synthetic fuel advantages
Source: alliance for synthetic fuels in europe (asfe)
The unique properties of paraffinic fuels to both enhance diesel performance and decarbonize the transport sector deliver huge benefits:
Improved Air Quality
Paraffinic fuel does not contain sulphur or nitrogen and therefore reduces harmful SOx and NOx emissions from diesel engines. They also reduce particulates, HC and carbon monoxide compared to conventional diesel fuel.
Paraffinic diesel fuels can be blended with conventional diesel fuel without modification to the engine or the diesel retail infrastructure. Unlike some biofuels, paraffinic diesel fuels can be used in the winter without concern by enhancing the isomerization of the paraffinic fuel.
High Cetane Number
Due to the mixture of n- and iso-paraffins in the fuel, paraffinic diesel fuels have very high cetane numbers, from 75 – 90 (petroleum diesel is 40 – 50). Higher cetane numbers deliver enhanced diesel engine performance. Because blending paraffinic fuel with conventional diesel fuel increases the cetane number linearly, paraffinic fuels are far more beneficial than cetane improver additives.
Paraffinic fuels have excellent stability and do not “expire” as conventional diesel fuel does. The solubility of water into paraffinic diesel fuels is similar to conventional diesel fuels, or even lower, since paraffins are non-polar hydrocarbons.
Higher Energy Content
Mass-based energy content of paraffinic fuels is higher than conventional diesel fuel, even though they have a lower density. The hydrogen content of paraffinic diesel leads to a higher-overall mass-based heating value for paraffinic diesel. From an efficiency standpoint, this means that the volumetric fuel consumption could increase for summer diesel and remain the same or decrease for winter diesel. Engine tuning also increases the energy efficiency gains of paraffinic diesel.
Studies have demonstrated the brake specific fuel consumption was lower for FT fuels than for conventional diesel, and the mass-based fuel consumption is lower than conventional fuels due to the higher energy content and combustion efficiency. However, given the lower density of the fuel, the volumetric fuel consumption may increase when compared to summer diesel fuels. Studies also show decreased tailpipe CO2 emissions with paraffinic fuels due to the higher hydrogen content and better engine efficiency for paraffins than for diesel fuel.