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Boeing4ever
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Thielert Insolvency...Diesel Engine Alternatives?

Sun May 25, 2008 6:01 pm

With Thielert mirred in insolvency and its future being murky, Cessna has suspended development of the 172TD (Turbo Diesel).

In addition, Thielert will no longer honor warranties on their engines, leaving a lot of Diamond DA40 and DA42 owners as well as some current 172 owners miffed.

So what are the options for diesel engines? Cessna has stated that they would like to continue development of the 172TD as there was pretty good demand for a Jet-A fueled single piston. Will Lycoming or Continental step in? Are there any other manufacturers of aircraft diesels? Can Thielert survive?

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Delta777Jet
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RE: Thielert Insolvency...Diesel Engine Alternativ

Sun May 25, 2008 7:33 pm

I know that Diamond is working on their own Diesel engines right now. Most likely we will see them in service very soon. Please remember that Thielert is not bancrupt yet, the manufacturing of the engines is still up and running and they sending out parts. The administrator just took one senior consultant on board to lead the project finding a new investor. I can't believe that Thielert will go under without anybody taking their assets.

[Edited 2008-05-25 12:35:43]
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A342
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RE: Thielert Insolvency...Diesel Engine Alternativ

Sun May 25, 2008 7:52 pm



Quoting Delta777Jet (Reply 1):
I know that Diamond is working on their own Diesel engines right now.

They just did the first flight of the engine (170 hp) in the new DA-50, and they want to convert all the aircraft in service to the new engine.

Quoting Boeing4ever (Thread starter):
Will Lycoming or Continental step in?

Yes. Both are currently working on diesels. IIRC Continental wants to test a 300 hp engine next year.

Quoting Boeing4ever (Thread starter):
Are there any other manufacturers of aircraft diesels?

SMA. Their 230 hp engine is used to re-engine Cessna 182s. Other than that, hardly anything worth mentioning.
Exceptions confirm the rule.
 
flexo
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RE: Thielert Insolvency...Diesel Engine Alternatives?

Sun May 25, 2008 8:25 pm

What about a take over?
I didn't really follow the Thielert case but wouldn't it make sense for Diamond, Continental, Lycoming or who else to maybe take over some parts of Thielert? Are there any rumors about that?
 
Boeing4ever
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RE: Thielert Insolvency...Diesel Engine Alternatives?

Sun May 25, 2008 8:31 pm



Quoting Flexo (Reply 3):
Are there any rumors about that?

Rumors were that Cessna parent Textron was looking at buying Thielert to secure supply for the 172TD. Doesn't look like it'll happen though. They'd be better advised to light a fire under Lycoming's ass.

Quoting A342 (Reply 2):
They just did the first flight of the engine (170 hp) in the new DA-50, and they want to convert all the aircraft in service to the new engine.

Wonder how long that'll take and who'll foot the bill for those conversions. How many DA-40TDIs and DA-42s are in service now?

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Delta777Jet
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RE: Thielert Insolvency...Diesel Engine Alternatives?

Sun May 25, 2008 8:33 pm

Flexo: If you read Financial Times from friday there is interest in Thielert and the administrator start talking to parties right now. I guess there will be a new owner soon, but the admin wants to have the best deal for the creditors. That means he try to get as much as possible. In worsest case 1 €  Wink

I'm absolutely sure that some one will take it.
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flexo
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RE: Thielert Insolvency...Diesel Engine Alternatives?

Sun May 25, 2008 8:54 pm



Quoting Delta777Jet (Reply 5):
If you read Financial Times

Thanks, I found the article you mentioned at the FTD site, in case anyone is interested (German):
http://www.ftd.de/unternehmen/industrie/359375.html

Quote:

According to aviation experts several of the big players could be interested - MTU Aero Engines, General Electric, Rolls Royce or Pratt & Whitney, part of United Technology - or Thielert's customers Cessna and Diamond Aircraft.

 
Boeing4ever
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RE: Thielert Insolvency...Diesel Engine Alternatives?

Mon May 26, 2008 3:48 am

Someone will buy Thielert, I'm sure, but if Diamond is intent on using its new in-house engines, then a major client is gone.

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JoeCanuck
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RE: Thielert Insolvency...Diesel Engine Alternatives?

Mon May 26, 2008 6:51 am

Here is a great resource for keeping up with aero-diesel developments.

http://www.dieselair.com/

This company seems like they have a very promising product line.

http://www.deltahawkengines.com
What the...?
 
KELPkid
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RE: Thielert Insolvency...Diesel Engine Alternatives?

