The purpose of this experiment was to determine which of three fuels diesel, biodiesel, and ethanol-85 was most efficient, as determined by the comparison of the carbon dioxide (CO2) outputs of the three fuels. In the experimental design, each fuel was burned in an alcohol burner for fifteen seconds, and exhaust fumes were collected. A CO2 Gas Sensor was then used to find the concentration of CO2 in the fumes, measured in parts per million (ppm). Since a higher concentration of CO2 is directly related to a higher efficiency, data could be compared to determine the most efficient fuel. A two-sample t-test was used to compare the data from the biodiesel and diesel trials. However, a large number of outliers in the data from the ethanol-85 trials meant they could not be used in a t-test; therefore, only a descriptive analysis could be conducted when comparing ethanol-85 to the other two fuels. It was determined that there was no statistically significant difference between the CO2 outputs of the diesel and biodiesel, and thus no difference in the efficiency of the fuels. Based on the descriptive analysis, it was inferred that both the diesel and biodiesel fumes had higher CO2 concentration, and therefore higher fuel efficiency. But these claims could not be supported by statistical analysis.

Research Done By:

Marie E. Jagoda
Cousino High School

Wayne Stiles
Warren Mott High School