Influence of marine fuel properties on ignition, injection delay and energy efficiency


According to the International Council on Combustion Engines (CIMAC) and International Maritime Organization (IMO) statistics, the rational selection of Marine Bunker Fuel (MBF) properties is an effective way to improve operating conditions and energy efficiency of all types of marine Diesel Engines (DEs). The publication presents the results of studies on the influence of heavy and distillate MBF properties on the characteristics of different DE types: high-speed (Caterpillar 3512B, MTU 8V 396TB), medium-speed (SKL VDS 48/42, ChN 26.5/31) ir low-speed (MAN B&W 6S60MC). The aim of work is to form a methodological framework for assessing the influence of marine fuel properties on the energy performance of different types of ship power plants. Numerical methods show that in the case of unfavourable selection of the density and viscosity of marine fuels regulated by the standard ISO 8217:2017, the changes in specific fuel consumption be reach up to 10% low-speed, 4…7% medium-speed, and 2…3% high-speed DEs. As the density varies from light grades to 1010 kg/m3, the change in be is 3…4%. At low viscosity, as the density increases to 1030 kg/m3, the low-speed engine comparative fuel consumption increases by 5%. It is recommended not to use fuel with a density >1010 kg/m3 and a viscosity <300…400 mm2/s. Developed solutions for the rational selection of bunkered marine fuel properties for a specific DE model trough the influence of density and viscosity on fuel injection and combustion characteristics based on multiparametric diagrams of relative fuel consumption change.

Keyword : diesel engines, fuel consumption, viscosity, density, activation energy

How to Cite
Lebedevas, S., Lazareva, N., Rapalis, P., Daukšys, V., & Čepaitis, T. (2021). Influence of marine fuel properties on ignition, injection delay and energy efficiency. Transport, 36(4), 339-353.
Published in Issue
Dec 2, 2021
Abstract Views
PDF Downloads
Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Abbe, C.; Nzengwa, R.; Danwe, R.; Ayissi, Z.; Obounou, M. 2013. Simulation of a DI diesel engine performance fuelled on biodiesel using a semi-empirical 0D model, Energy and Power Engineering 5(10): 596–603.

Anfindsen, O. J.; Lovoll, G.; Mestl, T. 2012. Benchmarking of marine bunker fuel suppliers: the good, the bad, the ugly, Benchmarking: an International Journal 19(1): 109–125.

Armas, O.; Mata, C.; Martinez-Martinez, S. 2012. Effect of diesel injection parameters on instantaneous fuel delivery using a solenoid- operated injector with different fuels, Revista Facultad de Ingeniería Universidad de Antioquia (64): 9–21.

Cataluna, R.; Da Silva, R. 2012. Effect of cetane number on specific fuel consumption and particulate matter and unburned hydrocarbon emissions from diesel engines, Journal of Combustion 2012: 738940.

Centeno-Gonzalez, F. O.; Mahkamov, K.; Silva Lora, E. E.; Andrade, R. V.; Jaen, R. L. 2013. Prediction by mathematical modeling of the behavior of an internal combustion engine to be fed with gas from biomass, in comparison to the same engine fueled with gasoline or methane, Renewable Energy 60: 427–432.

CIMAC. 2011. Fuel Quality Guide – Ignition and Combustion. International Council on Combustion Engines (CIMAC). 25 p. Available from Internet:

EC. 2011. White Paper on Transport: Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area: Towards a Competitive and Resource Efficient Transport System. European Commission (EC). 28 p.

Eurostat. 2021. Greenhouse Gas Emission Statistics – Emission Inventories. European Statistics. Available from Internet:

Fayyazbakhsh, A.; Pirouzfar, V. 2017. Comprehensive overview on diesel additives to reduce emissions, enhance fuel properties and improve engine performance, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 74: 891–901.

Fostiropoulos, S.; Strotos, G.; Nikolopoulos, N.; Gavaises, M. 2020. Numerical investigation of heavy fuel oil droplet breakup enhancement with water emulsions, Fuel 278: 118381.

Fun-Sang Cepeda, M. A.; Pereira, N. N.; Kahn, S.; Caprace, J.-D. 2019. A review of the use of LNG versus HFO in maritime industry, Marine Systems & Ocean Technology 14(2–3): 75–84.

