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In this work, the influences of ethanol and iso-butanol blended with gasoline on engine-out and post three-way catalyst (TWC) particle size distribution and number concentration were studied using a General Motors (GM) 2.0L turbocharged spark ignition direct injection (SIDI) engine. The engine was operated using the production engine control unit (ECU) with a dynamometer controlling the engine speed and the accelerator pedal position controlling the engine load. A TSI Fast Mobility Particle Sizer (FMPS) spectrometer was used to measure the particle size distribution in the range from 5.6 to 560 nm with a sampling rate of 1 Hz. U.S. federal certification gasoline (E0), two ethanol-blended fuels (E10 and E20), and 11.7% iso-butanol blended fuel (BU12) were tested. Measurements were conducted at 10 selected steady-state engine operation conditions.

Bi-modal particle size distributions were observed for all operating conditions with peak values at particle sizes of 10 nm and 70 nm. Idle and low-speed / low-load conditions emitted higher total particle numbers than other operating conditions. At idle, the engine-out particulate matter (PM) emissions were dominated by nucleation mode particles, and the production TWC reduced these nucleation mode particles by more than 50%, while leaving the accumulation mode particle distribution unchanged. At an engine load higher than 6 bar net mean effective pressure (NMEP), accumulation mode particles dominated the engine-out particle emissions, and the TWC had little effect. Compared to the baseline gasoline (E0), E10 does not significantly change PM emissions, while E20 and BU12 both reduce PM emissions under the conditions studied. Iso-butanol was observed to impact PM emissions more than ethanol, with up to 50% reductions at some conditions.

In this paper, issues related to PM measurement using the FMPS are also discussed. While some uncertainties are due to engine variation, the FMPS must be carefully maintained in order to achieve repeatable measurement results.


Automobiles — Motors — Exhaust gas; Biofuel; Ethanol as fuel; Ethanol blended; Emissions; Gasohol; Gasoline; Internal combustion engines; Iso-butanol; Spark ignition engines — Alternative fuels; Spark ignition engines — Exhaust gas


Environmental Health and Protection | Oil, Gas, and Energy | Sustainability




Presented at the SAE 2010 Powertrains, Fuels and Lubricants Meeting: San Diego, California: 25-27 October 2010.

NREL Report No. CP-5400-49311