Alternative Fuels for Automotive Diesel Engines

  • W. M. Scott


With an increasing emphasis on the need to conserve energy and, more particularly, that derived from oil, alternative sources of fuel are being considered for all forms of prime mover. The diesel engine offers, currently, the most efficient means of converting hydrocarbon fuel into mechanical energy, and can play a significant part in energy conservation by its wider application in the automotive field. However, with limited known oil resources and the problem of excessive demand for the barrel of crude oil, resulting from such an expansion, there is clearly an interest in the use of alternative fuels in automotive diesel engines.

The interest in fuels other than middle distillates for compression ignition engines is not new. Experiments have been carried out on a wide range of fuels from coal dust and very viscous residual fuels through gasolines, alcohols and gases including hydrogen.

The Ricardo Laboratories have become involved in many such exercises over the years. These include both straight compression ignition, and the use of dual fuel techniques and ignition promoting additives.

It is concluded that ignition quality is the single most critical factor governing the suitability of fuels for automotive diesel engines. Storage and handling of the gaseous and lower density fuels are also a problem. These problems are demonstrated and discussed in the light of the experience gained both in the Ricardo Laboratories and by other researchers in this area.


Diesel Engine Ignition Delay Alternative Fuel Cetane Number Compression Ignition Engine 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. M. Scott
    • 1
  1. 1.Ricardo Consulting EngineersSussexEngland

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