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The potential of di-methyl ether (DME) as an alternative fuel for compression-ignition engines: A review

Arcoumanis, C., Bae, C., Crookes, R. & Kinoshita, E. (2008). The potential of di-methyl ether (DME) as an alternative fuel for compression-ignition engines: A review. Fuel, 87(7), pp. 1014-1030. doi: 10.1016/j.fuel.2007.06.007


This paper reviews the properties and application of di-methyl ether (DME) as a candidate fuel for compression-ignition engines. DME is produced by the conversion of various feedstock such as natural gas, coal, oil residues and bio-mass. To determine the technical feasibility of DME, the review compares its key properties with those of diesel fuel that are relevant to this application. DME’s diesel engine-compatible properties are its high cetane number and low auto-ignition temperature. In addition, its simple chemical structure and high oxygen content result in soot-free combustion in engines. Fuel injection of DME can be achieved through both conventional mechanical and current common-rail systems but requires slight modification of the standard system to prevent corrosion and overcome low lubricity. The spray characteristics of DME enable its application to compression-ignition engines despite some differences in its properties such as easier evaporation and lower density. Overall, the low particulate matter production of DME provides adequate justification for its consideration as a candidate fuel in compression-ignition engines. Recent research and development shows comparable output performance to a diesel fuel led engine but with lower particulate emissions. NOx emissions from DME-fuelled engines can meet future regulations with high exhaust gas recirculation in combination with a lean NOx trap. Although more development work has focused on medium or heavy-duty engines, this paper provides a comprehensive review of the technical feasibility of DME as a candidate fuel for environmentally-friendly compression-ignition engines independent of size or application.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2008, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Publisher Keywords: Di-methyl ether (DME); Compression-ignition engine; Diesel; Alternative fuel
Subjects: T Technology > TL Motor vehicles. Aeronautics. Astronautics
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Engineering
Text - Accepted Version
Available under License : See the attached licence file.

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