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Comparison of atomization and volatility characteristics of Diesel-n-butanol and Diesel-ABE blends

Nowadays, energy and transportation sectors are still highly based on conventional fossil products. However, biofuels are gaining more attention in order to meet the most recent pollutant emission regulations and provide fuel diversity [1]. Alcohols are often blended to conventional fuels to increase the renewable content and improve combustion characteristics [2].

N-butanol is usually blended to Diesel oil in order to improve mixture formation and reduce pollutant emissions [3]. N-butanol can be produced from fermentation process and acetone-butanol-ethanol (ABE) is an intermediate product. Usually, acetone and n-butanol are separated from the ABE mixture, which increases the costs of the production of the biofuel, and according to recent studies the ABE-blends are showing promising results with low soot formation and improved combustion [4]. Therefore, blending ABE to Diesel directly can be more energy and cost-efficient. However, the material properties of n-butanol and ABE, affecting volatility, atomization, and hence, combustion characteristics, are non-identical, therefore the different blends must be compared in order to evaluate their mixture formation.

In this paper, properties influencing volatility and atomization characteristics of Diesel-n-butanol and Diesel-ABE blends are investigated and compared. Density, kinematic viscosity, and surface tension were measured for the blends and the effect of fuel preheating for droplet formation was evaluated. The non-ideal mixing behaviour of the former properties was also tested, and new correlations were determined. Volatility characteristics were evaluated in terms of distillation curves using a modified ASTM D86 setup. The distillation curves of Diesel-n-butanol blends were compared to other works, however, to the author’s knowledge there were no available studies about the distillation curves for Diesel-ABE blends. Finally, a correlation was suggested for the initial boiling points of the different blends in terms of the blending ratio.


[1] T. S. Kadam, M. B. Zite, and A. V Walanj, “Biofuels—Sustainable Alternative to Petroleum (Fossil Fuels) and New Revenue for Farmers BT - Techno-Societal 2016,” 2018, pp. 101–108.

[2] S. Kumar, J. H. Cho, J. Park, and I. Moon, “Advances in diesel–alcohol blends and their effects on the performance and emissions of diesel engines,” Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev., vol. 22, pp. 46–72, 2013, doi:

[3] I. Veza, M. F. M. Said, and Z. A. Latiff, “Progress of acetone-butanol-ethanol (ABE) as biofuel in gasoline and diesel engine: A review,” Fuel Process. Technol., vol. 196, p. 106179, 2019, doi:

[4] N. Zhou, M. Huo, H. Wu, K. Nithyanandan, C. F. Lee, and Q. Wang, “Low temperature spray combustion of acetone–butanol–ethanol (ABE) and diesel blends,” Appl. Energy, vol. 117, pp. 104–115, 2014, doi:


  • DarAli Osama
    Gépészmérnöki alapszak (BSc)
    alapképzés (BA/BSc)


  • Csemány Dávid
    PhD hallgató, Energetikai Gépek és Rendszerek Tanszék