Synthetic fuels produced from non-petroleum based feedstocks can effectively replace the depleting petroleum based conventional fuels while significantly reducing the emissions. The zero sulfur content and the near zero percentage of aromatics in the synthetic fuels make them promising clean fuels to meet the upcoming emissions regulations. However due to their significantly different properties when compared to the conventional fuels; the existing engines must be tested extensively to study their performance with the new fuels. This paper reports a detailed in-cylinder pressure measurement based study made on adaptability of the engine control module (ECM) of a modern heavy duty diesel engine to optimize the engine performance with the F-T diesel fuel. During this study, the F-T and Conventional diesel fuels were tested at different loads and various injection timing changes made with respect to the manufacturer setting. Results from these tests showed that the ECM used significantly different injection timings for the two fuels in the process of optimizing the engine performance. For the same power output the ECM used a 2° advance in the injection timing with respect to the manufacturer setting at the full load and 1° retard at the no load condition. While the injection timings used by the ECM were same for both the fuels at the 50% load condition. However, a necessity for further changes in the control strategies used by the ECM were observed to get the expected advantages with the F-T fuels.

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