Emissions and performance of diethyl succinate in a diesel fuel blend

Rhodri W. Jenkins, Christopher D. Bannister, Christopher J. Chuck

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1 Citation (SciVal)


The finite nature of fossil fuels and their contribution to anthropogenic climate change is driving the development of biofuels. However, due to the inherent issues with current biofuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel, innovative replacements are being increasingly sought. Recently four esters produced from fermentation, diethyl succinate, dibutyl succinate, dibutyl fumarate and dibutyl malonate were reported to have suitable physical properties to conventional diesel fuel. While physical properties are indicative of fuel behaviour, the determination of a fuel’s combustion emissions and performance via controlled engine testing is vital. In this investigation the engine performance and emissions produced from the most viable fuel, diethyl succinate (DES), were examined. The diethyl succinate was blended with diesel in a 20% blend (DES20), due to the low cetane number of the diethyl succinate, and the emissions established under pseudo steady state conditions using a 2.0 L turbocharged direct-injection EURO 3-compliant light commercial vehicle equipped with a direct-injection common-rail diesel engine. When using DES20, the fuel demand and wheel force were higher across the majority of engine speeds, while exhaust gas temperatures were lower. The difference between DES20 and diesel’s exhaust gas temperature increased with increasing pedal demand. In comparison to petroleum-derived diesel carbon monoxide (CO) emissions were reduced on using DES20, most likely due to more complete combustion due to the increased oxygen content. However, the total hydrocarbons (THC) and mono-nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions were shown to increase on using the DES blend. Both of these factors were presumably due to the lower cetane number of the fuel, though the increase in THC was deemed negligible due to the low amount produced by both fuels.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1889-1899
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part D: Journal of Automobile Engineering
Issue number14
Early online date5 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


  • Diethyl succinate
  • Biofuel
  • Engine testing
  • Fermentation
  • Alternative fuel


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