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Cetane Numbers and Your Engine

- Wednesday, September 22, 2010
We are now offering the ILFC Ten 35 Fuel Additive in our store. ILFC TEN 35 gives you greater fuel efficiency and is designed to be completely soluble in fuel oils and can be added directly to fuel in storage. Ten 35 helps increase your cetane number and is core part of our Fuel Management Systems.

Why Do I Need To Worry About Cetane Numbers?

The longer diesel fuel is stored, the lower the cetane number. Even if the fuel quality is good (low particulate, sludge or water buildup) the fuel will not perform at the level necessary for the engine to run at optimal performance.

What is a Cetane Number?

The cetane number is to diesel fuel what the octane number is to gasoline. The higher the cetane number - the better the fuel will burn. It is the performance of diesel fuel’s combustion quality - not a measure of the fuel quality itself.  A higher cetane number indicates more energy is available to the engine. Therefore, you have greater fuel efficiency due to a shorter ignition delay time and more complete combustion of the fuel.

An appropriately high cetane number means improved cold starting, smoother running, less smoke at start-up, improved fuel efficiency, improved engine durability, fewer emissions, more power and reduced noise and vibration.

How Does the Cetane Number Affect Engine Performance?

Running a diesel engine on fuel with a lower than recommended cetane number can result in rough operation (noise and vibration), difficulty in starting – especially in cold temperatures, low power output, excessive sludge deposits, increased exhaust emissions and excessive wear.

The ASTN Standard Specification for Diesel Fuel Oils (D-975) states. "The cetane number requirements depend on engine design, size, nature of speed and load variations, and on starting and atmospheric conditions. Increase in cetane number over values actually required does not materially improve engine performance. Accordingly, the cetane number specified should be as low as possible to insure maximum fuel availability."

Thus you should match engine cetane requirements with your fuel cetane levels for optimal performance.
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