In recent years a lot of effort has been made to understand the phenomena of Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) regeneration processes but less attention has been paid to understand the influence of fuel properties on soot reactivity and its consequence on the DPF regeneration behavior.
Within the Cluster of Excellence “Tailor-Made Fuels from Biomass (TMFB)” at RWTH Aachen University, the Institute for Combustion Engines carried out a detailed investigation program to explore the potential of future biofuel candidates for optimized combustion systems. These new biofuels are being developed to realize partially homogeneous low-temperature combustion, in order to reduce the emission and fuel consumption to meet future requirements. The chemical structure of these new fuels may impact the thermal decomposition chemistry and hence the in-cylinder particulate formation conditions. This work fundamentally focusses the influence of fuel properties on particulate matter reactivity and, thereby, the regeneration behavior of the diesel particulate filters (DPF).
The experiments for particulate measurements and analysis were conducted, under constant engine operating conditions, on a EURO 6 compliant High Efficiency Combustion System (HECS) fuelled with petroleum based diesel fuel as baseline and today’s biofuels like FAME and Fischer Tropsch fuels as well as potential biomass derived fuel candidates being researched in TMFB.
Several different methods were used for analysis of mass, composition, structure and spectroscopic parameters of the soot. The graphitic microstructure visible with high resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) was compared to the results of X-Ray diffraction (XRD), optical light absorption measurement and elementary analysis of samples.
The results indicate that combustion with increasing fuel oxygenation produces decreasing engine-out particulate emissions. The ranking of activation energies of soot oxidation analysis from LGB experiments correspond well with the ranking of the soot physico-chemical properties. In comparison to petroleum based diesel fuel, the reduction of engine out soot emission by a factor of five with the use of the future biomass derived fuel candidate was accompanied by ten times reduction of the soot volume based absorption coefficient and two times reduction of carbon to hydrogen ratio. As a result of it, the activation energy of soot oxidation in DPF reduced by ∼ 10 KJ/mol. The reduced engine out soot emission and increased reactivity of the soot from the future biomass derived fuel candidate could cause a significant reduction of thermal DPF regenerations.