Investigations were carried out to evaluate the performance of a medium grade low heat rejection (LHR) diesel engine consisting of air gap insulated piston with 3-mm air gap, with superni (an alloy of nickel) crown and air gap insulated liner with superni insert with different operating conditions of crude tobacco seed oil with varied injection timing and injection pressure.

Performance parameters of brake thermal efficiency (BTE), exhaust gas temperature (EGT), volumetric efficiency (VE), coolant load (CL) and sound intensity were determined at various values of brake mean effective pressure (BMEP) of the engine.

Exhaust emissions of smoke and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) were noted at different values of BMEP of the engine. Combustion characteristics of peak pressure (PP), time of occurrence of peak pressure (TOPP), maximum rate of pressure rise (MRPR) and time of occurrence of maximum rate of pressure (TOMRPR) were measured with TDC (top dead centre) encoder, pressure transducer, console and special pressure-crank angle software-package at the peak load operation of the engine.

Conventional engine (CE) showed deteriorated performance, while LHR engine showed improved performance with crude tobacco seed oil (CTSO) operation when compared with pure diesel operation at recommended injection timing and pressure. The optimum injection timing was found to be 32°bTDC (before top dead centre) with CE while it was 30°bTDC with LHR engine with vegetable oil operation. The performance of both version of the engine improved with advanced injection timing and higher injection pressure with test fuels. Peak brake thermal efficiency increased by 4%, volumetric efficiency decreased by 8%, smoke levels decreased by 4% and NOx levels increased by 37% with vegetable oil operation on LHR engine at its optimum injection timing, when compared with pure diesel operation on CE at manufacturer’s recommended injection timing of 27°bTDC.

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