Performance of an experimental diesel engine was investigated when fueled with CTL20 (80% ULSD#2 (ultra-low sulfur diesel) blended with 20% Fischer-Tropsch coal-to-liquid (CTL) fuel. CTL fuel was selected given its potential as an alternative fuel that can supplement the ULSD supply. Combustion and emissions were studied in a common rail, supercharged, single cylinder DI engine with 15% exhaust gas recirculation operated at 1500 RPM and 4.5 bar IMEP in reference to a diesel baseline. The injection pressure was varied from 800–1200 bar while injection timing was tested from 15° to 22° CAD BTDC to optimize combustion. Similar in-cylinder pressures and temperatures were observed for both fuels at the same injection pressure and timing; the maximum heat release and in cylinder pressure and temperatures increased with higher rail pressure. CTL20 had a retarded premixed burn peak by 5 to 8 J/CAD compared to diesel at the same injection pressure and timing. This can be related to a delayed ignition of CTL20 which allowed for higher peak premixed combustion. In-cylinder convection and radiation heat fluxes were stable across injection pressures for both fuels around 1.7 MW/m2 and 0.4 MW/m2, respectively. NOx decreased with CTL20 at higher injection pressure while soot was relatively increased at lower injection pressure. CTL20 decreased BSFC by 3–5% compared to ULSD#2 at 800–1200 bar injection. The mechanical efficiency was maintained around 65% for ULSD#2 as well as for CTL20 during operation at all injection pressures. The study suggests that CTL fuel can be used at 20% as a binary mixture in ULSD#2 while sustaining performance in the experimental engine.

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