The use of pure biodiesel for compression ignition engines during the winter poses a challenge due to gelling and plugging of engine filters and fuel lines. The most common method to prevent this issue is blending with petroleum diesel and many engine manufacturers limit the biodiesel in blends to 20% or less for warrantee purposes; as low as 5% may be set for winter months. In a previous work, the authors proposed a novel fuel tank design that could potentially solve this problem and presented a numerical validation of the concept of using phase change materials (PCM) to enable cold weather operability of 100% biodiesel by maintaining its temperature above a cloud point of 5 degrees Celsius for over 3 days at an ambient temperature of −25 degrees Celsius and initial temperature of 20 degrees Celsius. In this research, an experimental analysis is performed using a scaled model of the fuel tank with canola oil as a test fluid in the tank. The tank is subjected to an ambient temperature of −20 degrees Celsius in an icing tunnel facility with air velocity at 10 m/s. The results show that the time above cloud point was increased from 18.6 hours to 22.5 and 33 hours respectively when 4 and 12 PCM tubes were inserted in the tank containing 33 litres of canola oil. A simple numerical model was formulated to predict the transient temperature of the oil and comparison with experimental results showed excellent agreement.

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