Experiments on a modern DI Diesel engine were carried out: The engine was fuelled with standard Diesel fuel, RME and a mixture of 85% standard Diesel fuel, 5% RME and 10% higher alcohols under low load conditions (4 bar IMEP).During these experiments, different external EGR levels were applied while the injection timing was chosen in a way to keep the location of 50% heat release constant.Emission analysis results were in accordance with widely known correlations: Increasing EGR rates lowered NOx emissions. This is explained by a decrease of global air-fuel ratio entailing longer ignition delay. Local gas-fuel ratio increases during ignition delay and local combustion temperature is lowered. Exhaust gas analysis indicated further a strong increase of CO, PM and unburned HC emissions at high EGR levels. This resulted in lower combustion efficiency. PM emissions however, decreased above 50% EGR which was also in accordance with previously reported results.Besides those similar trends, fuel dependent differences in indicated thermal efficiency as well as CO, HC, NOx and especially PM emissions were observed.These differences were evaluated by detailed heat release analysis and explanation models based upon fuel characteristics as fuel viscosity and fuel distillation curve.Fuel spray evaporation and heat release were influenced by these fuel characteristics. Due to these characteristics it was concluded that RME has a higher tendency to form fuel rich zones at low load conditions than the other tested fuel types.Moreover it was found that improved fuel spray vaporisation is an option to improve exhaust emissions at low load conditions.