Impact of aromatic concentration in marine fuels on particle emissions

The fuel sulfur content in marine fuels has been regulated in Sulfur Emission Control Areas (SECAs) since January 2015. However, other fuel characteristics are also believed to have an impact on particle emissions, particularly on the number of particles emitted. This study investigates the impact of the content of aromatics in fuel. To achieve fuel blends with concentrations of aromatics similar to those found in marine fuel oils, i.e. 20%–30% by volume (%vol.), normal diesel oil (4%–5% vol. aromatics) is doped with a mixture of aromatics.

Emission measurements are conducted in test-bed engine facilities and particle emissions over a wide size range are analyzed. Results show a decreased number of particles emitted (or not change) with an increase in the aromatic concentration in fuel. This is because there is a reduction in the cetane number of the fuel with an increased aromatic content, which effects the combustion process and results in decreased particle formation. However, when ignition improver is used to increase the cetane number, particle emissions remain at a lower level than for normal diesel oil; thereby emphasizing the presence of other factors in the formation of particles.

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