Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Facts on Fuel

Did some research online and would like to share with you some facts on fuel since whether we like it or not, we are using it everyday one way or another... especially for those who drive. Please share it with your friends too if you find the facts below are useful ; )

Gasoline, or petrol, is a petroleum-derived liquid mixture which is primarily used as a fuel in internal combustion engines. It is also used as a solvent, mainly known for its ability to dilute paints. It consists mostly of aliphatic hydrocarbons obtained by the fractional distillation of petroleum, enhanced with iso-octane or the aromatic toluene and benzene to increase its octane rating. Small quantities of various additives are common, for purposes such as tuning engine performance or reducing harmful exhaust emissions. Some mixtures also contain significant quantities of ethanol as a partial alternative fuel. Most current or former Commonwealth countries use the term petrol, abbreviated from petroleum spirit. In North America, the substance is called gasoline, a term often shortened in colloquial usage to gas. It is not a genuinely gaseous fuel (unlike, for example, liquefied petroleum gas, which is stored under pressure as a liquid, but returned to a gaseous state before combustion). The term  petrogasoline is also used.

Petrol station in Malaysia have RON 95, RON 97 and diesel fuel for commercial vehicles.
But what does RON means? 95 better or 97 better? is diesel really better for the environment?

- RON stands for Research Octane Number. It measures the combustion properties of the fuel 
   (the ability of petrol to auto burn inside the engine.)

- Simply say, RON97 is harder to burn compared to RON95.

- The numbers 95 and 97 represent the minimum RON value of a fuel that will prevent
   “engine knocking”.

- Technical explanation :-
   Engine knocking happens when fuel combusts prematurely before ignition by the spark plug, 
   which causes a “knocking” effect, resulting in loss of power. 
   Using the appropriate minimum RON fuel that is recommended by your vehicle manufacturer 
   will ensure that combustion happens at the high time to avoid “engine knocking”.

- Simple explanation for you and me : )
   Higher octane number oil is basically designed for higher performance cars such as sport cars 
   and racing cars. This is to avoid premature burning of oil inside the engine.
   RON95 could be used for all types of cars including imported luxury cars.
   However, you have to remember one thing though. Check it out your vehicle fuel requirement.
   This is because it may cause some side effect, which is known as knocking 
   (poor performance of your vehicle)

Diesel fuel in general is any liquid fuel used in diesel engines. The most common is a specific fractional distillate of petroleum fuel oil, but alternatives that are not derived from petroleum, such as biodiesel, biomass to liquid (BTL) or gas to liquid (GTL) diesel, are increasingly being developed and adopted. To distinguish these types, petroleum-derived diesel is increasingly called petrodiesel. Ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) is a standard for defining diesel fuel with substantially lowered sulfur contents. As of 2007, almost every diesel fuel available in America and Europe is the ULSD type. In the UK, diesel is commonly abbreviated DERV, standing for Diesel Engined Road Vehicle (fuel).

Facts About Diesel Fuel
  1. The first diesel oil was actually invented by trial-and-error method by Rudolf Diesel while trying to find a fuel to run the engine invented by him. So diesel oil is not named after Rudolf Diesel, it is named after the engine that it fuels!
  2. The trial and error went to some extremes where Rudolf Diesel also tried some unbelievable oils, including peanut oil!
  3. Petrodiesel is crude fuel, fractionally distilled at temperatures between 200° C and 350° C, and contains anywhere between 8 to 21 atoms of carbon per molecule.
  4. Being a crude form of oil, it produces more pollution than gasoline. To reduce the effect of sulfur emissions, the European emissions standards forced production of a new diesel with substantially lowered sulfur levels, known as Ultra-low-sulfur diesel (ULSD).
  5. A diesel engine works quite differently from a gasoline engine as it does not have a spark plug for engine ignition. The cylinders are preheated and the injected diesel reacts with oxygen and burns. The heat produces mechanical motion of moving the pistons. Usually diesel engines are considered to be more fuel efficient than gas engines.
  6. The chemical make up for petrodiesel is 75% saturated hydrocarbons (paraffins and cycloparaffins) and 25% aromatic hydrocarbons (naphthalenes and alkylbenzenes). The other additives may vary based on the diesel company's innovation, the country's emission norms, etc. The chemical formula for petrodiesel could be anywhere between C10H20 to C15H28, depending upon the amount of distillation.
  7. While Rudolf Diesel experimented, unsuccessfully, with peanut oil, scientists today are going back to his idea and trying to create biodiesel, a form of diesel derived from animal fat and vegetable oils. It is a non-fossil fuel and is expected to reduce emissions and environmental problems in the future.
Advantages of Using Diesel
  • Diesel powered engines give better mileage to a horsepower as compared to their gas-powered counterparts.
  • A diesel engine is built for not-so-nice, heavy duty vehicles such as lorries and bigger cars. In other words, diesel can give a lot more torque to the vehicle than gas.
  • A diesel engine is more durable.
  • Bio-diesel can be used in almost any diesel engine as a environmentally safer option to diesel. You don't need special engines for using bio-diesel.
Disadvantages of Using Diesel
  • A diesel engine is a high maintenance commodity as the engine oil and fuel filter need to be changed quite often, as, unlike gas engines, these two are very crucial to the working of the diesel engine. Also, the valve adjustment needs to be done quite often to keep the diesel engine in good shape.
  • A diesel engine costs much more than its gas counterpart.
  • As a diesel powered engine does not have a spark plug for ignition, and the diesel itself has to start-up the engine, it takes a much longer time to start and get warmed up. In cold weather, it takes even more time to start as diesel turns into non-flowing gel that takes time to flow to the engine.

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