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[en] In order to alleviate escalating worldwide crises of oil reserves exhaustion and global warming, an alternative fuel that is sustainable, economically feasible and environmental friendly must be developed for large-scale adoption. Biodiesel has emerged as the leading alternative fuel of choice due to its cost, availability of current production technology and compatibility with existing infrastructure of petroleum diesel. Although considerable in-roads have been made to understand combustion and tailpipe emissions of various biodiesel fuels in compression-ignited engines, research efforts dedicated to examining these and the associated impacts of additives for non-transportation usage have been scarce. This work aims to establish the effects of antioxidants addition on pollutant emissions from the combustion of palm oil methyl ester blends with No. 2 diesel in a non-pressurised, water-cooled combustion chamber. Antioxidant additives butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) and tert-butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ) were individually dissolved at varying concentrations in B10 and B20 fuel blends for testing. Both BHA and TBHQ were effective in lowering the nitric oxide (NO) emission produced, where their concentrations in the fuel blends were shown to scale proportionately to NO levels in the flue gas. Addition of BHT to both fuel blends, however, increased the generation of NO during combustion. BHA was found to decrease the carbon monoxide (CO) levels when added to B10 and B20, while both BHT and TBHQ were observed to raise CO formation at all test points. With the proper selection of additives type and quantity for application to specific biodiesel blends, this simple measure has been shown to be an effective pollutants control strategy which is more economical than other existing technologies.
[en] Highlights: ► Numerical models were validated against experimental data of two diesel engines. ► Soot model constant values were calibrated to predict in-cylinder soot processes. ► Effects of split-main injection parameters on soot distributions were determined. ► Soot cloud was distributed towards cylinder wall when using large dwell period. ► Greater soot deposition expected with large dwell period and retarded injection. - Abstract: In this reported work, computational study on the formation processes of soot particles from diesel combustion is conducted using an approach where Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is coupled with a chemical kinetic model. A multi-step soot model which accounts for inception, surface growth, coagulation and oxidation was applied. Model constant values in the Moss–Brookes soot formation and Fenimore–Jones soot oxidation models were calibrated, and were validated against in-cylinder soot evolution and exhaust soot density of both heavy- and light-duty diesel engines, respectively. Effects of various injection parameters such as start of injection (SOI) timing, split-main ratio and dwell period of the split-main injection strategy on in-cylinder temporal/spatial soot evolution in a light-duty diesel engine were subsequently investigated. The spatial soot distributions at each crank angle degree after start of injection were found to be insensitive to the change of values in SOI and split-main ratio when close-coupled injection was implemented. Soot cloud was also observed to be distributed towards the cylinder wall when a large separation of 20° was used, even with an advanced SOI timing of −6° after top dead centre (ATDC). The use of large separation is hence not desired for this combustion system as it potentially leads to soot deposition on surface oil film and greater tailpipe soot emissions.
[en] Highlights: ► A performance benchmarking exercise is conducted for diesel combustion simulations. ► The reduced chemical mechanism shows its advantages over base and skeletal models. ► High efficiency and great reduction of CPU runtime are achieved through 4-node solver. ► Increasing ISAT memory from 0.1 to 2 GB reduces the CPU runtime by almost 35%. ► Combustion and soot processes are predicted well with minimal computational cost. - Abstract: In the present study, in-cylinder diesel combustion simulation was performed with parallel processing on an Intel Xeon Quad-Core platform to allow both fluid dynamics and chemical kinetics of the surrogate diesel fuel model to be solved simultaneously on multiple processors. Here, Cartesian Z-Coordinate was selected as the most appropriate partitioning algorithm since it computationally bisects the domain such that the dynamic load associated with fuel particle tracking was evenly distributed during parallel computations. Other variables examined included number of compute nodes, chemistry sizes and in situ adaptive tabulation (ISAT) parameters. Based on the performance benchmarking test conducted, parallel configuration of 4-compute node was found to reduce the computational runtime most efficiently whereby a parallel efficiency of up to 75.4% was achieved. The simulation results also indicated that accuracy level was insensitive to the number of partitions or the partitioning algorithms. The effect of reducing the number of species on computational runtime was observed to be more significant than reducing the number of reactions. Besides, the study showed that an increase in the ISAT maximum storage of up to 2 GB reduced the computational runtime by 50%. Also, the ISAT error tolerance of 10−3 was chosen to strike a balance between results accuracy and computational runtime. The optimised parameters in parallel processing and ISAT, as well as the use of the in-house reduced chemistry model allowed accurate results to be produced with reduced computational runtime, especially in simulating in-cylinder reacting spray jet and soot characteristics on standard computing platforms.
