An Experimental Study of Combustion Characteristics of Fatty Acid Methyl Ester Biodiesel
Pisac, Claudia A
The thesis presents an experimental investigation of combustion performance and emissions of waste cooking oil (WCO) based biodiesel. To evaluate the comparative performance of biodiesel and diesel, combustions tests were conducted using Continuous Combustion rig (CCR) and Land Rover VM diesel engine. Firstly, physical properties of WCO biodiesel and diesel samples were measured in the laboratory. Elemental analysis of WCO biodiesel showed that there are differences between the functional groups in diesel and biodiesel which lead to major differences in the combustion characteristics of the two fuel types. It was found that biodiesel had 10% lower carbon content, almost no sulphur content for biodiesel and up to 12% more oxygen content compared with diesel. This explains the lower caloric value for WCO biodiesel (up to l8 %) compared with diesel. However, higher oxygen content and double bounds in WCO biodiesel increase its susceptibility to oxidation. The CCR test results showed an increase in combustion gas temperature with the increases in biodiesel blend ratio in diesel. This was due to a faster reaction rate for biodiesel than that of diesel leading to a faster brakeage of the hydrocarbon chain to release more heat. The engine tests were performed to measure the torque and emissions for different engine speeds and loads. In general a decrease in engine torque with up to 9% for biodiesel was observed, which was due to the lower calorific value of biodiesel compared with that of diesel. The brake specific fuel consumption (BSFC) increased as the biodiesel blend ratio in diesel increases due a greater mass of fuel being injected at a given injection pressure, compared with diesel. Using WCO blends ratio up to 75% in diesel showed a reduction in exhaust emission compared with diesel, however, at the cost of increased fuel consumption. A common conclusion can be drawn in favour of the WCO biodiesel as being a greener alternative to petro-diesel when used in blend with diesel. However, due to large variations in the biomass used for biodiesel production could lead to variations in physical and chemical properties between biodiesel produced from different biomass. Therefore more stringent standards need to be imposed for biodiesel quality in order to diminish the effect of variation in physicochemical properties on engine performance and emissions. The future work in developing standard test procedures for establishing fuel properties and limits/targets would be beneficial in using a large amount of waste cooking oil in the production of biodiesel, thus contributing to reduction in CO2 and waste minimisation.