The Techno-Economic impact of Petrol- Ethanol Fuel blends on light duty vehicles: Case study- Zimbabwean Petrol Vehicle Fleet.
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The Government of Zimbabwe has been promoting ethanol as a renewable, homegrown alternative vehicle fuel to gasoline. Ethanol is a form of alcohol that is combustible and can power engines easily. In Zimbabwe, it is made primarily from sugar cane. This alternative fuel has resonated with consumers who are concerned with Zimbabwe’s dependence on foreign oil as well as pump-price volatility. The main advantages of ethanol to the Zimbabwean government are that it can be produced in large quantities, and it requires fewer technological breakthroughs and less infrastructure development than is needed to support electric vehicles and fuel cell vehicles. However university scientists and consumers are raising questions about ethanol's viability as a fuel source and are arguing that it is (i). Unethical to produce fuel from a food crop, especially if it drives up food prices.(ii) Ethanol contains less energy than gasoline, and it takes a lot of energy to produce.(iii) A variety of conflicting studies have shown that producing ethanol may or may not increase emissions of carbon-dioxide, a gas linked to global warming. To better judge ethanol's strengths and weaknesses, a large fleet of petrol vehicles from different government departments and individuals from the 10 provinces of Zimbabwe were used to gather data for the fuel consumption, vehicle performance/drivability and environmental effects The research was carried out at different fuel blends of increment of 10% up to 100% and under different weather and road conditions. A control set up of mounted bench engine was put at University of Zimbabwe Mechanical Engineering Workshop. The main objectives of this research was to investigate the optimal ethanol/petrol blend and determine cold start and hot start exhaust emission. The research revealed that most of the vehicles are non-fexi-vehicles and have a lower fuel economy at higher blends compared with conventional fuel. The exhaust emission were below the recommended levels by the Environmental Protection Agency.