Technology Assessment report: Diesel Engine
Describe the technology
The diesel internal combustion engine is significantly different from the gasoline powered Otto cycle. It makes use of hot air that is highly compressed to be able to ignite the fuel that is used in the powering of the automobile. The diesel internal combustion engine does not make use of the spark plugs as is the case of the Otto cycle. The diesel internal combustion engine makes use of compression ignition as opposed to the use of the spark ignition.
The main goal of the introduction of the diesel internal combustion engine was to be able to help in the powering of the automobiles. The diesel internal combustion engine was developed so that it could be able to serve a number of purposes (Wharton, 1995). The diesel engine burns less fuel as compared to the petrol engine which is performing the same type of work since the diesel engine has higher temperature combustion and the higher or greater ratio of expansion.
The diesel internal combustion engines have the ability to be able to convert up to over 45 per cent of the fuel energy that is used into mechanical energy that will be used in the movement of the products. The diesel internal combustion engines were also introduced to be able to increase the reliability as well as the ease of the adaptability to the diverse damp environments due to the no high voltage systems of electrical ignition that are found in the system. The absence of the spark plug wires and the coils significantly help in the elimination of the sources of the radio frequency emissions which have the ability to interfere with the communication and navigation equipment that are important for the aircraft and marine applications. The other goal that led to the development of the diesel engines is the long life of the diesel engines. It has been stated that the lifespan of the diesel engine is about as twice as that of the petrol engines that are found in the market.
The above is related to the high strength of the parts that are used the building of the diesel engine as compared to the materials that are used in the building of the petrol engines. The other goal of the development of the diesel engine is to be able to enhance the levels of the lubrication of the engines (Wharton 1995). The diesel fuel that is used in the diesel engines enhances the lubrication of the engines and the parts of the automobile that are moving. This makes it a better choice over the use of petrol engines. Diesel is considered to be safer than the use of the petrol thus it has been used in many applications. Even though diesel can burn through the use of open wicks, the fuel cannot explode and does not release large amounts of flammable vapor. The low amounts of the vapor that are released when diesel burns is important in the usage of the diesel in a number of applications for instance the marine operations. In the marine vessels, the accumulation of fuel and air mixtures that are explosive is a particular hazard. The diesel engines were also developed since they would help to solve the problem of vapor lock. The diesel internal combustion engines are immune to the vapor lock.
The diesel engine also has the goal of ensuring fuel efficiency. The mass burned per all the energy that is produced in the diesel engines is particularly constant and remains as constant as opposed to the turbine and the petrol engines which make use of proportionally more fuel with the partial power outputs. The diesel engines have also been known to be able to release very low levels of waste heat during the process of cooling as well as in the exhaust. The diesel engines also have the ability to accept turbo-charging or super turbo charging pressure devoid of any natural limit which is only constrained through the strengths of the components of the diesel engines. This is one major advantage that the diesel engines have over the petrol engines which suffer from the problem of the detonation at high pressures. The diesel engines have also been used in underground mines due to their ability to minimize the amounts of the carbon monoxide that are released by the engines.
The operation and the development of the diesel engine will also be considered. The diesel engines works through the introduction of air into the combustion chamber of the engine. The air that is introduced into the combustion chamber is then compressed with a compression ratio of between 15:1 and 22:1 thus leading to the production of 4.0 MPa (an equivalent of 40 bars or 580 psi pressure. This is higher than the between 8 and 14 bars of pressure that are released in the case of the use of the petrol engines. The high level of the compression leads to the heating of the air that has been introduced into the combustion chamber by about 1,022 degrees Fahrenheit. At the top of the compression stroke, the diesel fuel is introduced or injected directly into the internal combustion chamber (Bennett 2009). The injection is usually undertaken in a toroidal void at the top of the piston or the top of the pre-chamber depending on the design of the diesel engine that is used.
The fuel injector that is used in the automobile ensures that the fuel is broken down into small droplets thus ensuring that the fuel is distributed evenly in the engine. The heat that is released by the compressed air ensures that the fuel that is broken into the droplets is vaporized. The vapor is later ignited by the heat from the compressed air that is found in the combustion chambers as the droplets continue to vaporize from the surfaces and burn, getting smaller and smaller until the fuel that is found in the droplets has all been burnt. There is a delay period during the ignition due to the start of the vaporization of the fuels. There is also the diesel knocking sound that is characteristic of the diesel engines which occurs at the point where the vapor that has been released reaches the ignition temperature thus causing an abrupt increase in the temperature above the pistons that are found in the engine. The rapid expansion of the gases that are important in the combustion will lead to the driving of the piston downwards thus supplying the power to the crankshaft (Wharton 1995). The high amount of the compression makes it possible for the combustion to take place in the system without the requirement or presence of any system of ignition thus leading to a great increase in the efficiency of the engine. Since only air is compressed in a diesel engine and fuel is not introduced into the cylinder up to shortly before top dead center (TDC), premature detonation is not a concern and compression ratios are plentiful higher.
The development of the diesel engine can be traced back to the US army and the NATO as they majorly make use of the diesel turbines and engines due to the low fire hazard that is related to the use of the technology (McDonough, and Braungart, 2002). Diesel fuel has been significantly used due to the fact that it is less prone to the explosion when there is a mixture of vapor and air in the right conditions as a result of the lower vapor pressure which is an indication of the rates of the evaporation. The fuel has a vapor explosion hazard in a number of conditions; in sewers, indoors and outdoors. The diesel engines have been faced with a higher level of potential hazards due to the high pressures that are used in converting the fuels that are used into the droplets and then into the vapor (Bennett 2009). There is a high risk of maintenance hazard due to the fact that when the high pressure diesel fuel injector is removed from its seat, and then operated in the open air, there is a risk that is posed to the maintenance operator due to the hypodermic jet injection even with pressure of only 690kPa (100 pounds per square inch).
