What is Diesel Fuel Atomization?
Diesel Fuel Atomization: the Past, Present, and Future of Fuel Consumption Efficiency
The most effective means of cutting operating costs is the reduction of fuel consumption.
Atomization reduces petroleum-fuel consumption to an equal or greater degree than any other fuel-saving technology. Fuel-atomizing technology also reduces diesel engine emissions to a greater extent than any other diesel emissions reduction technology.
It can be argued that reducing idle time or increasing production-per-hour rates save fuel and reduce emissions comparably. But with respect to energy and emissions output per gallon of fuel burned, there is no debate.
What Fuel Atomization Does
The fuel-saving and emissions-reducing effects of atomization are a product of its capacity to mix diesel. Atomization mixes diesel into a highly-combustible fuel that is easy to burn more completely. The more complete fuel combustion is — the cleaner the burn — the greater the fuel efficiency and the fewer the emissions.
More important than understanding the process of diesel fuel atomization is understanding its benefits. Dramatic fuel savings and extraordinary emissions reduction are the benefits of burning highly-atomized diesel fuel. Nevertheless, an understanding of the composition of diesel and the diesel-atomization process accentuates the importance of burning highly-atomized diesel fuel.
Atomization in Compression Engines
Fuel atomization is not a new concept. Atomization is an original feature of compression-ignition engines (CI). However, one thing has become abundantly clear in recent decades. The efficiency of diesel fuel atomization plays the majority role in how completely diesel fuel burns.
Diesel engines are a type of compression-ignition engine. In a CI engine, a mechanical process called adiabatic compression occurs. Fuel combustion in a CI engine results from high-temperature, compressed air igniting the fuel inside a combustion chamber.
Unlike spark-ignition engines, compression engines do not a require spark to combust diesel. But prior to combustion, diesel must undergo three physical changes. The first change is diesel atomization on a molecular level. Diesel emulsification — oxygen must be added to the atomized diesel — is the second. Diesel vaporization is the third change.
Unless it is atomized, emulsified, and vaporized, a CI engine cannot combust diesel.
Why Atomization is Required for Compression-Ignition Engines
The value of diesel atomization is a reflection of the natural state of diesel fuel. The natural state of diesel fuel is not homogeneity. Diesel is composed of dozens of different molecule types. And, the different types of molecules in diesel are not free-floating and evenly distributed. Instead, the molecules in diesel cluster together in dense conglomerations.
In colloquial terms, diesel fuel is chunky. Diesel fuel resembles dumpling soup more than chicken broth, on a molecular level.
The clustering of fuel molecules directly affects how efficiently a CI engine can burn diesel.
Oxygen, Clusters, and Complete Combustion and Diesel Fuel Clusters
If not combusted during the upstroke of an engine’s piston, unburned diesel fuel exits through the exhaust as wasted energy. In addition to unburned fuel being a loss of energy, unburned fuel released into the atmosphere is a highly toxic pollutant.
There are two primary factors that lead to incomplete combustion: lack of air and poor atomization.
The molecules in diesel fuel require oxygen to combust.
If vaporized diesel is not mixed with a sufficient amount of oxygen, incomplete combustion is the result. Likewise, the molecules in diesel fuel clusters that oxygen cannot reach do not burn. Even if there is sufficient oxygen content to otherwise generate complete combustion, clusters prevent a clean burn.
Two Types of Atomizers
There are two types of atomizers.
Injectors – The first — the traditional atomizer — is an injector. Injectors atomize, emulsify, and vaporize diesel in a single process. Improving the atomization efficiency of injectors is a matter of increasing the pressure under which diesel is injected into a combustion chamber — a cylinder.
Historically, around 6,500 psi was the standard amount of pressure used to atomize, emulsify, and vaporize diesel. Today, diesel engine manufacturers are experimenting with injectors that use ten times that amount of pressure.
Fuel Catalysts – The second type of atomizer is a pre-combustion fuel catalyst. Unlike injectors, fuel catalysts do not use pressure to atomize fuel. Instead, a fuel catalyst neutralizes the polarity binding fuel molecules into clusters.
How a Fuel Catalyst Works on a Molecular Level
As the name appropriately implies, a fuel catalyst is a device that changes the physical makeup of diesel. As diesel passes through the fuel catalyst mounted on the fuel line, it undergoes atomization. The Rentar fuel catalyst is a mechanical device made of precious and noble metals. The metals neutralize the polar attraction between molecules in a molecular cluster. This depolarization breaks up the clusters.
The effect is a homogenous diesel fuel. Homogeneity means the fuel molecules can easily mix with oxygen. Fuel molecules mixed with oxygen burn cleanly. The means complete combustion. In addition, the Rentar fuel catalyst’s reaction releases a small amount of hydrogen that also enhances the fuel burn and reduces nitrous oxides due to its ability to reduce combustion temperature.
Atomizers like the Rentar Fuel Catalyst can reduce toxic diesel fuel emissions. In addition, the Rentar Fuel Catalyst improves fuel efficiency by between 3% and 8% on trucks and machines. The Rentar improves the fuel efficiency of marine engines by up to 15%. On boilers and furnaces, the Rentar increases fuel efficiency up to 30%.