Bi-fuel vehicle

Bi-fuel vehicles are vehicles with multifuel engines capable of running on two fuels. On internal combustion engines one fuel is gasoline or diesel, and the other is an alternate fuel such as natural gas (CNG), LPG, or hydrogen. [cite web|url=|title=Flexible Fuel Vehicles|publisher=Motopoint|author=Diane Nassy|date= |accessdate=2008-08-24|language= ] The two fuels are stored in separate tanks and the engine runs on one fuel at a time, unlike flexible-fuel vehicles ("dual-fuel"), that store the two different fuels mixed together in the same tank, and the resulting blend is burned in the combustion chamber. Bi-fuel vehicles have the capability to switch back and forth from gasoline or diesel to the other fuel, manually or automatically. [cite web | url=| title=Glossary | author= | publisher=Biofuel Marketplace | date= | accessdate=2008-09-01 |language= See definition of Bi-fuel Vehicle ] cite web | url= | title=BioFuel Technology Handbook | author=Dominik Rutz and Rainer Jansen | publisher=WIP Renewable Energies | date= February 2007 | accessdate= 2008-09-01 | format= PDF |language= See definition in Glossary and Abbreviations] cite web | url= | title=Definition of Terms | author= | publisher=Sustainable Green Fleets | date=| accessdate=2008-09-01 |language= ] [cite web | url= | title=Glossary | author= | publisher=Biofuel Marketplace | date= | accessdate=2008-09-01 |language= See definition of FFV]

The most common technology and alternate fuel available in the market for bi-fuel gasoline cars is natural gas (CNG), [cite web | url= | title=Natural Gas Vehicles | author=Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center | publisher=US Department of Energy | date= | accessdate=2008-09-01 |language= ] and it is used mainly in Europe, where Italy currently has the largest number of CNG vehicles. They are also used in South America, where these vehicles are mainly used as taxicabs in main cities of Brazil and Argentina. Normally, standard gasoline vehicles are retrofitted in specialized shops, which involve installing the gas cylinder in the trunk and the CNG injection system and electronics.


Aftermarket 'bi-fuel' and even 'tri-fuel' conversions and are also available.

Factory bi-fuel passenger cars:

*Fiat PuntoCite web|url=|title=Fiat website|accessdate=2008-04-22]
*Fiat Siena Tetrafuel, with a gasoline flex-fuel engine and natural gas (CNG). [cite web|url=|title= Fiat Siena Tetra Power: Your Choice of Four Fuels |publisher=Treehugger|author= Christine Lepisto|date=2006-08-27 |accessdate=2008-08-24|language= ] [Cite web| url= | author= |title=Nouvelle Fiat Siena 2008: sans complexe |publisher=Caradisiac | date=2007-11-01| accessdate=2008-08-31 | language=French ] [Cite web| url= | author=Agência AutoInforme |title=Siena Tetrafuel vai custar R$ 41,9 mil |publisher=WebMotor | date=2006-06-19 | accessdate=2008-08-14 | language=Portuguese The article argues that even though Fiat called it tetra fuel, it actually runs on three fuels: natural gas, ethanol, and gasoline.]
*Chevrolet Cavalier
*Ford Contour

Factory bi-fuel pickups

*Chevrolet Silverado
*Ford F-150, F250

Diesel conversions

Bi-fuel conversion modifies an original diesel engine so that the engine operates on diesel and gas simultaneously (bi-fuel operation).

Bi-fuel operation means the engine uses two fuels (gas and diesel oil) at the same time. Natural gas is intended as the main fuel and diesel oil is used for the ignition of the gas/air mixture inside the cylinder (a portion of diesel oil is injected at the end of the compression stroke, thereby maintaining the original diesel operation principle).

There usually two type of conversions - low speed (below 1000 RPM) and high speed (between 1200 and 1800 RPM).

Low and middle speed conversion

How it works?

Gas is injected into the cylinder inlet manifold by individual gas electromagnetic valves installed as close to the suction valves as possible. The valves are separately timed and controlled by injection control unit (like ComAp INCON or Woodward SogavTM). This system interrupts the gas supply to the cylinder during the long overlap of the suction and exhaust valves (just typical for slow-speed and medium-speed engines – within the valve overlap cylinder scavenging is performed). This avoids substantial gas losses and prevents dangerous gas flow to the exhaust manifold.

* This conversion is adjusted for low speed engines up to 1000 RPM.
* System for conversion of industrial diesel engine to Bi-fuel operation by substitution of 70-90% natural gas for diesel or HFO.
* Gas is injected directly before intake valve by high speed electromagnetic injector, one or two injector per each cylinder.

High speed conversion

How it works?

Gas is mixed with air by a common mixer installed before turbocharger(s). Gas flow is controlled by a throttle valve, which is electronically operated by the special control system according to the required engine output and speed. In order to avoid knocking of the engine, knocking detector/controller is installed, thus enabling engine operation at the most efficient gas/diesel ratio.

