Browse Publications Technical Papers 2009-36-0260
2009-10-06

MAPPING FLEX FUEL FLEET IN BRAZIL POTENTIALLY AFFECTED BY CRITICAL CONDITIONS OF ETHANOL COLD START AND THE EFFECTS OF A FUEL HEATING TECHNOLOGY 2009-36-0260

The usage of ethanol as auto fuel is a reality in Brazil since 70s. In 2009, 85% of vehicles produced for local market have flex fuel technology. The benefits of the Ethanol are: sustainability, lower emission level, and cost competitiveness. Though, one of the critical concerns for flex fuel vehicles - FFV, when filled with blends of ethanol higher than 85%, and operating at temperatures lower than 18 °C, is the cold start phase, due to the characteristics of ethanol, higher latent heat required to vaporize than gasoline. Low temperatures are more recurrent at south and south east of Brazil, regions where it can reach a minimum of −5 °C during the winter. The price of ethanol when compared to gasoline is a relevant driver for the consumer when fuel filling the vehicle and it varies from region to region. To surpass these conditions, two technologies are currently available to the customer, the well-known cold start reservoir with gasoline injection, and an emerging technology of pre heating the fuel, known as Electronic Cold Start - ECS. The latter impacts on time to start the vehicle, which potentially obligates the customer to wait the fuel heating up to the engine startability conditions. The objective of this study is to estimate Flex Fuel fleet in Brazil potentially affected by critical conditions of ethanol cold start and, additionally, calculate the pre heating time — PHT — of the ECS by region as well as propose concept alternatives to minimize the observed waiting time to the costumer.

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