In the present work, the combustion, performance and emission characteristics of sunflower oil, sunflower methyl ester and its blends were studied and compared with diesel by employing them as fuel in a single cylinder, direct injection, 4.4 KW, air cooled diesel engine. Emission measurements were carried out using five-gas exhaust gas analyzer and smoke meter. The performance characteristics of Sunflower oil, Sunflower methyl ester and its blends were comparable with those of diesel. The components of exhaust such as HC, CO, NOx and soot concentration of the fuels were measured and presented as a function of load and it was observed that the blends had similar performance and emission characteristics as those of diesel. NOx emissions of sunflower oil methyl ester were slightly higher than that of diesel but that of sunflower oil was slightly lower than that of diesel. With respect to the combustion characteristics it was found that the biofuels have lower ignition delay than diesel. The heat release rate was very high for diesel than for the biofuel.

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