* Suitable for all High Speed engines, 1200-1800 RPM.
* System for conversion of industrial diesel engine to Bi-fuel operation by substitution of 50-80% natural gas for diesel.
* Gas and air are blended behind air filter before turbocharger by central mixer.

Common conversion features

* Substantial savings on operation costs
* Practically no engine modification required
* Non-derated output power
* Fuel flexibility: Possibility of bi-fuel or original pure diesel operations
* Safe operation
* Lower emissions
* Longer engine life span, longer service and maintenance intervals

Gas types used

It is common to use CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) or LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) for bi-fuel operations. Both are also mostly used for Generator sets conversions, because the engine does not loose the output power.

In recent years biogas is being used. The biogas composition and calorific value must be known in order to evaluate if the particular biogas type is suitable. Calorific value may be an issue as biogas is derived from different sources and there is low calorific value in many cases. You can imagine you have to inject sufficient volume of gas into the cylinder to substitute diesel oil (or, better to say, substitute energy delivered by diesel oil). If the calorific value (energy) of the biogas was very low, there is a need to inject really big volume of biogas into the cylinder, which might be technically impossible.

Associated gas is the last type of gas which is commonly used for bi-fuel conversions of generator sets. Associated gas is a natural gas found in association with oil, either dissolved in the oil or as a cap of free gas above the oil. It means it has almost the same quality as CNG or LNG.

What is a reachable diesel/gas ratio?

It depends on the technical state of the engine, especially of the injection system. The typical Diesel / Gas ratio is 40/60% for the high-speed engines. If the operating output of the engine is constant and between 70-80% of nominal output, than it is possible to reach up to 30/70% ratio. If the operating output is lower (for example 50% of the nominal output) or if there are variations, the rate is about 45/55% (more of diesel is used). For Low Speed conversions it is possible to reach the Diesel/gas ratio up to 10/90%.

Generally, it is not possible to guarantee an exact Diesel/gas ratio without a test being done after the conversion.

ee also

* Alternative fuel vehicle
* Flexible-fuel vehicle (FFV or dual-fuel vehicle)
* Multifuel


External links

*cite web
title=ComAp Conversion Kits Overview

*cite web
title=Bi-fuel Power

*cite web
title=Conversions of Engines to Dual Fuel

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Flexible-fuel vehicle — For other types of vehicles, see Alternative fuel vehicle and Hybrid vehicle. The Ford Model T was the first commercial flex fuel vehicle. The engine was capable of running on gasoline or ethanol, or a mix of both. A flexible fuel vehicle (FFV)… …   Wikipedia

  • Alternative fuel vehicle — refers to a vehicle that runs on a fuel other than traditional gasoline or diesel; any method of powering an engine that does not involve solely petroleum (e.g. electric car, gasoline electric hybrid, solar powered). Due to a combination of heavy …   Wikipedia

  • Flexible Fuel Vehicle — Vier typische brasilianische Full flex fuel Modelle von verschiedenen Herstellern, umgangssprachlich als Flex Auto bekannt. Diese Fahrzeuge laufen in beliebigem Gemisch mit Ethanol und Benzin. Ein Flexible Fuel Vehicle (FFV, richtigerweise… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Flexible fuel vehicle — (FFV)   A vehicle that can operate on alternative fuels (such as M85 or E85)   ■ 100 percent petroleum based fuels   ■ any mixture of an alternative fuel (or fuels) and a petroleum based fuel.   ■ Flexible fuel vehicles have a single fuel system… …   Energy terms

  • Clean fuel vehicle —   is frequently incorrectly used interchangeably with alternative fuel vehicle. Generally, refers to vehicles that use low emission, clean burning fuels. Public Resources Code Section 25326 defines clean fuels, for purposes of the section only,… …   Energy terms

  • Flex Fuel Vehicle —   See Dual Fuel Vehicle …   Energy terms

  • Variable fuel vehicle —   See Flexible fuel vehicle.   U.S. Dept. of Energy, Energy Information Administration s Energy Glossary …   Energy terms

  • Alternative-fuel vehicle — (AFV)   A vehicle designed to operate on an alternative fuel (e.g., compressed natural gas, methane blend, electricity). The vehicle could be either a dedicated vehicle designed to operate exclusively on alternative fuel or a nondedicated vehicle …   Energy terms

  • Dual fuel vehicle —   1) A motor vehicle that is capable of operating on an alternative fuel and on gasoline or diesel fuel. These vehicles have at least two separate fuel systems which inject each fuel simultaneously into the engine combustion chamber.   2) A motor …   Energy terms

  • Bi-fuel vehicle —   A motor vehicle that operates on two different fuels, but not on a mixture of the fuels. Each fuel is stored in a separate tank.   U.S. Dept. of Energy, Energy Information Administration s Energy Glossary   ***   A vehicle with two separate… …   Energy terms

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.