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FILL 'ER UP ... WITH VEGETABLE OIL

 FILL 'ER UP ... WITH VEGETABLE OIL
 DETROIT, Feb. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- The fuel crises of the 1970s and


early 1980s focused attention on the need to develop alternative fuels. But while most Americans try to ignore the national dependency on petroleum-based fuels, scientists across the country have continued their research.
 Speaking before the 1992 SAE International Congress & Exposition, Feb. 24-28, in Detroit, scientists from North Dakota State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture described their efforts to formulate a new fuel for diesel engines.
 Vegetable oils are attractive as an alternative to petroleum-based fuels because they are a renewable resource with relatively high heat values, but they also have a number of drawbacks. Besides their current uncompetitive price, vegetable oils used in a diesel engine create a variety of problems largely as a result of incomplete combustion, but operational difficulties such as cold starting, unreliable ignition and misfire, and degraded thermal efficiency also occur.
 To devise solutions to these problems, scientists studied the complex chemistry of vegetable oils under conditions that exist in a diesel engine. Although vegetable oils are mixtures of triglycerides, studying individual triglycerides simplifies the interpretation and understanding of the precombustion process.
 Since fuel for a diesel engine stays in the combustion chamber for a short period prior to combustion, researchers examined the products formed during the precombustion phase because they may contribute to the problems associated with the use of vegetable oils in diesel engines.
 They concluded that the composition -- and therefore the vegetable oil -- can be selected to give the best overall performance.
 In another set of tests, scientists compared the exhaust emissions of sunflower oil, a 50-50 mixture of sunflower oil and No. 2 diesel fuel, and 100-percent diesel fuel. The effect of engine load and speed on the emissions was also evaluated.
 Compared to 100-percent diesel fuel, the engine emissions from the sunflower oil mostly decreased; oxides of nitrogen decreased by 45 percent, hydrocarbons by 35 percent, and smoke by 20 percent, but carbon monoxide emissions rose by 5 percent.
 Emissions from the 50-50 mixture of sunflower oil and diesel fuel were also mostly lower compared to the diesel fuel, but not by as much; oxides of


nitrogen decreased by 20 percent, hydrocarbons by 5 percent, and smoke by 10 percent, but carbon monoxide emissions rose by 2 percent.
 On average, the sunflower oil and 50-50 mixture showed the highest reduction in exhaust emissions at the mid-load range of operations.
 -0- 2/24/92
 /NOTE: For further information on the SAE International Congress & Exposition, CONTACT: Debra Jacob, 313-393-4400, Ext. 3048, or 412-776-4841, Ext. 456 after Feb. 27, or Barbara Pontello, 412-776-4841, both of Society of Automotive Engineers/ CO: Society of Automotive Engineers; SAE International Congress &
 Exposition ST: Michigan, Pennsylvania IN: AUT OIL SU:


SM-DC -- DE035 -- 1910 02/24/92 12:45 EST
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Date:Feb 24, 1992
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