Research Topic

Advanced Biofuels for Diesel Engines

About this Research Topic

The achievement of sustainable energy production systems is a worldwide objective, aiming at the reduction of dependence on fossil fuels while decreasing global warming. Biofuels represent an alternative energy source, offering further advantages according to the selected feedstock, such as the recycling of waste materials, or job creation in the rural sector. In this case, attention is required to avoid food versus fuel conflicts, both referring to land use and the selection of non-edible oils.

Among the instruments used to foster the adoption of renewable sources, policies can represent a major driver of uptake. An example is given by the European Energy and Climate Framework for 2030, which sets three main targets referring to green-house gases emissions (-40% if compared to 1990 levels), share of renewable energy (at least 32% of the total energy consumption) and improvement of energy efficiency (at least 32.5%).

In the fields of private mobility and goods transportation, diesel engines still play a significant role due to their advantages in terms of efficiency compared to other conventional propulsion systems, but their popularity is decreasing as they are considered to be a major contributing factor to some of the most important environmental problems, including air quality issues in urban areas, mainly due to the emissions of NOX and PM. Moreover, statistics of recent years show that the transport sector still relies on oil to obtain more than 90% of its required energy at a worldwide level.

Biodiesel may help in reducing the environmental impact of diesel engines, firstly decreasing CO2 emissions, and then leading to a major reduction in PM emissions, due to the lower sulfur level and the oxygen content. Contrasting results can be observed in the literature referring to NOX emissions, with a prevailing share of studies indicating an increase in the amount of this pollutant.

Referring to general aspects, a wide range of technical issues are related to the production and use of biodiesel, including the selection of feedstocks, production costs, fuel properties, long term storage, impact on materials, influence on engine working conditions and combustion process, which may affect efficiency.

Finally, after a long history, large investments, and huge amount of investigations, a step forward is required to achieve significant progress towards the replacement of conventional fuels, for instance through the design of the most suitable biodiesel, the selection of blends leading to optimised results, and the development of advanced processes to produce drop-in fuels.

The proposed Research Topic aims at deepening all the above-mentioned aspects, calling for contributions related to the following themes.
• Selection and availability of biodiesel feedstocks
• Advanced technologies for biodiesel production
• Chemical and physical properties
• Long storage stability of biodiesel and blends
• Economic analysis
• Compatibility with engine materials and components
• Variations of injection parameters and fuel spray development
• Effects on combustion and efficiency
• Influence on regulated and unregulated emissions
• Interactions with engine control strategies


Keywords: Biofuels, Drop-In Fuels, Combustion, Efficiency, Exhaust Emissions


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

The achievement of sustainable energy production systems is a worldwide objective, aiming at the reduction of dependence on fossil fuels while decreasing global warming. Biofuels represent an alternative energy source, offering further advantages according to the selected feedstock, such as the recycling of waste materials, or job creation in the rural sector. In this case, attention is required to avoid food versus fuel conflicts, both referring to land use and the selection of non-edible oils.

Among the instruments used to foster the adoption of renewable sources, policies can represent a major driver of uptake. An example is given by the European Energy and Climate Framework for 2030, which sets three main targets referring to green-house gases emissions (-40% if compared to 1990 levels), share of renewable energy (at least 32% of the total energy consumption) and improvement of energy efficiency (at least 32.5%).

In the fields of private mobility and goods transportation, diesel engines still play a significant role due to their advantages in terms of efficiency compared to other conventional propulsion systems, but their popularity is decreasing as they are considered to be a major contributing factor to some of the most important environmental problems, including air quality issues in urban areas, mainly due to the emissions of NOX and PM. Moreover, statistics of recent years show that the transport sector still relies on oil to obtain more than 90% of its required energy at a worldwide level.

Biodiesel may help in reducing the environmental impact of diesel engines, firstly decreasing CO2 emissions, and then leading to a major reduction in PM emissions, due to the lower sulfur level and the oxygen content. Contrasting results can be observed in the literature referring to NOX emissions, with a prevailing share of studies indicating an increase in the amount of this pollutant.

Referring to general aspects, a wide range of technical issues are related to the production and use of biodiesel, including the selection of feedstocks, production costs, fuel properties, long term storage, impact on materials, influence on engine working conditions and combustion process, which may affect efficiency.

Finally, after a long history, large investments, and huge amount of investigations, a step forward is required to achieve significant progress towards the replacement of conventional fuels, for instance through the design of the most suitable biodiesel, the selection of blends leading to optimised results, and the development of advanced processes to produce drop-in fuels.

The proposed Research Topic aims at deepening all the above-mentioned aspects, calling for contributions related to the following themes.
• Selection and availability of biodiesel feedstocks
• Advanced technologies for biodiesel production
• Chemical and physical properties
• Long storage stability of biodiesel and blends
• Economic analysis
• Compatibility with engine materials and components
• Variations of injection parameters and fuel spray development
• Effects on combustion and efficiency
• Influence on regulated and unregulated emissions
• Interactions with engine control strategies


Keywords: Biofuels, Drop-In Fuels, Combustion, Efficiency, Exhaust Emissions


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

30 June 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

30 June 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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