Optimization of reactivity-controlled compression ignition combustion fueled with diesel and hydrous ethanol using response surface methodology

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36 Scopus citations


Anhydrous ethanol has been widely investigated as an alternative fuel for internal combustion engines. The use of high water content hydrous ethanol in engines has the potential to significantly improve life-cycle energy use and CO2 emissions of bio-ethanol. Our previous work showed that dual-fuel reactivity-controlled compression ignition (RCCI) combustion is a promising combustion strategy replacing up to 80% of the total fuel energy with hydrous ethanol yielding simultaneously high thermal efficiency and low engine-out NOX and soot emissions. In this work, we use response surface methodology (RSM) to experimentally optimize several key engine engine-out emissions parameters at high and low engine load with data from a single-cylinder research engine. Efficient experimental designs were developed that allowed identification of statistically significant operating parameters for optimizing emissions. Following the optimization path generated by the RSM, NOX and soot emissions were reduced by 79% and 50% at the low load condition, and by 72% and 27% at the high load condition, compared to the starting points. Indicated thermal efficiency was compromised along the optimization path due to delayed combustion phasing for both load conditions. The study also shows that different operating parameters are significant for RCCI emissions at different engine loads. A trade-off between HC and CO emissions was observed at the lower load condition, while HC and CO were both lower after the optimization process at the higher load condition. Overall, this work shows that RSM can be effectively used to elucidate interactions among multiple engine operating parameters with reduced experimentation to optimize complex dual-fuel RCCI combustion modes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)446-457
Number of pages12
StatePublished - Aug 17 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by the Minnesota Corn Growers and the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute of Minnesota under grant number AIC194. The authors would also like to acknowledge the members of the Engines, Fuels and Emissions Laboratory at the University of Minnesota for their technical guidance during the experiments.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Hydrous ethanol
  • Reactivity-controlled compression ignition
  • Response surface methodology


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