Preliminary Investigation On the Viability of 1,3-Dioxolane as an Alternative to MTBE in Reformulated Gasoline 2001-01-3683
An experimental investigation was conducted to determine the efficiency of 1,3-dioxolane as an alternative oxygenate to MTBE in Reformulated Gasoline. In the investigation, the effect of adding 1,3 dioxolane on octane rating was evaluated. The octane number of the fuels was determined using a Waukesha single cylinder, 4-stroke cycle, 2-valve, CFR F-2U octane rating unit. Certified 87 octane gasoline was used as the base fuel which 1,3-dioxolane was added at specific volumetric proportions. Iso-octane (100 octane number) and N-heptane (0 octane number) are primary reference fuels that were blended at volumetric proportions to produce a reference base of known octane number. The reference base fuel of known octane number was used for comparison of knock tendency to the test fuels under the ASTM D 2699 (Research) and ASTM D 2700 (Motor) methods of testing. Cost analyses were conducted to determine and show the volume addition comparisons for MTBE, ethanol, and dioxolane to comply with current RFG regulations. Pricing of dioxolane was also evaluated to find out what the maximum production cost can be to still be competitive in the oxygenate market. A theoretical price increase of the wholesale sales of gasoline due to dioxolane blending for RFG production was also included. The results obtained from the octane rating analysis show that as volume percentage of dioxolane was added to the base fuel there was a steady increase in octane number. Furthermore, the theoretical, and experimental results clearly demonstrate that 1,3-dioxolane has the ability to be an effective oxygenate for RFG production. The cost analyses demonstrated that dioxolane will be able to decrease volume addition by 1.05 and 1.5 % respectively compared to ethanol to achieve compliance with the current 2% and 2.7% oxygen RFG standards. Furthermore, because of this volume decrease, dioxolane will be able to be sold wholesale up to $1.78/gallon to yield equivalent blending costs as ethanol to achieve the 2% oxygen RFG standard. The results, and cost analyses, were both discussed in detail to demonstrate why 1,3-dioxolane could be a viable alternative to MTBE and recommendations were given as to what should be accomplished before dioxolane's viability can be determined.