Toxicity of exhaust particulates and gaseous emissions from gasohol (ethanol blended gasoline)-fuelled spark ignition engines
In the last couple of decades, blending of oxygenated additives with gasoline has been advocated to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and to reduce hazardous health effects of gaseous emissions and particulate matter (PM) emitted by internal combustion (IC) engines in the transport sector worldwide. The primary objective of this research was to carry out a comparative analysis of exhaust PM emitted by gasohol (gasoline blended with 10% ethanol, v/v)-fulled spark ignition (SI) engine with that of baseline gasoline-fuelled SI engine. To assess the PM toxicity, physical, chemical and biological characterizations of PM were carried out using the state-of-the-art instruments and techniques. Measurements of regulated and unregulated gaseous species were also carried out at part/full loads. The results showed that the gasohol-fuelled engine emitted relatively lower concentrations of unregulated gaseous species such as sulfur dioxide (SO2), isocyanic acid (HNCO), etc. Physical characterization of exhaust particles revealed that the gasohol-fuelled engine emitted a significantly lower number of particles compared to the gasoline-fuelled engine. The presence of harmful polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and higher trace metal concentrations in PM emitted from the gasoline-fuelled engine was another important finding of this study. Biological characterizations showed that PM emitted from the gasohol-fuelled engine were less cytotoxic and had lower reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation potential. Mutagenicity of PM emitted from the gasohol-fuelled engine was also lower compared to that from the gasoline-fuelled engine. Overall, this study demonstrated that utilization of gasohol in SI engines led to the reduction in emissions, and lowering of PM toxicity, in addition to partial replacement of fossil fuels with renewable fuels.