Garcia-Olivares, A.; Sole, J.; Osychenko, O. 2018. Transportation in a 100% renewable energy system, Energy Conversion and Management 158: 266–285.

Han, D.; Li, K.; Duan, Y.; Lin, H.; Huang, Z. 2017. Numerical study on fuel physical effects on the split injection processes on a common rail injection system, Energy Conversion and Management 134: 47–58.

Helgason, R.; Cook, D.; Davidsdottir, B. 2020. An evaluation of the cost-competitiveness of maritime fuels – a comparison of heavy fuel oil and methanol (renewable and natural gas) in Iceland, Sustainable Production and Consumption 23: 236–248.

IMO. 2021. Initial IMO GHG Strategy. International Maritime Organization (IMO). Available from Internet:

ISO 8217:2017. Petroleum Products – Fuels (Class F) – Specifications of Marine Fuels. Available from Internet:

Jang, S. H.; Choi, J. H. 2016. Comparison of fuel consumption and emission characteristics of various marine heavy fuel additives, Applied Energy 179: 36–44.

Kim, Y.-R.; Jung, M.; Park, J.-B. 2021. Development of a fuel consumption prediction model based on machine learning using ship in-service data, Journal of Marine Science and Engineering 9(2): 137.

Kuan, Y.-H.; Wu, F.-H.; Chen, G.-B.; Lin, H.-T.; Lin, T.-H. 2020. Study of the combustion characteristics of sewage sludge pyrolysis oil, heavy fuel oil, and their blends, Energy 201: 117559.

Kuleshov, A. S. 2004. Programma rascheta i optimizacii dvigatelej vnutrennego sgoranija DIZEL’-RK. Opisanie matematicheskih modelej, reshenie optimizacionnyh zadach. Moskva: MGTU im. Baumana. 123 s. (in Russian).

Labeckas, G.; Pauliukas, A.; Slavinskas, S. 2006. The effect of fuel additive SO‐2E on diesel engine performance when operating on diesel fuel and shale oil, Transport 21(2): 71–79.

Lakshminarayanan, P. A.; Aghav, Y. V. 2010. Modelling Diesel Combustion. Springer. 305 p.

Lassesson, H.; Andersson, K. 2009. Energy Efficiency in Shipping: Review and Evaluation of the State of Knowledge. Report No. 09:115. Chalmers University of Technology, Goteborg, Sweden. 37 p.

Li, L.; Loo, B. P. Y. 2014. Alternative and transitional energy sources for urban transportation, Current Sustainable/Renewable Energy Reports 1(1): 19–26.

Liu, H.; Ma, J.; Dong, F.; Yang, Y.; Liu, X.; Ma, G.; Zheng, Z.; Yao, M. 2018. Experimental investigation of the effects of diesel fuel properties on combustion and emissions on a multicylinder heavy-duty diesel engine, Energy Conversion and Management 171: 1787–1800.

Lundh, M.; Garcia-Gabin, W.; Tervo, K.; Lindkvist, R. 2016. Estimation and optimization of vessel fuel consumption, IFACPapersOnLine 49(23): 394–399.

Maawa, W. N.; Mamat, R.; Najafi, G.; De Goey, L. P. H. 2020. Performance, combustion, and emission characteristics of a CI engine fueled with emulsified diesel-biodiesel blends at different water contents, Fuel 267: 117265.

MFAME. 2015. Major Damage to the Engines! Neglect of One Important Parameter in the Fuel Quality Test Report. Marine Fuels and Marine Engine (MFAME) Team. Available from Internet:

Mollenhauer, K.; Tschoke, H. 2010. Handbook of Diesel Engines. Springer. 636 p.

Monyem, A.; Van Gerpen, J. H.; Canakci, M. 2001.The effect of timing and oxidation on emissions from biodiesel-fueled engines, Transactions of the ASAE 44(1): 35–42.

Moreira, L.; Vettor, R.; Guedes Soares, C. 2021. Neural network approach for predicting ship speed and fuel consumption, Journal of Marine Science and Engineering 9(2): 119.

