A review on the effects of ethanol/gasoline fuel blends on NOX emissions in spark-ignition engines

Document Type : Review Paper


Dipartimento di Ingegneria Industriale, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Via Claudio 21, 80125 Napoli, Italy.


Ethanol can be used as an alternative fuel for spark-ignition (SI) engines to increase the octane number and oxygen content of ethanol/gasoline blends, thereby reducing dependence on fossil fuels and the exhaust emissions of incomplete combustion products. Although it is widely agreed that ethanol can reduce CO and HC exhaust emissions, the literature on ethanol and NOX emissions is far from conclusive; hence there is a need for an in-depth, updated review of ethanol/gasoline blends in SI engines and the relative production of NOX emissions. In light of that, the present work aims to provide a comprehensive literature review on the current state of ethanol combustion in SI engines to shed definitive light on the potential changes in NOX emissions under various operating conditions. The first part of this paper discusses the feasibility of ethanol as an alternative transportation fuel, including world production and ethanol production processes. The physicochemical properties of ethanol and gasoline are then compared to analyze their effects on combustion efficiency and exhaust emissions. Then, the pathways of NOX formation inside the cylinder of SI engines are discussed in depth. Finally, we review and critically discuss the effects of ethanol concentration in blends and different engine parameters on NOX formation.

Graphical Abstract

A review on the effects of ethanol/gasoline fuel blends on NOX emissions in spark-ignition engines


  • Physicochemical properties of ethanol and gasoline are compared.
  • NOX formation pathways are reviewed and explained.
  • Effects of ethanol/gasoline blends on NOX formation in SI engines are reviewed and discussed.
  • NOX emissions are largely dependent on ethanol concentration and engine operating conditions.


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