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Yesterday, an interesting article was published on Yahoo Automotive regarding the use of Nitrous Oxide Systems (NOS) in gasoline engines, and whether the increased horsepower was worth the expense.
Nitrous is one of the most divisive topics in the world of performance driving. Some think that it’s a sure-fire way to turn any engine into a hyper-powered brute. Others dismiss it or claim that it’s an excellent way to destroy your car. As with most things, however, the truth is in between the extremes. To see why, let’s take a closer look at the subject.
It all Comes down to Oxygen
Try to fire up your barbecue grill in the vacuum of outer space and what will you get? Nothing. That’s because oxygen is necessary for combustion to occur. Without this vital gas conventional engines can’t function. That’s why the Apollo astronaut’s moon buggy and the Mars rovers both ran on batteries.
The more oxygen and the more gas you can cram into a cylinder, the more power you’ll get out of an engine. But it turns out that earth’s atmosphere is only 21% oxygen. This fact is vital to our continued existence, as pure oxygen would make the planet blow up as soon as someone lit a match. In terms of automotive performance, however, it puts a limit on how much power can be created using plain old air…
Here’s a link to the complete article
MarineDiesel specializes in diesel engines for high performance vessels. Would a Nitrous system improve the performance on our engines?
The answer is, “Possibly”, but mostly “No”… And, you will certainly void your warranty if you try it.
There are a very few high performance diesel engines in the marine market, almost all designed specifically for racing, that have NOS installed. In virtually every case, these engines were intended to be used under race conditions, with very short life cycles, and for very short periods of time.
Modern diesel engines are designed with a turbocharger and electronic controls that already bring the optimum amount of oxygen into the combustion chamber. Altering this mix, with a NOS installed, does several things:
1. Increases the exhaust temperature.
2. Produces excessive smoke (The fuel mix becomes too rich)
3. Increases the heat in the cylinders, producing excessive wear on the pistons and rings.
4. Increases the heat in the turbocharger.
Now, in a diesel engine with a standard turbocharger, not VGT, the fuel mix is able to be manipulated, just as with a gasoline engine. With our VGT engines, we have already optimized that mixture, and the addition of Nitrous simply results in an over-fuel state.
Therefore, though you would receive a very little amount of additional power from the engine, you would seriously decrease its’ service life, and greatly increase the cost of ownership, especially given that you have just voided your warranty.
So, the short answer is, “Don’t Do It!”
There are two determinants that are primary in many engine buyer’s minds when choosing an engine: Horsepower and price. However, there are other factors, sometimes more important, that need to be taken into account when choosing an engine:
Some interesting research at UW:
Five years ago we first heard about a Caterpillar diesel engine located at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, that had been modified to run on an unlikely-sounding mixture of diesel and gasoline. Not only did the one-cylinder engine work, but it was more efficient than pure-diesel or pure-gas engines at converting the chemical energy of fuel into motion. Sitting in a basement lab, however, isn’t the same as experiencing use in the real world. That’s why students at UW-Madison, led by Prof. Rolf Reitz, have now put another diesel/gas engine into a 2009 Saturn.
To read the complete article on Gizmag
Every year, Diesel Progress Magazine publishes a review of marine diesel engines in the market. This year, MarineDiesel was featured as part of the edition.
Diesel Progress is a non-biased publication related to the diesel engine industry. They offer free subscriptions and unique content not commonly offered elsewhere.
To read the article, look for MarineDiesel on Page 28
This week’s article is an interview with our CEO, Mr. Andreas Blomdahl. Andreas will be contributing periodic columns to this site in the future, keeping MarineDiesel customers up to date with the latest developments coming from the very top.
Q1: Why did you start MarineDiesel?
Coming from and engineering background and doing some racing for a while it was clear that the products on the market where very old in design and that it was time for someone to think outside the box in the marine industry. The goal from the start was to bring something different to the market, a more powerful while durable product in a small package, I feel we have succeeded in the VGT engine line.
Q2: What was your biggest challenge in setting up MarineDiesel?
The marine industry is a very small industry especially on the engine side, mostly the same companies that have been around for a long time. The main challenge isn’t so much the products as to establishing distribution worldwide, this takes time and on the technical side the emission will become a challenge for the future, rightfully so as the marine engines are far from what they are capable in regards to emissions.
Q3: What are MarineDiesel’s goals for the future?
MarineDiesel will continue to manufacture the world’s best performance marine diesel engines for the commercial and governmental markets. Any new products must meet our strict policies as we are in the backbone an engineering company that also has a production of marine engines.
Q4: Where do you see MarineDiesel in the next five years?
