Currently, many research studies are exploring opportunities for the use of novel fuels and of their blends with conventional, i.e. petroleum-based fuels. To pave the way for their acceptance and implementation in the existing energy market, a comprehensive knowledge about their combustion properties is inevitable, among others. Within this context, alcohols, with butanol in particular, are considered as attractive candidates for the needed de-fossilization of the energy sector.

In this work, we report on the oxidation of mixtures of n-heptane/i-octane (PRF90, primary reference fuel, a gasoline surrogate) and addition of n-butanol, 20% and 40%, respectively, in a combined experimental and modeling effort. The focus was set on two fundamental combustion properties: (i) Ignition delay times measured in a shock tube, at ambient and elevated pressures, for stoichiometric mixtures, and (ii) Laminar burning velocities, at ambient and elevated pressures. Moreover, two detailed chemical kinetic reaction mechanisms, with an in-house model among them, have been used for investigating and analyzing the combustion of these mixtures.

In general, the experimental data agree well with the model predictions of the in-house reaction model, for the temperatures, pressures, and fuel-air ratios studied. Room for improvements is seen for PRF90. The results achieved were also compared to those of n-butanol reported recently; the findings demonstrated clearly the effect of the n-butanol sub model on binary fuel-air mixtures consisting of PRF and n-butanol. From the present work it can be concluded that the addition of n-butanol to gasoline appears to be an attractive alternative fuel for most types of heat engines.

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