Optical characterization of methanol compression-ignition combustion in a heavy-duty engine

Alexios Matamis, Sara Lonn, Ludovica Luise, Bianca Maria Vaglieco, Martin Tuner, Oivind Andersson, Marcus Alden, Mattias Richter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the search for renewable fuels, there are very few candidates as compelling as methanol. It can be derived from refuse material and industrial waste, while the infrastructure exists worldwide to support broad and fast adoption, potentially even as a "drop-in" fuel for existing vehicles with only minor modifications. The most efficient engines currently available are compression-ignition engines, however they often come with high emissions or compromises like the soot-NOx trade-off. Methanol however, is a low sooting fuel that can potentially be used in such engines despite its high resistance to auto-ignition and reduce emissions while maintaining high engine efficiency. Due to the auto-ignition resistance, few studies of methanol compression-ignition exist and even fewer are conducted in an optically accessible engine. Here, two cases of premixed combustion and two of spray-driven combustion of methanol are studied in a Heavy-Duty optically accessible engine. Ignition and combustion propagation are characterized with a combination of time-resolved natural flame luminosity measurements and single-shot, acetone fuel-tracer, laser induced fluorescence. Additionally, Mie-scattering is used to identify the interaction between liquid spray and ignition sites in spray-driven methanol combustion. Results show that methanol combusts drastically different compared to conventional fuels, especially in spray-driven combustion. The evaporative cooling effect of methanol appears to play a major role in the auto-ignition characteristics of the delivered fuel. Ignition sites appear right at the end of injection when the evaporative cooling effect is withdrawn or at liquid length oscillations where, again the effect is momentarily retracted. To the authors' knowledge, this has not been documented before.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5509-5517
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Combustion Institute
Issue number4
Early online date2020 Jul 18
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Energy Engineering

Free keywords

  • Compression ignition
  • Fuel distribution
  • High speed camera
  • Methanol
  • Planar laser induced fluorescence


Dive into the research topics of 'Optical characterization of methanol compression-ignition combustion in a heavy-duty engine'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this