There are many benefits to the use of diesel over conventional gasoline-fueled engines. As a cleaner, more reliable, and safer fuel alternative, diesel has taken over in many industries.
But how does diesel work? How is it different? And in what ways is it really a better alternative?
This overview will help you better understand diesel and diesel engines.
How Does Diesel Work?
Diesel fuel systems work by injecting small amounts of pressurized, atomized diesel fuel into its engine’s cylinders where it is combined with compressed, heated air to cause combustion. A major difference between diesel and gasoline engines is that the compression of the air and pressurization of the fuel creates combustion without a spark.
Other than this critical difference, diesel and gasoline engines generally work the same way. That combustion drives pistons. It is that piston cycle that then drives a crankshaft. From there, power can be routed in several different ways to create power.
Where is Diesel Used?
As a general rule, diesel is used in larger engines and vehicles that require more power to do their tasks. Common uses include trucking, trains, and barges – all devices that tow or push heavy loads.
Other large machines like buses and farm equipment use diesel fuel systems in their engines as well. There are some automobile manufacturers that make diesel-powered cars and trucks, as well. While not common in the U.S., European automakers often use diesel.
As the more environmentally friendly option, some think it is only a matter of time before diesel engine vehicles become more popular even in the U.S. With plenty of hurdles standing in the way of that, the lack of ready access to diesel at the pumps being one of them, it may not be soon.
Why is Diesel Better?
One of the reasons you see diesel used in heavy-duty engines is that they are less likely to break down. The combustion in a diesel engine is driven by compression instead of the spark in a gasoline engine. That fact alone means these engines are more stable.
Diesel also burns much more efficiently than gasoline. You’ll see about 1/3 better fuel efficiency than gasoline in the same engine, as a result.
It does this while improving torque, as well. Engines run on diesel have better towing and hauling capacity as a result of this increased torque.
Diesel is a fuel that has a lot of benefits. While it has been a niche market product for a long time, consumer-ready machines may be going that way soon, as well.