Research Papers: Energy Systems Analysis

Application of Low-Temperature Phase Change Materials to Enable the Cold Weather Operability of B100 Biodiesel in Diesel Trucks

[+] Author and Article Information
Obiajulu J. Nnaemeka

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Manitoba,
Winnipeg, MB R3T 5V6, Canada
e-mail: nnaemeko@myumanitoba.ca

Eric L. Bibeau

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Manitoba,
Winnipeg, MB R3T 5V6, Canada
e-mail: eric.bibeau@umanitoba.ca

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENERGY RESOURCES TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received September 7, 2018; final manuscript received December 20, 2018; published online January 18, 2019. Assoc. Editor: Omid Askari.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 141(6), 062008 (Jan 18, 2019) (9 pages) Paper No: JERT-18-1696; doi: 10.1115/1.4042409 History: Received September 07, 2018; Revised December 20, 2018

The use of B100 biodiesel for compression ignition engines during the winter poses a challenge due to gelling and plugging of engine filters and fuel lines. The most common method to prevent this issue is blending it with petroleum diesel and many engine manufacturers limit the biodiesel in blends to 20% or less for warrantee purposes; as low as 5% may be set for winter months. In this research, an experimental analysis is performed using a scaled model of the fuel tank with canola oil as a test fluid in the tank. An insulated tank is subjected to an ambient temperature of −20 °C in an icing tunnel facility with air velocity at 10 m/s. The results show that the time for the oil to drop from 20 °C to 5 °C was increased from 18.6 h to 22.5 and 33 h, respectively, when 4 and 12 tubes containing phase change materials (PCM) were inserted in the tank containing 33 l of canola oil. A numerical model was further formulated to predict the transient temperature of the oil and comparison with experimental results showed excellent agreement. Finally, the developed numerical model was used to simulate different designs to investigate the effect of tank filling level, overall heat transfer coefficient, number of PCM modules, and diameter of PCM modules on the tank performance. The results show that B100 can be implemented in diesel engines in cold climates using a passive approach using engine coolant.

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Fig. 1

Sample schematic of PCM arrangement in a fuel tank

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Fig. 2

Schematic flow chart for the implementation of tank design into heavy duty diesel trucks [4]

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Fig. 3

Experimental setup showing (a) PCM containing tubes inside the tank and (b) insulated tank assembly with thermocouples

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Fig. 4

Positioning of the PCM tubes (red colour) and thermocouples for oil and PCM temperature measurements: no PCM tube in tank (left), 4 PCM tubes in tank (middle), and 12 PCM tubes in tank (right)

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Fig. 5

Schematic of tank used for numerical analysis of the problem

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Fig. 6

Enthalpy–temperature curve for Rubitherm RT18HC PCM

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Fig. 7

Discretization of PCM and PCM container for finite difference solution

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Fig. 8

Transient oil temperature for tank with 4 and 12 PCM tubes inserted compared to tank with no PCM tube for a single run each

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Fig. 9

Experimental and numerical transient average oil temperature for tank without PCM inserted

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Fig. 10

Comparison of experimental and numerical transient oil temperature for (a) tank with 4 PCM tubes inserted and (b) tank with 12 PCM tubes inserted

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Fig. 11

Effect of various number of PCM pencils (N) on the tank performance

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Fig. 12

(a) Effect of changing PCM pencil diameter on tank performance and (b) power delivered by PCM pencils for various diameters

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Fig. 13

Effect of overall heat transfer coefficient on tank performance

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Fig. 14

Tank performance for various oil levels



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