[en] Highlights: • The pyrolysis of Jatropha curcas waste in a fixed-bed rig was studied. • Yield, calorific value, water content and acidity of bio-oil were compared. • Empirical correlations for bio-oil yield and specifications were developed. • Optimisation of bio-oil production based on combined specifications was achieved. - Abstract: This study investigated the effects of pyrolysis parameters on the yield and quality of bio-oil from Jatropha curcas pressed cake. This biomass was pyrolysed in a fixed-bed reactor over a temperature range of 573.15 K to 1073.15 K and a nitrogen linear speed range of 7.8 × 10−5 m/s to 6.7 × 10−2 m/s. The heating rate and biomass grain size were 50 K/min and <2 mm, respectively. The bio-oils were tested for the gross calorific value, water content and acidity. The pyrolysis process was simulated using Thermo-Gravimetric Analysis (TGA) and Differential Scanning Calorimeter (DSC) for mass and energy balances analyses. Empirical correlations between the bio-oil specifications and pyrolysis parameters were developed using linear and nonlinear multiple regression methods for process optimisation. At optimum pyrolysis conditions, above 50% of the waste is converted to bio-oil with less than 30% water content, a gross calorific value of 15.12 MJ/kg and a pH of 6.77
[en] Highlights: • Calcination temperature is an important influencing factor in catalytic activity. • The optimum calcination conditions were determined to be 850 °C for 2 h. • Maximum yield of 79.8% and FAME conversion of 97.1% was achieved. • Kinetic data fitted the pseudo-first order model and the Ea was 42.56 kJ mol−1. • The novel catalyst can be reused for 3 cycles with a final biodiesel yield of 60%. - Abstract: A palm oil mill fly ash supported calcium oxide (CaO) catalyst was developed to be used as a heterogeneous base catalyst in biodiesel synthesis from crude palm oil (CPO). The catalyst preparation procedure was optimised in terms of final calcination temperature and duration. The optimum catalyst preparation conditions were determined as final calcination at 850 °C for 2 h with 45 wt.% loading of calcined calcium carbonate (CaCO3). A maximum biodiesel yield of 75.73% was achieved for this catalyst under fixed transesterification conditions. Characterisation tests showed that the catalyst had higher surface area and basic sites which favoured transesterification. The effects of catalyst loading, methanol to oil molar ratio, reaction temperature and reaction time on biodiesel yield and fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) conversion were also investigated. It was determined that transesterification conditions of 6 wt.% catalyst loading, 12:1 methanol to oil molar ratio, 45 °C reaction temperature, 3 h reaction time and 700 rpm stirring speed resulted in biodiesel yield and FAME conversion of 79.76% and 97.09%, respectively. Experimental kinetic data obtained from the heterogeneous transesterification reactions fitted the pseudo-first order kinetic model. The activation energy (Ea) of the reaction was calculated to be 42.56 kJ mol−1. Key physicochemical properties of the produced biodiesel were measured and found to be within the limits set by EN 14214. The developed catalyst could feasibly be used up to three consecutive cycles after regeneration using methanol washing followed by recalcination at 850 °C for 2 h
[en] Jatropha curcas seed cake is a viable feedstock for co-firing with coal as it has the advantages of being renewable, carbon-neutral and sourced from a versatile plant. Torrefaction, a mild pyrolysis treatment by heating in a N_2 atmosphere, was investigated as a technique to improve the thermochemical properties of the biomass, primarily the HHV (higher heating value). The temperature and holding time were varied in the ranges of 200–300 °C and 0–60 min, respectively, to form a 5-level full-factorial experimental matrix. An optimum envelope of torrefaction parameters was identified in the range of <5 min at >280 °C to >45 min at 220–250 °C under a heating rate of 10 °C/min. This results in an enhancement of the HHV from 24 MJ/kg to more than 27 MJ/kg, which is within the range of coal, while maintaining an energy yield higher than 90%. The relationships between the HHV and the proximate fixed carbon content as well as the elemental CHO content were also investigated. Through "1"3C NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) spectroscopy, hemicellulose was determined as the most volatile component, undergoing decomposition before 250 °C while cellulose only degraded fully in the 250–300 °C range and lignin decomposition spanned from 200 °C to beyond 300 °C. - Highlights: • The optimum parameters ranged from <5 min at >280 °C to >45 min at 220–250 °C. • In this range, the higher heating value was enhanced by 20% to 27 MJ/kg. • A positive correlation exists between the HHV and the fixed carbon content. • H/C and O/C ratios of the biomass shifted towards those of coal. • Degradation of hemicellulose, cellulose and lignin components was investigated.
[en] Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in soil have been recognised as a serious health and environmental issue due to their carcinogenic, mutagenic and teratogenic properties. One of the commonly employed soil remediation techniques to clean up such contamination is soil washing or solvent extraction. The main factor which governs the efficiency of this process is the solubility of PAHs in the extraction agent. Past field-scale soil washing treatments for PAH-contaminated soil have mainly employed organic solvents or water which is either toxic and costly or inefficient in removing higher molecular weight PAHs. Thus, the present article aims to provide a review and discussion of the alternative extraction agents that have been studied, including surfactants, biosurfactants, microemulsions, natural surfactants, cyclodextrins, vegetable oil and solution with solid phase particles. These extraction agents have been found to remove PAHs from soil at percentages ranging from 47 to 100% for various PAHs. -- Highlights: • The alternative and advancement in extraction agents to remove PAHs from soil using soil washing technology is summarised. • The soil regulations for PAH level in various countries are summarized for reference to researchers. • The concentration levels of PAHs in soil at present and the need for soil remediation is presented. -- The efficiency of the extraction agent plays a significant role in soil washing of PAH-contaminated soil