The history of a diesel engine dates back to the previous century, when Rudolf Diesel proposed a fundamentally new design that converts fuel combustion energy into mechanical energy. After many years, diesel engine has not lost its relevance and began to enjoy increasing popularity. The reasons are obvious: the fuel for a diesel engine is relatively cheap and it is more environmentally friendly.
Moreover, modern diesel engines for passenger vehicles are highly competitive against gasoline engines. Perhaps, a diesel engine is the only good option for large equipment.
Performance characteristics of a diesel engine are largely dependent on the quality of fuel used. But it does not always have the necessary cetane number, sulfur content, etc. The totality of these factors results in lower capacity, deterioration of environmental friendliness and economical efficiency, as well as reduction of serivce life. Let’s consider possible solutions to these issues.
Increasing the Cetane Number
Today there are special additives produced to improve various consumer characteristics of diesel fuel. Cetane number is no exception; it can be improved by adding specific substances to fuel.
Some additives can increase the cetane number by 5 units. In addition, they improve fuel combustion properties and increase engine efficiency. Typically, the concentration of cetane-enhancing additives is not more than 0.2-0.5%. When making a choice in favor of such a solution, it should be understood that the cost of one liter of such fuel will slightly increase.
In recent years, an increasing number of smoke suppressant additives have been introduced to the market. They have been seriously improved by the use of catalytic reagents. Such additives are used to improve the combustion of diesel fuel, reduce exhaust smoke and carbon buildup. Their concentration in fuel generally does not exceed 0.2%. Due to this, diesel fuel is not that cheap any more, but not much more expensive either.
Removal of deposits
In order to clean an engine’s fuel system, a special method is used worldwide. In essence, this is how it works. An engine is running on special solvent instead of fuel for some time (usually no longer than an hour). It cleans fuel pump and fuel lines from deposit builup and restores normal operation of nozzles. This effect is achieved due to the fact that solvent contains surfactants which are capable of catalyzing the oxidation of hydrocarbon compounds at high temperatures, when the engine is running under load. Interestingly, the washout is carried out immediately after treatment with solvent. The builup residue burns away during the next 16-20 hours. Automobile industry experts suggest that the use of this technology during every scheduled maintenance will increase service life of diesel engines.
Beside the presence of buildup and low cetane number, the quality of diesel fuel is also reduced by water. Water in the fuel adversely affects fuel equipment. The greatest harm is caused to the high-precision plunger pairs of fuel pumps and injectors, which are subject to corrosion.
There are several ways for water to get inside diesel fuel. Most often it can condense out of the air into fuel tanks of vehicles. Sometimes refueling at unreliable gas stations is to blame.
In this case, there are also special additives that can remove water from fuel tanks and protect fuel equipment against corrosion. The concentration of these additives does not exceed 0.5%, and they are usually used every 5-10 thousand kilometers.
Protecting fuel from sulfur
Sulphur is a very interesting component of diesel fuel. On the one hand it contributes to the appearance of acidic compounds under certain engine operating conditions, and on the other hand it improves lubricating properties of diesel fuel. Therefore it is very important to refuel with petroleum product containing the optimum amount of sulfur, which will minimize its harmful impact and maximize the benefits.
Fighting deterioration of diesel fuel quality as a result of long-term storage
Very often, in order to insure themselves against seasonal price variations, owners of large vehicle fleets buy diesel fuel in bulk. As a result of long-term storage, fuel can oxidize, darken and become contaminated with mechanical impurities. In such case, it cannot be used. Therefore, to restore normal performance, special equipment should be used – UVR type plants by GlobeCore.
They allow to remove hydrogen sulfide and unsaturated hydrocarbons from oxidized diesel fuel after long-term storage and reduce sulfur concentration and wax content. After processing with UVR plants, diesel fuel is clarified and does not re-oxidize or darken.