Using biofuel tracers to study alternative combustion regimes

J. H. Mack*, D. L. Flowers, B. A. Buchholz, R. W. Dibble

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Interest in the use of alternative fuels and engines is increasing as the price of petroleum climbs. The inherently higher efficiency of Diesel engines has led to increased adoption of Diesels in Europe, capturing approximately 40% of the new passenger car market. Unfortunately, lower CO2 emissions are countered with higher nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) emissions and higher noise. Adding oxygenated compounds to the fuel helps reduce PM emissions. However, relying on fuel alone to reduce PM is unrealistic due to economic constraints and difficult due to the emerging PM standards. Keeping peak combustion temperature below 1700 K inhibits NOx formation. Altering the combustion regime to burn at temperatures below the NOx threshold and accept a wide variety of fuels seems like a promising alternative for future engines. Homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) is a possible solution. Fuel and air are well mixed prior to intake into a cylinder (homogeneous charge) and ignition occurs by compression of the fuel-air mixture by the piston. HCCI is rapid and relatively cool, producing little NOx and PM. Unfortunately, it is hard to control since HCCI is initiated by temperature and pressure instead of a spark or direct fuel injection. We investigate biofuel HCCI combustion, and use intrinsically labeled biofuels as tracers of HCCI combustion. Data from tracer experiments are used to improve our combustion modeling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)414-420
Number of pages7
JournalNuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Biofuels
  • C
  • Combustion
  • HCCI
  • Tracers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Instrumentation


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