The raw materials, land, energy, labor and capital required for the operation of the technology
The main raw materials that are required to be able to operate the technology include the steel as well as the rubber that are required to be able to make the different parts of the diesel engine that is used by the different bodies that are involved in the operations of the strategies that are at hand. The land requirements are large due to the nature of the machinery that is used in the development of the machines that are found in the markets. The main requirement is related to the fact that the diesel engines are large and the mass production requires huge pieces of land to be able to operationalize the technology that is at hand. The energy that is required in the operationalization of the technology is diesel that has low levels of inflammability as compared to the petrol (Unruh 2000). The diesel fuel that will be required has a number of hazards for instance the maintenance hazards that come about in the course of the undertaking of the different operations. The labor requirements are low due to the automation of the majority of the processes.
However, the intricate details and the elements of the engines must be checked by the humans to ensure that there no lapses that may increase the hazards and the risks that are involved in the undertaking of the diverse operations. Finally, there is the requirement of a very large capital outlay (Kalpakijian and Schmid, 2010). The capital requirement is large due to the need to be able to acquire the raw materials such as steel whose price has been increasing significantly in the last couple of the years. The equipment that are used in the automation of the diverse processes play an important role in the undertaking of the diverse operations (McDonough, Braungart, Anastas, and Zimmerman, 2003). The lands that are used in the processes of the production have also become scarce and have appreciated in value thus leading to even high prices being required to be able to make the important purchases that are required. There is also the capital that is required in the acquisition of the labor elements.
Wastes and any hazardous materials
There are a number of wastes and the hazardous materials that are released from the diesel engines and their usage of the diesel products. There are the releases of the greenhouse gases that have been known to significantly pollute the environment (Del Mastro, 2013). It is important to note that rather than just help in the production of the important power that is needed to be able to run the machinery that are used, such gases that are released also leads to the rapid increase in the global warming scourge that is found in the market (Gupta and Lambert, 2008). The process of the production of the diesel engines also has a negative impact on the environment due to the GHGs that are released during the process of the making of the engines due to the heavy machinery that are used. The disposal of the diesel engines also has an impact on the environment due to the non-biodegradable nature of the parts that are used to make the diesel engines.
Known and potential social impacts and or conflicts that emerge during production, use and disposal
There are a number of social impacts that have emerged during the process of the production, use and disposal of the diesel engines. The first social impact is the support for the mobility of the people (McCarthy, 2006). The diesel engines have allowed for the movement of the people thus ensuring that the people can be able to reach the places where they want to visit. The other social impact comes during the process of the production i.e. the relocation of the people from the areas where they are currently found so that the production can be undertaken (Roberts, 1990). There is also the element of the problems that arise due to the movement of the skilled labor from other locations to the locations where the engine production facilities are found (Cagno, Guido, Micheli and Trucco, 2012). There is a general disruption in the livelihood of the people who are found in the areas where such factories are found due to the need to be able to allow for the undertaking of the diverse operations.
The conflicts that may emerge during the process will also be considered significantly (Malpas, 2000). The usage of the diesel engines will bring conflicts especially those that are related to the protection of the environment. The other impact that is been faced is the end of the lifecycle of the diesel engines. When the engines have been used in the different equipment where they are developed to be used by the different people, it is usually required that the people engage in activities such as the consideration of how the engines will be disposed-off once they are used to their capacity.
Majority of the impacts and the conflicts were not intended to be able to occur due to the use of the technology. The need to be able to properly dispose of the engines once they are used is related is a delayed impact that significantly affects the operations of the firm (Dovers 2005). There are risks into the future due to the change in the government regulations thus leading to the need to be able to make changes to the diesel engine to be able to adopt the changes that are taking place (Thomas, 2005). The main issue that is under consideration is the fact that the changes that are taking will lead to the increase in the usage of the different materials that have been innovatively discovered. The use of the biodiesel in the diesel engines is an issue that has been under consideration for a long time in the last couple of years.
The alternative that will be considered is the biodiesel engine rather than the use of the diesel engine. The biodiesel is a green form of energy that is generated from biological materials that will help to be able to power the equipment (Callaos, 2011). The biodiesel does not have any elements of the petroleum as it is made through the process of the trans-esterification thus allowing the easily synthesized fuel to run directly into the many diesel engines that are found in the markets. The flammability is reduced and the risk of the explosion and the associated hazards are also reduced significantly. The use of the biodiesel engines as opposed to the diesel engines will lead to the reduction of the environmental effects as the green materials such as Soya and Corn will not lead to the release of the harmful gases that significantly affect the firms.
The social influences that are considered is the reduction in the harmful effects that the diesel engines have for instance the reduction of the noise which is known as diesel clatter or diesel knock. There will also be the economic considerations for instance the rise in the price of the petroleum based products such as diesel has risen due to the global rise in the oil prices especially due to the political instability in the majority of the oil producing countries that are found in the Middle East and North Africa (UNEP, 2011). There are also the cultural influences for instance the growing need by the people to be able to reduce their individual carbon footprints (Bruntland et al 1987. Finally, there are the political influences for instance the need to be able to reduce the levels of the emissions in line with the regulations that are in place by the countries. It is important to note that such regulations and policy changes are all supportive of the need to be able to make the changes that are required to be undertaken by the firms.