MarineDiesel is currently expanding its distribution network and increasing production capacity in order to meet current and future demand. MarineDiesel will be recognized for putting out some cutting edge products on the market over the five years to come.
Q5: Any new developments coming in the next year?
Yes, there are but unfortunately I can’t tell you about them so just keep your eyes open.
Q6: What are the biggest advantages of MarineDiesel’s products over the products of its’ rivals?
We have market leading power to weight ratio on our products while designing them from day one for the commercial field, not for pleasure crafts. Apart from the products, our organization is set up in a different way where we ask our customers how we best can assist them in regards to training, support etc, most of our competitors tell the clients how it needs to be structured instead of listening to individual requirements.
Q7: What has been MarineDiesel’s biggest success?
The VGT engine series
Q8: Anything you wish you could have done differently?
Many things but we try not to dwell on the past but to improve and look to the future, it’s more productive.
Q9: Any further thoughts?
Make sure you get a test ride on a vessel equipped with with VGT engines. It’s a completely different animal to what else is on the market today.
Founder and CEO.
Andreas Blomdahl, 43, has been the CEO since 1992 is also on the board of directors for Marinediesel as well as a few other Scandinavian companies.
A native of Angelholm Sweden, Andreas has an engineering degree from the university of Lund and has a long time passion for the marine field.
This week’s question comes from John in the USA:
I know that diesel engines can run on many types of fuel, what would happen if I try and use gasoline?
NEVER use gasoline in a diesel engine. At best, permanent damage will result. At worst, explosion or fire. Some diesel operators will add a little gasoline to diesel when preparing for storage over extended periods, as this can help in starting (MarineDiesel does not recommend this practice and it will void your warranty if you try it). NEVER more than 10% of total volume. The engine will run, but it is safest to drain the fuel and lines if gasoline has been added.
If you have a question for Professor Diesel that you would like answered, please fill in the form below:
This week’s question comes from Marten in the Netherlands:
I have two VGT engines mounted in a boat that has been sitting in a shed for over one year. What should I do to prevent damage the next time I use the boat.
Diesel engines can incur a lot of damage when they sit idle for long periods of time. Ideally, you should start engines at minimum, once per month, or follow the extended storage procedure documented in your manual. Oil collects in the crankcase and becomes sludge, water condensation forms in fuel tanks and fuel lines, dust can get into various parts of the engine, and corrosion can start and get worse if the engine is not periodically inspected. Diesel fuel also quickly degrades over time. Assuming that the manual storage procedures were not followed, what should you do?
All of the above procedures must be done in accordance with the manual. If excessive sludge has built up, a rebuild or complete overhaul may be necessary.
If you would like to ask Professor Diesel a question, please fill in the form below:
This week’s question comes from Mark in the USA:
In my area, kerosene is considerably cheaper than diesel. Will my MarineDiesel engines run on kerosene without being damaged?
Kerosene is sometimes used to thin diesel to help prevent gelling in cold weather, but it also reduces the fuel’s lubricity as well.
Diesel engines are highly tolerant of different types of fuel formulations and can run on just about any oil-based fuel, but that doesn’t mean they should or that there is any benefit in doing so. Diesel engines are more or less indifferent to fuel types, but the emissions and injection controls on MD engines could possibly be damaged by using any fuel other than recommended in your model’s manual. Additionally, this means that you risk your warranty and performance levels would suffer, as the engine’s ECU is programmed at the factory based on fuel type, to optimize your performance. Since emissions levels produced by the engine are also based on a specific fuel use, you could also find yourself violating local laws regarding air quality.
For illustration purposes only, the following is a list of fuels that generally can be burned in a diesel engine (Though “can be burned” does NOT necessarily mean “should be burned”):
This week’s question comes from Paul in China
What causes excessive smoke? We seem to be getting more smoke recently than we normally get from running your engines.
Quantities of diesel smoke are often due to incomplete combustion, normally as a result of faulty or dirty fuel injection. Improper mix of fuel to air is the reason why you will see smoke, particularly on engines that have been used for a while. A small amount of exhaust smoke is normal during initial start-up or rapid acceleration.
Black smoke is normally the result of incorrect timing, bad fuel, or incorrect engine compression.
White smoke could indicate faulty glow plugs, incorrect compression or timing, or as a result of condensation in cold climates.
Blue smoke should be of immediate concern, as it indicates worn piston rings, leaking oil, or scored cylinder walls.
What is important to remember is that, though a small amount of smoke is perfectly normal, excessive amounts of smoke are indicators of required maintenance and must be addressed as soon as possible.
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