Impact of aromaticity and cetane number on the soot-NOx trade-off in conventional and low temperature combustion

J.J.E. Reijnders, M.D. Boot, L.P.H. de Goey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)
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This paper investigates whether or not two persistent diesel dogmas, namely “the higher the cetane number (CN) the better” and “the lower the aromaticity the better”, still ring true when a compression ignition engine is operated in the low temperature combustion (LTC) regime. The transition from conventional, high temperature combustion (HTC) to LTC is realized in a step-wise approach by increasing the level of exhaust gas recirculation, reducing the compression ratio and by lowering intake pressure. The fuel matrix spans a range of both aromaticity and CN. All experiments are conducted on a modified DAF heavy-duty compression ignition engine.

Two main conclusions can be drawn from the results. First, at equal aromaticity, there is no discernible benefit of a high CN with respect to the soot-NOx trade-off in the HTC mode. In fact, when operating in the LTC regime, a high CN even results in a penalty in aforementioned trade-off. Second, at equal CN, increased aromatic content always has a negative impact on the soot-NOx trade-off, irrespective of combustion mode. Accordingly, our results demonstrate that, with respect to the soot-NOx trade-off, the first and second dogma is valid in neither and both of the combustion modes, respectively.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-34
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2016


  • Soot-NOx trade-off
  • Gas to liquid (GTL)
  • Cetane number
  • Aromaticity
  • Low temperature combustion (LTC)


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