Researchers from Automotive Industry Institute assessed the use of biogas without its prior upgrading to biomethane as fuel for tractor engines
Raw biogas is used as fuel for stationary internal combustion engines. Now, a team of researchers from Poland at the Automotive Industry Institute, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University, Motor Transport Institute, and Warsaw University of Technology assessed the ability of biogas without prior upgrading to biomethane as a fuel for an agriculture tractor engine. The team demonstrated the ability to use biogas with at least 50% methane content to power an agriculture tractor engine. The team performed tests with the use of an engine dynamometer and found that an engine powered by dual fuel that contained both diesel oil and biogas demonstrated stable performance when the diesel fuel was replaced with around 40% biogas or slightly over 30% methane.
Higher amounts of methane fuels led to knocking combustion symptoms in the engine. The team tested the load characteristics of the engine and found that the dual fuel solution decreased the amount of particulate matter that is eliminated in the atmosphere. The amount of hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide emitted from the exhaust increased when diesel was replaced with methane or biogas doses in quantities of 30%, regardless of operating conditions of the engine. According to the researchers, optimizing engine performance or using a catalytic converter can reduce the emission of hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide. Moreover, dual fuel method did not have a significant impact on the concentration of nitrogen oxides in exhaust gases.
Field tests of 200 moto hours were conducted with real biogas containing around 50% methane, 50% carbon dioxide, 20 ppm of hydrogen sulphide, and without water and siloxanes. The team found that the approach did not significantly affect the dynamics of vehicle. Moreover, issues such as excessive fuel consumption, problems with starting the engine, extra smoke emission during the start-up phase, and negative impact on the lubrication system and the noise level were not noticed. The replacement of 30% diesel oil with biogas had no significant impact on the maximum acceleration of agriculture tractor. The research was published in the journal MDPI Energies on March 20, 2019.
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