Over 70% bioethanol engine developed

Credit: TU Wien
Credit: TU Wien

An Austrian university of technology, TU Wien (TUW), announced in a public release that it has developed a diesel engine that utilises over 70% bioethanol.

TUW detailed the technology used in the development of the engine, which uses both diesel and bioethanol in a ‘special’ dual-fuel combustion process which allegedly enables the use of a large portion of bioethanol in diesel engines.

According to the release, measurements have shown that the new technology can assist in reducing overall carbon emissions by up to 39%.

“In some countries, it has been common practice to add larger quantities of ethanol to petrol for a long time. However, until now doing this in diesel engines has only been possible to a very limited extent,” said Prof. Bernhard Geringer from the Institute for Powertrains and Automotive Technology at TUW.

“Ignition is initiated by means of a direct injection diesel fuel jet, like in conventional diesel engines,” he continued.

“In our model, however, the alcoholic fuel is added to the intake air upstream of the engine. It is then ignited after the diesel ignition in the combustion chamber. In a manner of speaking, the diesel functions as a spark plug for the bioethanol.”

Testing of the engine led to a higher percentage of the diesel being replaced by the bioethanol. TUW claims that results indicated this had a positive effect on the efficiency of the engine.

“We measured an increase in efficiency of up to 6.1 percent, and that alone improves the environmental balance of the engine," said Aleksandar Damyanov of TUW.

“Of course, we must also consider the fact that bioethanol has an excellent CO2 balance because it is produced from renewable raw materials. When we factor that in as well, we find that there is an overall reduction in CO2 emissions of up to 39 percent.”

Bernhard Geringer added, "Our results clearly show that bioethanol can be successfully used as a substitute fuel in a dual-fuel diesel engine, and that this concept has significant benefits for the environment.”

“In many areas, we will not be able to do without diesel engines in the medium to long term – trucks and tractors, for example. E-mobility has its limits here. With our dual-fuel technology, it is possible to significantly improve sustainability and emissions performance in these particular areas.”

Credit: TU Wien