Combustion, performance and emissions characteristics of a spark-ignition engine fueled with isopropanol-n-butanol-ethanol and gasoline blends

Yuqiang Li, Lei Meng, Karthik Nithyanandan, Timothy H. Lee, Yilu Lin, Chia fon F. Lee, Shengming Liao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Among primary alcohols, bio-n-butanol is considered as a promising alternative fuel candidate. However, relatively low production efficiency and high cost of component recovery from the acetone-n-butanol-ethanol (ABE) or isopropanol-n-butanol-ethanol (IBE) fermentation processes hinders industrial-scale production of bio-n-butanol. Hence it is of interest to study the intermediate fermentation product, i.e. ABE and IBE as a potential alternative fuels. However, for fuel applications, the IBE mixture appears to be more attractive than ABE due to more favorable properties of isopropanol over acetone, such as being less corrosive to engine part, higher energy density and octane number. In this study, an experimental investigation on the performance, combustion and emission characteristics of a port fuel-injection SI engine fueled with IBE-gasoline blends was carried out. By comparisons between IBE-gasoline blends with various IBE content (0–60 vol.% referred to as G100-IBE60) and more commonly used alternative alcohol fuels (ethanol, n-butanol and ABE)-gasoline blends, it was found that IBE30 performed well with respect to engine performance and emissions, including brake thermal efficiency (BTE), brake specific fuel consumption (BSFC), carbon monoxide (CO), unburned hydrocarbons (UHC) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). Then, IBE30 was selected to be compared with G100 under various equivalence ratio (Φ = 0.83–1) and engine load (300 and 500 kPa BMEP). Overall, higher BTE (0.04–4.3%) and lower CO (4%), UHC (15.1–20.3%) and NOx (3.3–18.6%) emissions were produced by IBE30 compared to G100. Therefore, IBE could be a good alternative fuel to gasoline due to the environmentally benign fermentation process (from non-edible biomass feedstock and without recovery process) and the potential to improve energy efficiency and reduce pollutant emissions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)864-872
Number of pages9
StatePublished - Nov 15 2016


  • Alternative fuel
  • Combustion
  • Emissions
  • Isopropanol-n-butanol-ethanol
  • Performance
  • SI engine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Organic Chemistry


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