Mon May 26, 2008 6:59 am

IMHO, one of the best things that could happen to aero diesel development.

Before I get  flamed  , let me explain.

Thielert used Automotive diesels converted to aviation usage. Thielert expected the engine to be returned to the factory for overhaul, except that they would not overhaul the engine at all, rather exchange it for a brand new one. Everyone else is designing, from scratch, aero diesels (well, except Lycoming-theirs is based on an Italian company's designs...). Continental's engine in particular is intriguing: a two stroke design with power per weight about on par with a large air cooled piston powerplant.

Yes, it was sad when Thielert threw in the towel, particularly since they seemed to be the most successful aero diesel manufacturer to date...  Sad
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Boeing4ever
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RE: Thielert Insolvency...Diesel Engine Alternatives?

Mon May 26, 2008 3:28 pm



Quoting KELPkid (Reply 9):
Thielert used Automotive diesels converted to aviation usage.

Apparently Diamond's engine is the same according to the Dieselair.com link provided by JoeCanuck. I'm not up on propulsion (I do aerodynamics and structures  Smile ) so I'm wondering what disadvantage an automotive based diesel has vs. one purpose built for aircraft.

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 9):
Yes, it was sad when Thielert threw in the towel, particularly since they seemed to be the most successful aero diesel manufacturer to date...

Well, the overall trend seems to be catching on at least.

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Mir
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RE: Thielert Insolvency...Diesel Engine Alternatives?

Mon May 26, 2008 4:40 pm



Quoting KELPkid (Reply 9):
Thielert expected the engine to be returned to the factory for overhaul, except that they would not overhaul the engine at all, rather exchange it for a brand new one.

I would hope that this practice will be continued somehow, otherwise a bunch of Diamond owners are going to be pissed.

-Mir
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KELPkid
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RE: Thielert Insolvency...Diesel Engine Alternatives?

Mon May 26, 2008 4:46 pm

Quoting Boeing4ever (Reply 10):
so I'm wondering what disadvantage an automotive based diesel has vs. one purpose built for aircraft.

Well, it's designed for a completely different application, for one. Most aero diesels use some form of air cooling (IIRC, for example, SMA uses air cooled jugs with liquid cooled cylinder heads). The overall engine architecture is of consequence, too: flat (horizontally opposed) engines are much better for many reasons (hence the reason we never saw radials in post-war GA planes, well, to any great extent at least), and also why in-line aero engine designs like the Ranger and the DeHavilland engines never really caught on after the war, either.

Also, an aeronautical piston engine will most likely be designed for direct drive, meaning the engine will be turning at the expected prop rpm. I don't know for sure, but I'd wager that the Thielert engine used some form of gear reduction, which, in engineering terms, is usually unnecessary weight.

That brings up another point: weight. Maybe Mercedes has the weight thing under control, but in general, automotive diesel engines are heavy, much heavier than their gasoline counterparts. A Diesel must be pretty strong, as most diesels use compression ratios of 15:1 or 16:1 or even higher (just ask GM how converting a 1950's small-block V8 to diesel usage goes...they tried that in the early 1980's with disastrous results!). An aeronautical diesel will be designed with aircraft-like weight control in mind  

EDIT: Thielert also set an engine lifetime, which was, IIRC, 1500 hours. The SMA and Continental engines are designed for much longer overhaul intervals, like 3000 hours, and are overhaulable in the field...

[Edited 2008-05-26 09:47:43]
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Boeing4ever
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RE: Thielert Insolvency...Diesel Engine Alternatives?

Mon May 26, 2008 5:39 pm



Quoting KELPkid (Reply 12):

Better fuel efficiency vs. low TBO. At least that seems to be what it boils down to with a Thielert engine.  Smile Interesting stuff, thanks KELP.

Seems like a bunch of Diamond owners would have been well advised to wait until some built from scratch aero-diesels come on the market. At least Thielert provided a kick in the pants to the industry.

As for Diamond and Merc's join effort, I read it was pretty much going to resemble an improved Thielert anyway.

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Mir
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RE: Thielert Insolvency...Diesel Engine Alternatives?

Mon May 26, 2008 6:07 pm



Quoting KELPkid (Reply 12):
I don't know for sure, but I'd wager that the Thielert engine used some form of gear reduction,

The ones on the Twin Star do have gearboxes, with a 1.69:1 ratio. Max RPM for the Twin Star is about 2300.

Quoting Boeing4ever (Reply 13):
Better fuel efficiency vs. low TBO. At least that seems to be what it boils down to with a Thielert engine.

I can't really comment on the TBR (time between replacement, not time between overhaul), but I will say this: on a 1.7 hour DA42 flight, with about half the time spent doing airwork and half the time in the pattern (and on the ground between landings and takeoffs), the total fuel burn was 8.7 gallons, for both engines. Do that in a Seminole and you'd burn 20-30 gallons easily.

-Mir
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Delta777Jet
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RE: Thielert Insolvency...Diesel Engine Alternatives?

Mon May 26, 2008 6:23 pm

I think the replacement time for the new 2.0 engine of Thieliert is around 2000 hours and also the small bugs are fixed by now. I'm quite sure that on time of replacement it will be possible to put another engine on the plane without any big modification to make customers happy, just in case Thielert will not stay any longer.

I could imagine that Diamond would buy the know-how, support, licences and hire the top staff of Thielert to join them together in their own new factory to keep the aircraft of customers running and to have a perfect product to start with.
I still miss Trans World Airlines and the L-1011
 
KELPkid
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RE: Thielert Insolvency...Diesel Engine Alternatives?

Mon May 26, 2008 9:27 pm



Quoting Mir (Reply 14):
I can't really comment on the TBR (time between replacement, not time between overhaul), but I will say this: on a 1.7 hour DA42 flight, with about half the time spent doing airwork and half the time in the pattern (and on the ground between landings and takeoffs), the total fuel burn was 8.7 gallons, for both engines. Do that in a Seminole and you'd burn 20-30 gallons easily.

I think what Boeing4ever was alluding to here is that if the diesels were designed from the beginning for aviation usage, then they might be even more effecient  Smile There is no doubt that diesels are more effecient, by fuel volume, than gasoline engines.
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JoeCanuck
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RE: Thielert Insolvency...Diesel Engine Alternatives?

Mon May 26, 2008 10:01 pm

The certified auto conversion by Thielert did a great job of bringing aero-diesel to the mainstream. SMA has been much more low key about their 182 conversion.

Regardless of the configuration and cooling method, I reckon its greater power to weight ratio will give some form of two stroke diesel the edge for aero applications.
What the...?
 
Boeing4ever
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RE: Thielert Insolvency...Diesel Engine Alternatives?

Tue May 27, 2008 2:39 am



Quoting KELPkid (Reply 16):
I think what Boeing4ever was alluding to here is that if the diesels were designed from the beginning for aviation usage, then they might be even more effecient There is no doubt that diesels are more effecient, by fuel volume, than gasoline engines.

Ehhh, that diesel is more efficient is a given.  Smile

It was more of a allusion to the UDF actually, an engine far more fuel efficient that conventional jet engines under development during the late '80's. Of course when oil prices stabilized, the need for such an engine diminished when you factored in the development costs.

As the price of fuel increases, then time between replacement (thanks for the correction Mir) begins to diminish in importance, at least from a financial standpoint. Saving fuel costs might be worth the low TBR...

Quoting Mir (Reply 14):
I can't really comment on the TBR (time between replacement, not time between overhaul), but I will say this: on a 1.7 hour DA42 flight, with about half the time spent doing airwork and half the time in the pattern (and on the ground between landings and takeoffs), the total fuel burn was 8.7 gallons, for both engines. Do that in a Seminole and you'd burn 20-30 gallons easily.

Then again, if Continental can give you an aerodiesel with 3000 hrs TBR, Thielert gets the shaft again.  Smile But if Thielert is improving TBR on its engines, and with the latest aerodiesel developments beginning to have the reliability of gasoline engines, then aerodiesel is likely here to stay. The case is certainly strong if Mir's testimonial is any indication.

If it's reliable, efficient, just as powerful and costs the same to maintain than regular avgas engines, then an aerodiesel will be a winner hands down. Looks like we're getting there.

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brons2
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RE: Thielert Insolvency...Diesel Engine Alternatives?

Tue May 27, 2008 3:43 am



Quoting Boeing4ever (Reply 18):
Ehhh, that diesel is more efficient is a given.

It's not just the efficiency of diesel type engines, it's the fact that they can burn Jet-A that makes them attractive. 100LL is going the way of the dodo bird eventually.
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ADent
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RE: Thielert Insolvency...Diesel Engine Alternatives?

Tue May 27, 2008 3:25 pm

Reportedly Cessna has customers buying brand new 172s and pulling the gas engine and installing a Diesel due to availability of 100LL vs Jet A in some parts of the world.

In Thielert goes up for sale I imagine Cessna or more likely some other company with a commitment from Cessna to "restart" 172TD will pick it up.
 
