Join Date: Nov 2009
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Generally, diesel engines operate well with a CN from 40 to 55. Fuels with higher cetane number have shorter ignition delays, providing more time for the fuel combustion process to be completed. Hence, higher speed diesel engines operate more effectively with higher cetane number fuels. There is no performance or emission advantage when the CN is raised past approximately 55; after this point, the fuel's performance hits a plateau.
In Europe, diesel cetane numbers were set at a minimum of 38 in 1994 and 40 in 2000. The current standard for diesel sold in European Union, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland is set in EN 590, with a minimum cetane index of 46 and a minimum cetane number of 51. Premium diesel fuel can have a cetane number as high as 60.
In North America, most states adopt ASTM D975 as their diesel fuel standard and the minimum cetane number is set at 40, with typical values in the 42-45 range. Premium diesels may or may not have higher cetane, depending on the supplier. Premium diesel often use additives to improve CN and lubricity, detergents to clean the fuel injectors and minimize carbon deposits, water dispersants, and other additives depending on geographical and seasonal needs.