Rapid depletion of conventional energy sources along with increasing demand for energy is a matter of serious concern.  India is spending several thousands of crores per annum in foreign exchange on importing required petroleum based fuels.  Over ninety percent of today’s energy demand is being met with fossil fuels, mainly petroleum products. The fact that petroleum based fuels will neither be available in sufficient quantities nor at reasonable price in future has revived interest in exploring alternate fuels for diesel engines. As India is an agricultural country, there is a wide scope for the production of vegetable oils derived from different oil seeds.  Obviously, only non-edible vegetable oils can be seriously considered as fuels for engines as the edible oils are in great demand and are far too expensive as fuels.  The auto ignition properties of vegetable oils are almost similar to those of diesel fuels and hence can be used in diesel engines with little or no engine modification.  However, high viscosity and low volatility are the main disadvantages of these oils, which are the causes for poor performance and heavy smoke in diesel engines.  It is planned to carryout suitable modifications on the existing engine by insulating piston, cylinder liner and cylinder head with an intention to improve the performance of the engine and to reduce emissions.  It is also aimed to solve basic problems associated with these engines and make it suitable for vegetable oil fuel operation. Experiments were designed to study the effect of reducing kusum (Schleichera Oleosa) and Hemp (Gongura) oils viscosity by preheating the fuel, using a shell and tube heat exchanger.  The acquired engine data were analyzed for various parameters such as brake thermal efficiency, brake specific energy consumption (BSEC), emission of exhaust gases like HC, CO. In operation, the engine performance with kusum and hemp oils (preheated) is found to be very close to that of diesel.


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