Use of diesel-biodiesel-bioethanol blends in farm tractors: first results obtained with a mixed experimental-numerical approach
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The fuelling of internal combustion engines with biofuels has certainly many environmental and energetic advantages. These advantages are particularly effective in the agricultural sector, where an integrated biofuel supply-chain would further benefit the overall carbon balance. Unfortunately, there are also some drawbacks, mainly concerning the engine performances (lowering of the torque curve), but also environmental (possible raising of the NOx emissions). However, by appropriately mixing two biofuels with known opposite effects on the combustion process, it is theoretically possible to compensate the aforementioned disadvantages. In this work, some experiments were carried out in this direction by fuelling a farm tractor with four different fuel mixes; the collected data were processed through the Response Surface Methodology to obtain multi-parameter regression equations useful to identify the optimal fuel mixtures composition. Thanks to this approach, it was found that biodiesel has a positive effect on the torque, while the addition of bioethanol has a much bigger detrimental effect; on the contrary, bioethanol should be added to a mixture with a minimum of 8-12 % of biodiesel to get advantages in terms of NOx concentration reduction.