Mix Diesel with Biomass-Based Nylon and you can cut Soot by 50%

The doctoral research conducted by ir. Michael Boot was intended to make a soot-free diesel variant. He has succeeded in doing so by mixing the substance cyclohexanone with ordinary diesel. This causes the fuel, which is named Cyclox, to ignite later than usual, which allows oxygen and fuel to mix better. As a result, fewer soot particles are produced. “We have measured zero emission of soot at an air-fuel ratio of 50 to 50 “, Boot explains. During tests conducted in an idling passenger car, with a ratio of 10/90 (cyclohexanone/ordinary diesel), there is a fifty percent reduction in soot emission. That is an important datum, as soot emission poses a problem in inner cities in particular, where cars often move slowly or idle. The university has applied for an international patent on Cyclox.

Green nylon
Moreover, Boot’s research bore out that cyclohexanone can be made from lignin. This substance is released in great quantities as a waste product in the paper industry, among others. For this reason the Eindhoven researcher wants to try and develop an industrial process for making cyclohexanone from waste lignin on a large scale and at low cost. Together with three Departments and several companies he has submitted a project proposal for this with Agentschap NL. The purpose is eventually to make not only Cyclox with this, but also ‘green’ nylon. Indeed, cyclohexanone is also the main raw material of nylon.

It sounds like just the thing we want: fuel and nylon from waste. Will all our cars be running on this ‘waste fuel’ before long? It will not come to that. In the Netherlands for one the amount of waste lignin is enough to reach five percent admixture to all diesel taken in. In the Scandinavian countries, where the paper industry is bigger, this percentage is higher. Boot: “Cyclox is not the final solution, but it can make a substantial contribution to solving the energy issue.”

Michael Boot will take his PhD on April 20 by defending his dissertation entitled ‘Approaches to improve mixing in compression ignition engines’. He conducted his research with the Combustion Technology group of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. His research was financed by STW technology foundation and DAF Trucks.

Boot found yet another way to make diesels cleaner. He came up with a new kind of diesel injector tip, the PFAMEN (Porous Fuel Air Mixing Enhancing Nozzle). Normally an injector tip has a limited number of holes. Boot had a surprising idea: what if we use a filter as the tip? Thereby the diesel is atomized much more, so its combustion is better – as well as cleaner. Boot developed this idea into a prototype, which has already carried out half a million injections successfully. The PFAMEN has another big advantage: it works at a lower than the usual pressure. This reduces the fuel consumption. And the fuel circuit, which is the most expensive part of the engine, can be made much more cheaply.

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