Global energy production relies heavily on fossil fuels, which are depleting rapidly and are also regarded as the primary source of harmful emissions and climate change. As a result, there is an urgent need to develop green energy sources that can replace fossil fuels. In this context, biodiesel has the potential to be a viable alternative for diesel engines in the coming years.
Study: Analyzing emission characteristics of bio-fuel at varying mass fraction of nanoparticles. Image Credit: Scharfsinn/Shutterstock.com
A recent study published in the journal Materials Today: Proceedings examines the impact of various cobalt oxide nanoparticle percentages on soybean oil-based biodiesel, which is typically used in a four-stroke engine with compression ignition.
A Critical Need for Alternative to Fossil Fuels
Since petroleum is the fundamental and most significant energy source for the world's energy production, the amount of carbon fuels being used is steadily increasing, causing serious environmental concerns.
Gasoline is one of the most efficient and dependable energy sources available today. This is due to its suitability for various applications, particularly internal combustion engines. The bulk of fossil fuels obtained from carbon-based substances, such as gasoline, are used in automotive vehicles and other modes of transportation.
Although fossil fuels provide certain benefits, such as sustained economic growth and increased use of productive technologies, they also have some negative impacts. Using energy beyond what is required has resulted in a shortage of these energy supplies. Furthermore, producing gaseous emissions from fossil fuels is the principal cause of global warming and ozone layer depletion.
Biodiesel: The Future of Internal Combustion Engines
Given these ongoing issues and the undesirable effects of fossil fuels, a shift from fossil resources to biofuel-based renewable energy resources that are plentiful and less harmful to the environment is required. In this regard, biodiesel is one of the best biofuels currently available in automobile internal combustion engines.
The production of biodiesel, as well as methods to improve its efficiency, has recently become the focus of extensive research. This is because biodiesel does not emit harmful gases into the environment during the combustion process. Furthermore, biodiesel supplies are distributed fairly across the globe, reducing the likelihood of depletion in the reliable availability of biodiesels.
Despite these beneficial properties of biodiesel, there is still a critical need to improve its efficiency to ensure favorable combustion characteristics and reduced carbon emissions.
Nanomaterials for Enhancing Effectiveness of Biodiesel
Several studies have shown that incorporating precursors in the shape of micro- and nano-sized particles is an excellent strategy for increasing the efficiency of biodiesel at different concentrations.
Because of their large area-to-volume surface ratio, outstanding thermal characteristics, fast ignition rate, and high thermal conductivity, nanomaterials have been more effective than micro-scale additives in reducing agglomeration of biodiesel and improving burning and gasification.
Moreover, adding nanomaterials to biodiesel significantly improves its chemical properties, resulting in higher ignition, firing, and fogging temperatures.
Highlights and Key Developments of the Current Study
In this work, the researcher performed an in-depth investigation to gain more information and clear up any misconceptions about the effects of nanomaterials in biodiesel blends containing diesel and soybean oil.
To obtain the required biodiesel combination, biodiesel was developed by blending soybean biofuel in diesel at a 20:80 ratio (SD20). The nano-biodiesel (Nano SD-20) was then created by mixing cobalt oxide nanostructures with the as-prepared SD20 at varying percentages of 0, 30, 60, and 90 parts per million (ppm).
According to the findings of the study, adding 60 ppm of cobalt oxide nanostructures to soybean biodiesel increased the brake thermal efficiency (BTE) by 40.25% when compared to unmodified SD20 biodiesel. Furthermore, including cobalt oxide nanocomposites in biodiesel at a concentration of 90 ppm reduced carbon monoxide emissions by 68.57%. However, adding 30 ppm cobalt oxide nanoparticles to biodiesel increased nitrous oxide emissions.
Based on these results, it is reasonable to conclude that the nanoparticle-based biodiesel prepared in this study has the potential to replace fossil fuels, particularly in internal combustion engines. However, the concentration of nanoparticles added to biodiesel is critical to its performance and must be chosen with care.
Selvan, S. A., et al. (2022). Analyzing emission characteristics of bio-fuel at varying mass fractions of nanoparticles. Materials Today: Proceedings. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S221478532205324X?via%3Dihub