17 April 2017

Disadvantages of alcohol as a fuel

Alcohol can be obtained from nature and it can manufacture very easily so alcohol as a fuel is very attractive. It is one of the liquid fuel alternatives of gasoline used in a combustion engine. There are different types of alcohol but some main types are methanol, ethanol, propanol, and butanol. Let us have a deep insight into the disadvantages of alcohol used as a fuel. 

Disadvantages of alcohol as a fuel :

  • It contains oxygen and therefore requires less air for stoichiometric combustion.
  • It has a low energy content because the calorific value of the fuel is almost half.
  • Combustion of alcohols produces more aldehydes in the exhaust and this would be a serious exhaust pollution problem.
  • It is much more corrosive than gasoline on copper, brass, aluminium, rubber and many plastics. 
  • With long term use of alcohol fuel lines and tanks, gaskets and even metal engine parts can deteriorate very early especially methanol is very corrosive on metals.
  • It has poor cold-weather starting characteristics due to low vapour pressure and evaporation. 
  • Alcohols have poor ignition characteristics too.
  • Alcohols have invisible flames that are hazardous when handling fuel.
  • The danger of storage tank flammability air can leak into storage tanks and create a combustible mixture.
  • Because of low flame temperatures, there will be fewer NOx emissions.
  • Alcohol has a strong odour and it is very offensive.
  • In fuel delivery systems, there is a possibility of vapour lock.