The depletion of global crude oil reserves, increases in fossil fuel prices and environmental issues have encouraged the search for and study of bio-derived fuels. For years, fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) have already been used successfully. High-quality hydrogenated vegetable oil and Fischer-Tropsch biofuels have also been developed.
Fuel refining processes, however, consume energy increasing CO2 emissions. For profitability reasons, large-scale industrial production is also required. Several distributed energy producers are instead willing to utilize various local waste materials as fuel feedstock. The target is local fuel production without any complicated manufacturing processes.
Crude bio-oils are therefore also interesting fuel options, in particular for medium-speed diesel engines capable of burning such bio-oils without any major problems. Nevertheless, waste-derived crude bio-oils have also been studied in Finland in high-speed non-road diesel engines. One option has been mustard seed oil (MSO). Mustard has been cultivated in fallow fields. Non-food mustard seeds have been used for fuel manufacturing.
In the performed studies with MSO, the exhaust smoke and HC emissions decreased, NOx remained approximately constant, and the thermal efficiency was competitive compared with operation on ordinary diesel fuel oil (DFO). The number of exhaust particles tended, however, to increase and deposits were formed in the combustion chamber, particularly if the engine was also run at low loads with MSO. On the whole, the results were so promising that deeper analyses of engine operation with MSO were considered reasonable.
The kinematic viscosity of crude bio-oils is much higher than that of FAMEs or DFO. Consequently, the injection pressure tends to increase especially at the injection pump side of an in-line injection pump system. The flow characteristics of crude bio-oil also differ from those of DFO in the high-pressure pipe. With bio-oil, the flow seems to be laminar. The bulk modulus of bio-oils is also different from that of DFO affecting the rate of the injection pressure rise.
In the present study, a turbocharged, inter-cooled direct-injection non-road diesel engine was driven with a mixture of MSO (95%) and rape seed methyl ester (RME, 5%), and standard DFO. The engine was equipped with an in-line injection pump.
First, the injection pressures at pump and injector ends of the high-pressure injection pipe were measured for both fuels as a function of crank angle. Furthermore, a model was created for the injection system based on the method of characteristics.
Free software called Scilab was adopted for numerical simulation of the model. Despite a few limitations in the built model, the results showed clear trends and the model can be used to predict changes in the fuel injection process when the fuel is changed.