0.006
0.004
0.002
14

0.000

11
8
5

CO (g/kW h)

20

HC (g/kW.h)

Soot (g/kW.h)

0.010

NOx (g/kW h)

750

16
12
8
4
-45 -40 -35 -30 -25 -20 -15 -10

-5

Injection timing of biodiesel ( CA ATDC)


Fig. 16. The NOx, soot, HC and CO emissions under different EGR rates and injection
timings; the premixed ratio was kept at 85%. The equivalence ratio was approximately
0.478, 0.511, 0.551 at 35%, 40% and 45% EGR rates, respectively.

10
8
6
4
2
0

14
13
12
11
10
9

Knocking point

0.03
0.02

NOx (g/kW h)

0.01
2.5
2.0
1.5
1.0
0.5
0.0
55

0.00

Soot (g/kW.h)

CA50 ( CA)

EGR=35%
EGR=40%

IMEP (bar)

emissions at different fuel mass ow. The maximum IMEP is chosen


from the results of different CA50 and the matching CA50 is also
shown in Fig. 17. To keep the MPRR below the allowable limitation
of 1.0 MPa/ CA, the CA50 achieving to the maximum IMEP retards
with the increase of the equivalent fuel mass ow. The largest
achievable load is 13.48 bar at 40% EGR, which is equal to 80% load

60 65 70 75 80 85 90 95 100
Injection mass of total fuel (mg)

Fig. 17. Large load extension with higher fuel mass ow, the premixed ratio was xed
at 85%.

of the original engine. However, the NOx and soot emissions are
relatively higher at this knocking limit point compared to those of
lower fuel mass ow. If consider the emissions meanwhile, it can be
found that the mass ow at 90 mg has better results which the
IMEP can reach to 12.88 bar (76% load) and the soot and NOx
emission are 0.009 g/kW h and 0.88 g/kW h, respectively. At 35%
EGR, the largest achievable load is 12.19 bar (72% load) and the soot
and NOx emission is 0.016 g/kW h and 0.77 g/kW h, respectively.
Compared to the 35% EGR, the case at 40% EGR can endure a higher
fuel mass ow and keep the low soot emissions. This is due to the
higher EGR rates can prolong the ignition delay and improve the
mixing process. The NOx emissions are also affected by the combustion phasing. It can be seen that the case at 35% EGR has lower
NOx emissions than those of 40% EGR due to the retarding of CA50
at the same fuel mass ow.
Therefore, it can be concluded that the higher EGR rate has more
advantages on extending operating load and reducing NOx and soot
emissions, while the combustion efciency and indicated thermal
efciency decrease using higher EGR rate. Therefore, to obtain the
high efciency and clean combustion process, the cooperated
control is necessary among direct-injection timing, premixed ratio
and EGR rate.
5. Conclusions
The detailed combustion characteristics and emissions of nbutanol/biodiesel dual-fuel injection system were investigated on a
diesel engine based on experiments and simulations. n-Butanol
was injected into the intake port to form premixed charge, while
soybean biodiesel was directly injected into the cylinder. The
different premixed ratios (rp) and EGR rates were investigated. The
injection timings were adjusted to keep the 50% burn point (CA50)
between 2 CA and 10 CA after top dead center for achieving stable
operation. Several conclusions can be drawn from this study.
1. A same CA50 can be achieved by the early or late-injection of
biodiesel. For both early and late-injection, biodiesel is
consumed rstly and triggers the auto-ignition, then n-butanol
starts to take part in the reaction as biodiesel is nearly fully
consumed. As to the early-injection, the combustion process
presents a single-stage high temperature heat release (HTHR).
With the retard of injection timing, the ignition timing advances, the peak of in-cylinder pressure and pressure rise rate
(PRR) increase. As to the late-injection, the combustion process
presents a two-stage HTHR and the rst-state HTHR mainly
comes from the combustion of biodiesel fuel. With the retard of
injection timing, the ignition timing delays, the peak of incylinder pressure and PRR decrease. Increasing the premixed
ratios can retard the combustion phasing and reduce the cylinder pressure and PRR.
2. The combustion efciency and indicated thermal efciency (ITE)
increase rst and then decrease with the retard of injection
timing. The ITE is comparable for both 80% and 85% of rp, while
the ITE reduces by about 0.6% as increasing rp to 90%. The earlyinjection has a little higher ITE compared to the late-injection.
3. Very low NOx and soot emissions can be achieved simultaneously by the dual-fuel combustion system. The early-injection
has lower NOx emissions compared to the late-injection due to
the lower combustion temperature. The soot emissions are
comparable for both early- and late-injection. For earlyinjection, more homogeneous charge results in lower soot formation. For late-injection, more over-rich regions results in
higher soot formation, but the higher combustion temperature
promotes the soot oxidation. The higher premixed ratio leads to
the higher HC and CO emissions.

H. Liu et al. / Energy 74 (2014) 741e752

4. With the increase of EGR rates, the NOx and soot emissions
decrease, while the HC and CO emissions increase. The ITE is
comparable for both 35% and 40% EGR, while the ITE reduces by
1e2% as increasing EGR to 45%. By controlling the combustion
phase and EGR rate, the engine load of 12.88 bar IMEP (76% load
of the original engine) can be achieved and keep quite low NOx
and soot emissions.
Acknowledgement
The authors would like to acknowledge the nancial supports
provided by National Natural Science Found of China (NSFC)
through its project of 51320105008 and 51206120.
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