The Physics
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Energy Density of Diesel Fuel

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Bibliographic Entry Result
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Zittel, Werner & Reinhold Wurster (Ludwig-Blkow-Systemtechnik). Advantages and Disadvantages of Hydrogen. Hydrogen in the Energy Sector. HyWeb.
Energy carrier Form of Storage Energy density by
weight [kWh/kg]
Energy density by
volume [kWh/l]
Diesel liquid 11.6 9.7
34.92 MJ/L
Nommensen, Arthur. List of common conversion factors (Engineering conversion factors). IOR Energy.
Liquid Fuel MJ/litre Litre/Tonne GJ/tonne
Diesel Oil automotive 38.6 1182 45.6
Diesel Oil industrial 39.6 1135 44.9
38.60-39.60 MJ/L
Energy Density (LHV) for fuels in liquid state [pdf]. Sandia National Laboratories. George Thomas, BES Workshop, 13 May 2003. 34.00 MJ/L

Diesel, a crude oil based fuel was originally used in the engine created by Rudolf Diesel in 1892. Serving as a refrigerator engineer, Rudolf Diesel was able to use his skills, knowledge, and creativeness to invent an engine in which the high internal temperature and pressure conditions of the combustion chamber allowed for the spontaneous ignition of the diesel fuel. Convenient, this method eliminated the need for the spark plug that was used for the non-spontaneous ignition of gasoline in the gasoline engine.

Diesel fuel has made many strides since its initial use. Nowadays, diesel fuel is used in such transportation vehicles as boats, buses, cars, trains, and trucks. Diesel fuel’s wide range of use can be accredited to its overall efficiency and high energy deliverance. For this reason, diesel fuel offers anywhere from 18 to 30 percent more energy than gasoline, another commonly used fuel. Moreover, diesel offers a great deal of power, which is why it is responsible for fueling the energy demanding construction industry. Though diesel powered engines are more fuel efficient than gasoline powered ones, they produce more dangerous carbon emissions. Despite the fact that newer ultra low sulfur diesel fuels prevent high emissions, the further elimination of the older more harmful engines must occur, especially during the current environmentally conscious age.

Energy density is 0a great method of measuring energy capacity not only for diesel fuel, but alternate fuels as well. By definition, energy density is the amount of energy stored in a given system or region of space per unit volume (MJ/L) or mass (MJ/kg). The energy density for diesel fuel ranges from 32 to 40 megajoules per liter (MJ/L).

Tatyana Nektalova -- 2006, 2008

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