Understanding Fundamental Effects of Biofuel Structure on Ignition and Physical Fuel Properties: Article No. 129999

Sheikh Ahmed, Katherine Lockwood, Jacob Miller, Nabila Huq, Jon Luecke, Nicole Labbe, Thomas Foust

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus Citations


The development of biochemicals and biofuels with advantaged properties of higher combustion efficiency at lower emission levels can be aided by a priori prediction of critical global characteristics based on molecular structure. Existing predictive techniques are incomplete for comprehensive ignition and physical fuel property prediction. This investigation focuses on filling this knowledge gap by developing a priori prediction techniques for predicting important ignition as well as physical fuel properties of promising advantaged biofuels. We demonstrate the utility of this a priori prediction technique on saturated (=C5) alcohols, both linear and branched in nature by correlating their molecular structure with both important ignition and physical properties of the fuels. This work utilizes a semi-automated method of predicting ignition characteristics via accurate fundamental-based calculations of the fuel radical cascades that govern low-temperature combustion. This numerical methodology is supported by the relevant fuel ignition delay time (IDT) and research octane number (RON) data experimentally measured by the Advanced Fuel Ignition Delay Analyzer (AFIDA). Phyiscal fuel property trends are also analyzed by correlating the molecular structure of the fuel to its physical characteristics. Based on their molecular structure, recommendations are made on an a priori method for selecting biofuels that have advantaged properties for the selected fuel application. Lastly, the utility of this investigation is extended beyond the subset of alcohols considered by analyzing the IDT trends of i-Pentanol and n-Hexanol, revealing the fidelity of the novel kinetic modelling approach and the accuracy of the predicted trends in this study.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages9
Issue numberPart B
StatePublished - 2024

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5100-87346


  • advantaged biofuel
  • alcohol biofuels
  • chemical kinetics
  • fuel property first
  • fuel radicals
  • ignition delay


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