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23-02-2011, 02:17 PM

presented by:
Saurabh Gupta
Sandeep Banerjee


The paper deals with alcohol as a non conventional and a renewable source of energy for automobile engine and its potential regarding the replacement of conventional fuels such as petrol and diesel . The paper highlights the current studies which are being carried on alcohol and its properties and behavior as an alternate fuel for I.C. engine.
In the present day there is an energy crisis all over the world with the depleting sources of fossil fuel that has lead to the attempts to find the alternative sources of fossil fuel for I.C. Engine . Use of alcohol (ethanol/methanol) has been suggested as one of the non conventional fuels for the I.C. Engines .In order to use the same it is essential to know its characteristics , behavior , merits and its demerits .
There are attempts to use several non-conventional fuels such as solar , biomass etc. but it is difficult that the man can do with out the use of liquid fuels in the non-stationary engines . It is due to the fact that combustion process with liquid fuels is much cleaner and its heating value is also higher .With ever increasing number of automobiles on roads the need for such a fuel which is a renewable source . India with its vast agro based infrastructure extends the possibility to tap sunshine into biomass and convert and store this source of energy in the form of alcohol.
Alcohol for combustion comes in variety of forms , among them is ethanol .Ethanol is a by product of sugarcane , grains , such as corn dairy whey and some forestry products , another form is methanol derived largely from wood products , petroleum products and urban industrial waste Engine
If we look back in brief history of alcohol being as a fuel then we will find –
-The first I.C. Engine based on Otto cycles in fact ran on pure alcohol in 1866.
Modern race cars such as Indy 500 models run on exotic mixtures of methanol .
Cars in brazil runs on pure alcohol , for economic reasons save the foreign exchange on oil imports .
Thus we can say from the past experience that alcohol has potential to replace petrol and diesel based fuel especially in our country .
Recently , India too has adopted the blending of ethanol in petrol upto 5%, and has achieved success in the project and implimentation . Inspired by the initial success , government is now seriously thinking to increase the blending ratio to 10%..
1. Cheaper fuel thus saving on large amount of foreign exchange on petroleum imports
2. Alcohol as an oxygenate to petrol is more environment friendly , when compared to MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether) as it causes ground water contamination , and the evidences of carcinogenicity (cancer producing germs).
3. Boost to sugar industry and sugarcane farmers.
4. More employment generation.
5. Compared to fossil fuels ethanol had the advantage of being renewable cleaner burning and producing no green house gases.
6. Compared to methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) which contains 18% where as ethanol is not only renewable but contains 35% of oxygen.
7. Alcohol has a higher octane number compared to petrol.
8. The engine with alcohol has higher output and the thermal efficiency as compared to conventional engine.
CALORIFIC VALUE – Because of its chemical structure , in which fixed oxygen is present this results in lower calorific value , than petrol to generate equal Amount of energy . for e.g.- 2.2 and 1.64 times more the weight of methanol and ethanol resp. is required as compared to gasoline .
LATENT HEAT OF VAPOURIZATION-Alcohol have a very high latent heat of vaporization .It is 3.77 times for methanol and 2.91 times for ethanol as compared to gasoline .For alcohol the temperature drop will be greater , increasing the volumetric efficiency and hence the power output .This is the reason for popularity of methanol in racing cars.
VOLATILITY – Gasoline is composed of a mixture of large number of hydrocarbon having boiling points ranging from approx. 30 C to 225 C .Alcohols in contrast have a single boiling point of about 38C which is essential for the cold starting of SI Engine.
VAPOUR PRESSURE -The low vapor pressure and boiling behavior together with high latent heat of vaporization makes the evaporation of fuel more difficult thus put higher demands on the mixture formation system both in cold and warm running conditions.
OCATANE QUALITY – Octane number of alcohol is higher than gasoline hence higher compression ratios can be used with alcohol resulting in higher thermal efficiency.WATER TOLERANCE OF ALCOHOL BLENDS- Gasoline and water free alcohol are miscible in all proportions over a wide range of temperature .
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