Dimethyl ether (DME) is a potential ultra clean diesel fuel. Dimethyl ether burns without producing the smoke associated with diesel combustion and can be manufactured from synthesis gas or methanol. However, DME has a low viscosity compared to diesel fuel and has insufficient lubricity to prevent excessive wear in fuel injection systems. One strategy to utilize DME is to blend it with diesel fuel to obtain cleaner burning fuels that retain satisfactory fuel properties. In the present work, the viscosity of blends of DME and various fuels and additives was characterized, including a federal low-sulfur diesel fuel, soybean oil, biodiesel, and various lubricity additives, over a range of blend ratios. A methodology was developed to utilize a high-pressure capillary viscometer to measure the viscosity of pure DME and blends of DME and other compounds in varying proportions and at pressures up to 3500 psig. While DME is miscible in diesel fuel at any mixture fraction when the blend is held under pressures of 75 psi or above, the viscosity of the blends is below the ASTM diesel fuel specification for even a 25 wt % blend of DME in diesel fuel. None of the additives or fuels provides adequate viscosity when blended with DME unless the blend contains less than 50% DME. Viscosity, rather than lubricity, may be the limiting factor in utilizing DME.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Chemical Engineering(all)
- Fuel Technology
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology