Browse Publications Technical Papers 2021-28-0009
2021-03-08

Fuel Economy and Emissions of E85 in Passenger Cars - A Move towards Flex Fuel Vehicle 2021-28-0009

Many countries are developing strategies to curb the consumption of fossil fuels, and to increase the share of alternative fuels such as alcohols, natural gas, fuel cell and electricity in the energy pool in order to improve energy security and reduce atmospheric pollution. Alcohol fuels are promising one and it has been widely used in many countries as blending component for gasoline. Ethanol has a high-octane number but it has a lower calorific value than gasoline. The performance of engine may be affected with higher percentage of ethanol in gasoline due to demand for larger quantity of fuel that could not be supplied by vehicles which are tuned to run on gasoline only. In this study, a second electronic control unit (ECU) was installed in series with the existing commercial or primary ECU and an ethanol sensor was installed in the fuel line. This secondary ECU modulates the fuel injection pulse width of the primary ECU depending on ethanol concentration in the fuel. The vehicle studies were carried out using Indian automotive gasoline meeting IS:2796 specification and 85% ethanol blended gasoline (E85) in a climatically controlled chassis dynamometer lab in which test cell temperature maintained at 25±1 °C throughout the test. Modified Indian Driving Cycle tests (MIDC) and constant speed tests were carried out using E85 and commercial gasoline to investigate the fuel economy, gaseous mass emissions, particulate emission in terms number and size characteristics. Gaseous emission was reduced up to 30% with the penalty of reduction in fuel economy by approximately 30% over the MIDC. The vehicle power was maintained while using both fuels at respective constant speeds during the road load simulation cycles however an increase in fuel consumption was observed with E85. The tailpipe exhaust particle emission measurement had shown up to 50% reduction in exhaust particulate emissions with E85. This study demonstrates the potential of using higher blends of ethanol up to E85 and meeting power or speed demand at constant speeds and driving cycle tests.

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