Indian Oil recently launched the country’s first high performance, XP100 fuel. What this means is that the fuel has an octane number of 100. This is just a chemical way of saying, that it has greater resistance against engine knock. It will enhance the driveability, longevity of the engine and keep the emissions in check. It is meant for high-end luxury cars, whose engines can make complete use of the properties of this fuel. To understand the need for this fuel, let us understand how an engine works?
What is engine knock?
In petrol engines, a spark is used to burn the air-fuel mixture in the cylinder. The flame starts at the top of the engine and moves gradually downward, to burn the entire mixture in the cylinder. It is important to know here, that the spark is the cause of combustion.
Sometimes, because of various factors, there are mini explosions inside the cylinder, which can also cause the air-fuel mixture to burn at various parts of the cylinder. However, these mini-explosions are not caused by the spark plug and are in sequence from top to bottom. This could happen due to excessive heat at some parts of the cylinder leading to self and early explosions before the spark is activated.
Over long periods, this can severely damage the engine components due to excessive and uneven heat. The pistons and sidewalls of the cylinder are in direct contact with the flame and hence can get damaged.
This is caused solely due to the octane number of the fuel. Currently, the average fuel in India has an Octane number of 87 or 89. This means that the tendency of this fuel to self-detonate is higher as compared to the 91 Octane fuel and above. But since the engine is not performance-oriented in a normal passenger car, the need for higher octane fuels is not there. For our daily cars, 87 or 89 octane fuel is adequate.
Need for high octane fuel
The need for fuel like the XP100 arises in performance cars. These cars are designed to extract maximum performance out of an engine. Higher accelerations, higher top speeds, more resistant components and higher compression ratios for better efficiency require a high-performance fuel. So that even at high piston speeds, there will not be unwanted mini explosions inside the engines. This is because the XP100 is more resistant and only burns due to a spark.
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Indian Oil has decided to launch this fuel in two phases. In the first phase, 10 cities get this fuel including, Ahmedabad, Agra, Chandigarh, Delhi, Gurgaon, Jaipur, Ludhiana, Mumbai, Noida and Pune. The price of the XP100 is Rs 160 per litre. In the second phase, Indian Oil will extend this number to 15 cities, according to the number of luxury and performance cars.
This is a proud moment for the country. This fuel is available only in 6 other countries worldwide, including the USA, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, Malaysia and Israel.