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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Direct Use of Wet Ethanol in a Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) Engine: Experimental and Numerical Results


Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) engines are amenable to a large variety of fuels as long as the fuel can be fully vaporized, sufficiently mixed with air, and receive sufficient heat during the compression stroke to reach the autoignition conditions. This study investigates an HCCI engine fueled with ethanol-in-water mixtures, which we call “wet ethanol”. The motivation for using wet ethanol fuel is that significant energy is required for distillation and dehydration of fermented ethanol (from biosources, not from petroleum), thus direct use of wet ethanol could improve energy balance. Recent modeling studies have predicted that a HCCI engine can operate using fuel containing as little as 35% ethanol-in-water, with surprisingly good performance and emissions. With the previous modeling study suggesting feasibility of wet ethanol use in HCCI engines, this paper focuses on experimental operation wet ethanol in a 4-cylinder 1.9 liter engine running in HCCI mode. This study investigates the effect of the ethanol-water fraction on the engine's operating limits, intake temperatures, heat release rates, and exhaust emissions for the engine operating with 100%, 90%, 80%, 60%, and 40% ethanol-in-water mixtures.

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