Alessandro
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RE: Thielert Insolvency...Diesel Engine Alternatives?

Tue May 27, 2008 3:35 pm

Since the Theilert is an autoconversion from Mercedes A-klasse, why not a Subaru diesel conversion in the future, the boxer diesel is small, powerful and Subaru makes good engines?
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KELPkid
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RE: Thielert Insolvency...Diesel Engine Alternatives?

Tue May 27, 2008 6:42 pm



Quoting Alessandro (Reply 21):
Since the Theilert is an autoconversion from Mercedes A-klasse, why not a Subaru diesel conversion in the future, the boxer diesel is small, powerful and Subaru makes good engines?

Wow, had no idea that Subaru even made diesels. Here in the 'states, they never attempted to sell them here, even in the early 1980's, when automotive diesels were all the rage...  Smile

While in Asia recently, the only automotive diesels I saw on the road were large Mercedes models. This was in Singapore and Malaysia.
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speedracer1407
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RE: Thielert Insolvency...Diesel Engine Alternatives?

Tue May 27, 2008 6:55 pm



Quoting KELPkid (Reply 22):
Wow, had no idea that Subaru even made diesels. Here in the 'states, they never attempted to sell them here, even in the early 1980's, when automotive diesels were all the rage...

Subaru only just introduced their first diesel (a boxer, naturally) a few months ago, but I'm not sure if it's even at dealers yet in its primary market, Europe. Unfortunately, it won't be available in the US for a year or two.
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Boeing4ever
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RE: Thielert Insolvency...Diesel Engine Alternatives?

Wed May 28, 2008 3:17 am



Quoting Brons2 (Reply 19):
It's not just the efficiency of diesel type engines, it's the fact that they can burn Jet-A that makes them attractive. 100LL is going the way of the dodo bird eventually.

I wondered if this thread would be moved to Tech/Ops.

Ok, so now my next question is the lead content in 100LL. Why lead? Again, I'm not a propulsion guy, at least I only studied kerosene combustion in air breathing jet engines, not pistons. So I'm wondering, if my car can burn 82 octane unleaded, why does a 1965 Cessna 152 need to burn fuel with lead content? I grew up in the age of just regular unleaded, so I've never bothered poking into the history and science of leaded vs. unleaded fuels. Can you just take the lead out of the fuel and keep using it? Will that cause vapor lock? Knocking? What does the lead do basically is what I'm getting at.

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KELPkid
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RE: Thielert Insolvency...Diesel Engine Alternatives?

Wed May 28, 2008 4:04 am



Quoting Boeing4ever (Reply 24):
Can you just take the lead out of the fuel and keep using it? Will that cause vapor lock? Knocking? What does the lead do basically is what I'm getting at.

In essence, no. The lead is for the bigger power plants (the R-980's, TSIO-540's and TSIO-550's of this world). There are numerous technical reasons for it, but as it turns out, there is just no substitute for lead as an anti-detonation compound, that works consistently from sea level up to 30,000 feet. Companies have been searching for years, but no one has identified an appropriate substance that can be used as a replacement (yet).

Smaller planes, like the Cessna 150's and 172's, can actually get by without lead pretty easily. They were designed for a lower grade of avgas, 80/87 octane, which contained about 10% of the lead concentration of 100/130 octane avgas (the stuff for the bigger, high compression supercharged/turbocharged engines). With an auto fuel STC (readily available for most of thee birds), it is possible to run them on 87 octane unleaded automotive gasoline (as long as it's not infused with ethanol-alcohol in aviaiton fuels is a big no-no).
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Boeing4ever
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RE: Thielert Insolvency...Diesel Engine Alternatives?

Fri May 30, 2008 2:12 pm



Quoting KELPkid (Reply 25):

Interesting. Now I'm lead to my next question on engines...emissions. How much more does an aerodiesel give off versus a regular avgas engine and then how much more does an avgas engine give off versus a modern car?

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hangarrat
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RE: Thielert Insolvency...Diesel Engine Alternatives?

Fri May 30, 2008 6:44 pm



Quoting Boeing4ever (Reply 24):
So I'm wondering, if my car can burn 82 octane unleaded, why does a 1965 Cessna 152 need to burn fuel with lead content?



Quoting KELPkid (Reply 25):
There are numerous technical reasons for it, but as it turns out, there is just no substitute for lead as an anti-detonation compound, that works consistently from sea level up to 30,000 feet.

This may seem off topic, but bear with me: In my travels, I've noticed that lower octane auto fuel is sold out west. 82-85 octane is regular unleaded in Nebraska, Colorado, Nevada whereas on the east coast 87 octane is the lowest grade available.

