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Energies 2017, 10(8), 1198; doi:10.3390/en10081198

Theoretical Study of the Effects of Spark Timing on the Performance and Emissions of a Light-Duty Spark Ignited Engine Running under Either Gasoline or Ethanol or Butanol Fuel Operating Modes

Thermodynamic & Propulsion Systems Section, Aeronautical Sciences Department, Hellenic Air Force Academy, Dekelia Air Force Base, 1010 Dekelia, Attiki, Greece
Internal Combustion Engines Laboratory, Department of Thermal Engineering, School of Mechanical Engineering, National Technical University of Athens, Zografou Campus, 9 Heroon Polytechniou Street, 15780 Athens, Greece
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 26 May 2017 / Revised: 27 July 2017 / Accepted: 9 August 2017 / Published: 13 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Automotive Engines Emissions and Control)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1943 KB, uploaded 13 August 2017]   |  


Much research is ongoing to find suitable alternate fuels in order to reduce the exhaust emission levels without deteriorating the basic performance characteristics of conventional spark-ignited (SI) engines. One of the methods to achieve the above problem is the use of alcohols as full supplement fuels to normal gasoline. At the same time, many related research studies have shown that the use of alcohols has a negative impact on some basic engine performance characteristics, e.g., brake power output, etc. On the other hand, spark timing is one of the critical engine operating parameters that significantly influences the combustion mechanism inside the combustion chamber of a SI engine. Therefore, the primary objective of the present work is to investigate the effect of spark timing on the performance and emissions characteristics of a conventional, four-stroke, SI engine running under three different fuel operating modes, viz. with conventional gasoline or ethanol or butanol. The specific investigation is conducted by using an in-house, comprehensive, two-zone phenomenological model. The predictive ability of the model is tested against pertinent experimental data and it is found that the computed results are in good agreement with the respective experimental ones. For all test cases examined herein, the results concern basic engine performance characteristics, i.e., cylinder pressure, power output, specific fuel consumption etc., as well as NO and CO emissions. The main objectives of the work were to record and evaluate the impact that spark timing has on the performance characteristics and emitted pollutants of a conventional SI engine, operating under either conventional gasoline or ethanol or butanol fuel operating modes. Moreover, it deals with the determination of an optimum combination between the type of fuel used and the spark timing, so that probable undesirable effects on engine performance characteristics would be avoided. By comparing this investigation results, it is revealed that the use of alcohols as a full substitute fuel of gasoline accompanied with an appropriate alteration of the spark timing, could be a promising solution to improving both the efficiency and environmental behavior of a light-duty, spark-ignited (SI) engine, without causing any harmful problems to the engine operational lifetime. The conclusions from the study may prove valuable for the application of this technological solution to existing conventional SI engines. View Full-Text
Keywords: SI engine; two-zone model; ethanol; butanol; spark timing; performance; emissions SI engine; two-zone model; ethanol; butanol; spark timing; performance; emissions

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Papagiannakis, R.G.; Rakopoulos, D.C.; Rakopoulos, C.D. Theoretical Study of the Effects of Spark Timing on the Performance and Emissions of a Light-Duty Spark Ignited Engine Running under Either Gasoline or Ethanol or Butanol Fuel Operating Modes. Energies 2017, 10, 1198.

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