Combustion of alternative vehicle fuels in internal combustion engines: a report on engine performance from combustion of alternative fuels based on literature review

Alternative fuels can reduce green-house-gas emissions from the transport sector. This report shows that several of the alternative fuels, such as methanol, ethanol, higher alcohols, RME, HVO, DME, biogas/CNG, work well in several different engine concepts. Energy consumption is in most cases similar to that of diesel or gasoline with the exception of methanol and ethanol that offer reductions, especially in SI-engines. Alternative fuels are considered safe and in most cases associated with strong risk reduction with respect to cancer, other health aspects and environmental issues, something that is rarely acknowledged. Apart from differences in handling, whether the fuel is gaseous or liquid, emissions of soot, NOx, HC and CO vary between the fuels, although the levels typically are lower than for gasoline or diesel. The comparably small differences during engine operation indicate that production and distribution will have higher significance when it comes to the environmental performance and operating costs of the different alternative fuels. Methanol has in other reports been suggested as a promising candidate since it can be produced effectively and affordably from biomass and as an electrofuel. This report concludes that methanol works well as an engine fuel, with low energy consumption, low emissions and low environmental and health impact. Methanol is, however, not unproblematic. It requires special attention to prevent corrosion and needs to be denatured. RME and ethanol are already established and work well in engines. So do biogas/CNG and RME. Just as diesel and gasoline co-exist, there is good reason to use several alternative fuels in parallel. For example, increased amounts of RME in diesel and ethanol + methanol in gasoline (to fit the E85 system) are relevant steps forward that essentially rely on current engine technology. New combustion engine concepts can be co-developed with new fuels and lead to further reductions in energy consumption. Increased hybridization and integration with the electricity grid provide better energy utilization as well as a potential for further reduction of fuel consumption from new engine operation strategies. This enables realistic opportunities for sustainable alternative fuel production as well as energy secure and environmentally sustainable transportation.


  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: 40

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01664500
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI)
  • Files: ITRD, VTI
  • Created Date: Mar 28 2018 10:27AM