The Diesel Engine – A Condensed History

Before we look into the origins of the diesel engine, let’s look at the difference between a gas engine and a diesel engine. Besides the obvious differences, like the different chemical composition gas and diesel fuel burn differently Diesel Engine overhauling in a vehicle.

Since a regular gasoline engine has a lower compression than a diesel motor, air and fuel are combined in the compression chamber and a spark is used to ignite the mixture and cause the pistons to move.
With the diesel motor, it has a much higher compression than a regular gas engine and utilizes this compression to cause the diesel to ignite, so there are no spark plugs to worry about.

When air and gases are compressed it causes heat and when the diesel fuel is injected into this compressed air chamber it causes the motor to turn over and run.
While diesel motors work far better than gasoline engines, recently they tended to produce much more toxins in our atmosphere. With the recent popularity of bio diesel fuel as an alternate fuel source, diesel engines have started burning much cleaner than before.

Bio diesel can be produced rather quickly, is relatively easy to make, and can be used with renewable sources such as used cooking oil.

The first diesel engines were established around the middle 1800’s by Rudolf Diesel, with the help of a Frenchman named Sadi Carnot. Rudolf was interested in Carnot’s idea of using compressed air as a way to ignite fuel. Because this ignition was caused by heat compression instead of regular ignition, there was no need for an ignition source.

However, at this time petroleum products were not widely available, Diesel incorporated the use of peanut oil. Peanut farmers were common in those days, so Rudolf was able to obtain a plentiful supply of fuel from rancid peanuts. It had to be processed into fuel, and this is where bio diesel fuel technology was born.

The problem was back then no one had a concept of how dangerous compression motors could be. Such temperatures and pressure were unheard of then, they didn’t even know if it would work and the prototype built in 1893 blew up. Only when a better model was made in 1896, much sturdier than its predecessor, did officials finally understand its many applications.

Even then, it was difficult to convince people it was economical for them, with all the expensive components and fuel sources. There were also some patent problems, which delayed production.
From those simple beginnings we see diesel motors in many common vehicles of today. Diesel engines run our public and private mass transit systems and is a common source of transportation of goods and services.

Because diesel engines are such powerful workhorses, we use diesel equipment in construction, mining, as well as many other industrial applications. Private owners are seeing the better fuel efficiency with diesel vehicles and more and more are in private driveways and garages.

Although bio diesel in the early years was an expensive process, these days it has been refined to the point that it can be made with the basics of tools and materials in many home garages. It is being widely recognized as a great way to cut down on greenhouse gases and improve our environment.