Fuel consumption and pollutant emissions of a Diesel engine converted to run on ethanol for electric thermal energy generation

Vinícius Rückert Roso, Macklini Dalla Nora, Mario Eduardo Santos Martins, Paulo Romeu Moreira Machado


In the global effort to minimize emissions of greenhouse gases and decrease the carbon footprint, renewable fuels are being extensively used to replace fossil fuels in internal combustion engines. Particularly in the field of local power generation, Diesel engines are by far the most used units due to their higher thermal efficiency and robustness compared to spark-ignition engines. However, such power systems have usually large emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and soot, which poses serious harm to the environment. Therefore, the present research combines computational simulation and experimental results to convert a power generation set from diesel to ethanol operation. As this renewable fuel is largely produced from sugarcane in Brazil, it becomes cheaper than diesel for standalone applications especially close to crops and refineries. Experimental data was used to validate a one-dimensional computational model developed for the conversion, while results from gaseous emissions were measured and analysed comparing both fuels. A cost-benefit analysis was conducted at several power requirements to provide meaningful monetary figures regarding the fuel conversion to be used near ethanol production sites. The results demonstrated energy cost advantages on using this renewable fuel for power generation, while keeping significant lower NOx emissions throughout the whole operation range.


Ethanol; Power Generation; Energy Cost

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5433/1679-0375.2016v37n1p131

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