Concern about the depletion of petroleum reserves, rising prices of conventional fuels, security of supply and global warming have driven research toward the development of renewable fuels for use in diesel engines. These fuels have different physical and chemical properties that affect the diesel combustion process. This paper compares between the autoignition, combustion, performance and emissions of soybean derived biodiesel, JP-8 and ultra low sulfur diesel (ULSD) in a high speed single-cylinder research diesel engine equipped with a common rail injection system. Tests were conducted at steady state conditions at different injection pressures ranging from 600 bar to 1200 bar. The ‘rate of heat release’ traces are analyzed to determine the effect of fuel properties on the ignition delay, premixed combustion fraction and mixing and diffusion controlled combustion fractions. Biodiesel produced the largest diffusion controlled combustion fraction at all injection pressures compared to ULSD and JP-8. At 600 bar injection pressure, the diffusion controlled combustion fraction for biodiesel was 53% whereas both JP-8 and ULSD produced 39%. In addition, the effect of fuel properties on engine performance, fuel economy, and engine-out emissions is determined. On an average JP-8 produced 3% higher thermal efficiency than ULSD. Special attention is given to the NOx emissions and particulate matter characteristics. On an average biodiesel produced 37% less NOx emissions compared to ULSD and JP-8.

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