The present paper describes some results of a cooperative research project between GM Powertrain Europe and Istituto Motori of CNR aimed at studying the impact of FAME and GTL fuel blends on the performance, emissions and fuel consumption of the latest-generation automotive diesel engines. The investigation was carried out on the newly released GM 2.0L 4-cylinder "torque-controlled" Euro 5 diesel engine for PC application and followed previous tests on its Euro 4 version, in order to track the interaction between the alternative fuels and the diesel engine, as the technology evolves. Various blends of first generation biodiesels (RME, SME) and GTL with a reference diesel fuel were tested, notably B20, B50 and B100. The tests were done in a wide range of engine operation points for the complete characterization of the biodiesels performance in the NEDC cycle, as well as in full load conditions. For a good readability of the paper, only the results regarding the pure fuels (B100) are discussed here. The results have confirmed the good capability of FAME fuels to reduce soot formation thanks to the lack of precursors and the presence of the oxygen in the fuel. At the same time, thanks to its high "combustion efficiency" GTL offers a simultaneous reduction of both fuel consumption and pollutant emissions. The investigations put in evidence that the impact of the alternative fuels on the modern diesel engines remains significant, through the interaction between the alternative fuel characteristics and the engine-management strategies. Nevertheless, such interaction can be strongly reduced through the adoption of the torque-controlled engine management, enabled by the use of commercial instrumented pressure transducer glow-plug. © 2010 SAE International.
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