Olmer, N.; Comer, B.; Roy, B.; Mao, X.; Rutherford, D. 2017. Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Global Shipping, 2013–2015. International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), Washington, DC, US. 38 p. Available from Internet:

Panapakidis, I.; Sourtzi, V.-M.; Dagoumas, A. 2020. Forecasting the fuel consumption of passenger ships with a combination of shallow and deep learning, Electronics 9(5): 776.

Reif, K. 2014. Diesel Engine Management: Systems and Components. Springer. 370 p.

Schobert, H. 2013. Chemistry of Fossil Fuels and Biofuels. Cambridge University Press. 497 p.

Shuverov, V. М.; Shirkunov A. S.; Juhnev, V. A.; Sereda, V. V. 2015. Toplivnaja kompozicija flotskogo mazuta (varianty) – Fuel Composition of Bunker Oil (Versions). Patent Rossijskoj Federacii RU2581034C1. (in Russian). Available from Internet:

Soto, F.; Alves, M.; Valdes, J. C.; Armas, O.; Crnkovic, P.; Rodrigues, G.; Lacerda, A.; Melo, L. 2018. The determination of the activation energy of diesel and biodiesel fuels and the analysis of engine performance and soot emissions, Fuel Processing Technology 174: 69–77.

Takasaki, K.; Fukuyoshi, T.; Abe, S.; Nakashima, M.; Osafune, S.-N. 1999. Visual study about combustion characteristics of heavy fuel in diesel engines, Bulletin of the Marine Engineering Society in Japan 27(1): 22–28.

Tat, M. E.; Van Gerpen, J. H. 2003. Measurement of Biodiesel Speed of Sound and Its Impact on Injection Timing. Final Report NREL/SR-510-31462. Report 4 in a Series of 6. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Golden, CO, US. 120 p.

Tat, M. E.; Van Gerpen, J. H.; Soylu, S.; Canakci, M.; Monyem, A.; Wormley, S. 2000. The speed of sound and isentropic bulk modulus of biodiesel at 21°C from atmospheric pressure to 35 MPa, Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society 77(3): 285–289.

Totten, G.; Shah, R.; Forester, D. 2019. Fuels and Lubricants Handbook: Technology, Properties, Performance, and Testing. 2nd Edition. ASTM International. 1709 p.

Tuti, M.; Şahin, Z.; Durgun, O. 2017. Thermodynamic diesel engine cycle modeling and prediction of engine performance parameters, Journal of Ship and Marine Technology (207): 14–26. Available from Internet:

Voznickij, I. V.; Punda, A. S. 2010. Sudovye dvigateli vnutrennego sgoranija. Tom 1. Sankt-Peterburg: Morkniga. 260 s. (in Russian).

Wakuri, Y.; Takasaki, K.; Maeda, K.; Yang, Y. X.; Okubo, H.; Hino, S. 1990. Residual fuel sprays – evaporation, dispersion and combustion characteristics, in COMODIA 90: Proceedings of the International Symposium on Diagnostics and Modeling of Combustion in Internal Combustion Engines, 3–5 September 1990, Kyoto, Japan, 539–544. Available from Internet:

Wilkison, J. 1985. A review of U.S. marine fuel oil availability and quality – present and future, in C. Jones (Ed.). Marine Fuels, 28–42.

Wright, G. 2017. Fundamentals of Medium/Heavy Duty Diesel Engines. CDX Automotive. 1394 p.

Xing, Y.; Yang, H.; Ma, X.; Zhang, Y. 2019. Optimization of ship speed and fleet deployment under carbon emissions policies for container shipping, Transport 34(2): 260–274.

Yan, R.; Wang, S.; Du, Y. 2020. Development of a two-stage ship fuel consumption prediction and reduction model for a dry bulk ship, Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review 138: 101930.

Zannis, T. C.; Hountalas, D. T.; Papagiannakis, R. G. 2007. Experimental study of diesel fuel effects on direct injection (di) diesel engine performance and pollutant emissions, Energy & Fuels 21(5): 2642–2654.

Zheng, Z.; Badawy, T.; Henein, N.; Sattler, E. 2013. Investigation of physical and chemical delay periods of different fuels in the ignition quality tester, Journal of Engineering for Gas Turbines and Power 135(6): 061501.