Steady-State Dynamometer Testing of a Passenger Van: Comparing Operation on Gasoline and Aqueous Ethanol Report uri icon



  • Previous research on catalytic igniters and aqueous fueled engines has shown potential for lowering emissions and increasing engine efficiency over conventional engine configurations. To quantify these improvements in a vehicle platform, a transit van was converted to operate on both gasoline and aqueous fuels, with changeover possible in less than one hour. To facilitate these comparisons, this work explored the use of a six mode test matrix surrounding tests on a steady-state chassis dynamometer. Modes were defined to approximate the Federal Test Protocol (FTP) Urban Driving Cycle. Under common road load conditions, gasoline performance and emissions was compared to operation on 90 percent ethanol and 10 percent water. As expected, the ethanol and water mixture required a 30 percent increase in fuel consumption by volume compared to gasoline. At a road load corresponding to 50 mph, Aquanol displayed a significant increase in CO2 and HC emissions as well as a significant decrease in NOx and CO emissions compared with gasoline. It is expected that by upgrading the fuel computer for sequential fuel injection, tuning with a wide-band oxygen sensor, and installing a catalytic converter system with lower a light-off temperature, ethanol and water mixtures could perform significantly better with respect to fuel economy and emissions. A major outcome of this work is the impracticality of comparing vehicle operation on multiple fuels using a modal approximation of the FTP driving cycle. Guidelines for a revised testing procedure that gives better insight about steady-state driving and transient vehicle response with a variety of alcohol-water mixtures are proposed for future work. 

publication date

  • December 2004



  • catalytic ignition; teststand; fleet vehicles


report identifier

  • ITD Agreement 99-166


    NIATT N04-15