Does this have something to do with altitude? In many parts of the western states, the mean elevation is around 5,000 feet. Is the lower octane fuel due to lower ambient air pressure and a reduced need for anti-knock compounds?

What effect does altitude have on the octane requirement of engines? Would a big round engine run on regular unleaded in cruise at 25,000 feet?
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KELPkid
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RE: Thielert Insolvency...Diesel Engine Alternatives?

Fri May 30, 2008 7:16 pm



Quoting HangarRat (Reply 27):
This may seem off topic, but bear with me: In my travels, I've noticed that lower octane auto fuel is sold out west. 82-85 octane is regular unleaded in Nebraska, Colorado, Nevada whereas on the east coast 87 octane is the lowest grade available.

Does this have something to do with altitude?

 checkmark 

Quoting HangarRat (Reply 27):
In many parts of the western states, the mean elevation is around 5,000 feet. Is the lower octane fuel due to lower ambient air pressure and a reduced need for anti-knock compounds?

It has more to do with the fact that the refiners are, in general, only concerned with the octane rating at the elevation of the refinery...and the octane marked on the pump is the actual results of an octane rating test (done with a small one cylinder engine) at the location of the gas pump.

Quoting HangarRat (Reply 27):
What effect does altitude have on the octane requirement of engines?

Unfortunately, none-at 5,000 feet elevation, a high compression Ford 302 will be unhappy with crap low-octane gas  Sad Drive it to a lower elevation on the same gas, and it's happy again.

The kicker is is that it wouldn't cost that much more for the refineries to give their gas a slightly higher octane rating to compensate, but they steadfastly refuse to do so  banghead 

Signed, someone who has lived out west all of his life...and driven since the age of 16.
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rwessel
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RE: Thielert Insolvency...Diesel Engine Alternatives?

Fri May 30, 2008 10:15 pm



Quoting Boeing4ever (Reply 26):
Interesting. Now I'm lead to my next question on engines...emissions. How much more does an aerodiesel give off versus a regular avgas engine and then how much more does an avgas engine give off versus a modern car?

Define emissions. If you mean non-CO2/non-H2O emissions, then the aero engine are terrible compared to cars. High levels of unburned hydrocarbons, CO, soot, NOx, etc.

In terms of CO2 (and H2O, but nobody cares about that), aero engines emit basically exactly the same amount per gallon of fuel burned as do auto engines (of either type).

If you want to compare how much useful work comes out of a gallon of fuel in the two applications, you have a lot of definitions and parameters to supply, and the answers could be based on anything from power output at the engine shaft, to energy used to complete comparable missions.

As for diesel vs. gas engines, diesels have higher emissions of NOx and soot, although they do pretty good on unburned hydrocarbons and CO.

In terms of CO2, diesels are somewhat better than gas engine because they typically extract more useful energy from the fuel (usually about 10-20% more*). OTOH, some of that advantage is counterbalanced by the fact that diesels run on longer chain hydrocarbons, so they produce more CO2 (and less H2O) for a given amount of fuel burned.


*That’s on a mass basis – diesel is 15% denser than gasoline, so that works out to 20-40% more on a volume basis.
 
DashTrash
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RE: Thielert Insolvency...Diesel Engine Alternatives?

Sat May 31, 2008 4:11 am



Quoting KELPkid (Reply 28):
Unfortunately, none-at 5,000 feet elevation, a high compression Ford 302 will be unhappy with crap low-octane gas Sad Drive it to a lower elevation on the same gas, and it's happy again.

The kicker is is that it wouldn't cost that much more for the refineries to give their gas a slightly higher octane rating to compensate, but they steadfastly refuse to do so banghead

Signed, someone who has lived out west all of his life...and driven since the age of 16.

This has little to do with the topic, so forgive me....

If you run about 6-8 oz of kerosene, you will increase the overall octane of your gas to prevent detonation. Been doing this for a little while in a high compression street engine and it works great.

The lead in 100LL is also beneficial for the valve seats in the engine. The main use is still detonation protection.

As far as the big round engines, they were built for 130 octane. I spent a few days in Convair 240 school a few years ago, and with 100LL, we took a pretty good hit on allowable manifold pressure as opposed to burning 130 octane. The 240 also used a water / alcohol injection to increase allowable MP. Without it, you couldn't pull much power at all without tearing things up.

Flew a Beech 18, and the smaller R-985s on it didn't squawk much about living on 100LL. They didn't need ADI either.

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