The Prospects of Using Alcohol-Based Fuels in Stratified-Charge Spark-Ignition Engines
Near-term energy policy for ground transportation is likely to have a strong focus on both gains in efficiency as well as the use of alternate fuels; as both can reduce crude oil dependence and carbon loading on the environment. Stratified-charge spark-ignition direct-injection (SIDI) engines are capable of achieving significant gains in efficiency. In addition, these engines are likely to be run on alternative fuels. Specifically, lower alcohols such as ethanol and iso-butanol, which can be produced from renewable sources. SIDI engines, particularly the spray-guided variant, tend to be very sensitive to mixture preparation since fuel injection and ignition occur within a short time of each other. This close spacing is necessary to form a flammable mixture near the spark plug while maintaining an overall lean state in the combustion chamber. As a result, the physical properties of the fuel have a large effect on this process.