Experimental Characterization of Canola Oil Emulsion Combustion in a Modified Furnace
MetadataShow full item record
Vegetable oils have been researched as alternative source of energy for many years because they have proven themselves as efficient fuel sources for diesel engines when used in the form of biodiesel, vegetable oil–diesel blends, vegetable oil-water-diesel blends and mixtures thereof. However, very few studies involving the use of emulsified low grade alcohols in straight vegetable oils, as fuels for combustion have been published. Even, the published literature involves the use of emulsified fuels only for compression ignition diesel engines. Through this project, an attempt has been made to suggest the use of alcohol-in-vegetable oil emulsions (AVOE) as an alternate fuel in stationary burners like electric utility boiler producing steam for electricity generation and more dynamic systems like diesel engines. The main goal of this study is to understand the effect of the combustion of different methanol-in-canola oil emulsions, swirl angle and equivalence ratio on the emission levels of NOx, unburned hydrocarbons (UHC), CO and CO2. The 30 kW furnace facility available at Coal and Biomass Energy Laboratory at Texas A & M University was modified using a twin fluid atomizer, a swirler and a new liquid fuel injection system. The swirler blades were positioned at 60° and 51° angles (with respect to vertical axis) in order to achieve swirl numbers of 1.40 and 1.0, respectively. The three different fuels studied were, pure canola oil, 89-9 emulsion [9 percent methanol – in – 89 percent canola oil emulsion with 2 percent surfactant (w/w)] and 85-12.5 emulsion [12.5 percent methanol – in – 85 percent canola oil (w/w) emulsion with 2.5 percent surfactant]. All the combustion experiments were conducted for a constant heat output of 72,750 kJ/hr. One of the major findings of this research work was the influence of fuel type and swirl number on emission levels. Both the emulsions produced lower NOx, unburned (UHC) hydrocarbon and CO emissions than pure canola oil at both swirl numbers and all equivalence ratios. The emulsions also showed higher burned fraction values than pure oil and produced more CO2. Comparing the performance of only the two emulsions, it was seen that the percentage amount of methanol added to the blend had a definite positive impact on the combustion products of the fuel. The higher the percentage of methanol in the emulsions, the lesser the NOx, UHC and CO emissions. Of all the three fuels, 85-12.5 emulsion produced the least emissions. The vorticity imparted to the secondary air by the swirler also affected the emission levels. Increased vorticity at higher swirl number led to proper mixing of air and fuel which minimized emission levels at SN = 1.4. The effect of equivalence ratio on NO_x formation requires a more detailed analysis especially with regards to the mechanism which produces nitrogen oxides during the combustion of the studied fuels.
Bhimani, Shreyas Mahesh (2011). Experimental Characterization of Canola Oil Emulsion Combustion in a Modified Furnace. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from