How it works
2-Ethyl-Hexyl Nitrate (2-EHN), also called â€śImproverâ€ť, is a diesel fuel additive which improves Cetane number, and offers the best performance in the most competitive way.
A fuelâ€™s Cetane number depends on a variety of parameters (type of crude oil, season, market situationâ€¦). Crude oil first goes through atmospheric distillation, which provides a good Cetane number. However, this process produces 20% to 80% of atmospheric residue. The issue is to find a way to recycle this residue.
To optimize their production, oil companies often recycle their heavy cuts by catalytic cracking to produce more gas and fuel (among other products). Such fuels have a low Cetane number. At refineries, diesel oil is often produced by mixing â€ścrackedâ€ť oils with substances derived from the fractional distillation of crude oils.
The addition of 2-EHN helps to reach the required Cetane number, thus enabling the conversion of distillate heating oil to good diesel fuel.
Â 2-EHN is being increasingly used to:
- Upgrade diesel fuel quality to meet specification requirements, using increasing quantities of cracked components;
- Upgrade diesel fuel quality to premium grade products currently marketed;
- Provide process flexibility by allowing the use of low cetane naphtenic crude oils when dictated by geographic or economic conditions.
2-EHN is the most economical solution, as it gives refineries the most flexibility to reach the intended quality level, while maximizing diesel fuel production.
2-EHN decomposes in the combustion chamber to give free radicals, promoting fast oxidation and reducing ignition delay. The fuelâ€™s Cetane number increase (CNI) depends on the base stockâ€™s original Cetane number. However, as the baseâ€™s Cetane number decreases, so does the fuelâ€™s response to CNI.
In other words, the fuels that most need CNI are also the least responsive to it.