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Massimo Siracusa, Head of Powertrain Product Development, FPT Industrial

Unearthing the solutions: The road ahead

The industrial engine market has the potential to total more than 15 million units by 2018, with an increase in demand projected across the globe which, coupled with increased environmental awareness, will inevitably lead to more countries adhering to stricter emission regulations.

At present, only 20% of the market is governed by the strictest emission regulations such as Tier 4B and Stage IV, with the rest adhering to lower levels. Moving forward therefore, it is likely that regulations imposed on countries where there is less economic opportunity for tomorrow’s innovations will be required to upgrade to existing technologies in response to demand.

Likewise, the industry’s more established markets await the arrival of Stage V regulations, expected to come into force in 2019, meaning there is more momentum than ever to further reduce engine emissions.

American, European, and Japanese markets have achieved near zero nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) with success and the next step will be to lower CO2 levels. FPT Industrial’s focus has therefore shifted to the efficiency of the engine through a series of improvements. This will work toward the anticipated emissions standards as well as increasing engine efficiency and total cost of ownership.

No one technological area will create a breakthrough, so FPT Industrial is reviewing improvements in brake thermal efficiency by addressing a number factors. These include the optimization of combustion and air handling, reduction of power losses, the introduction of smart auxiliaries and waste heat recovery in the exhaust line, and energy management controls in the engine, its related systems, and all elements of the vehicle that influence its fluid usage, such as fuel and diesel exhaust fluid (DEF). Also playing a key role will be continued improvements to FPT Industrial’s already established EGR-free Hi-eSCR (high-efficiency selective catalytic reduction) system.

Engine efficiency

Improving fuel consumption and performance relies heavily on an increase in brake thermal efficiency (BTE), or the percentage of energy achieved from every liter of fuel utilized. It is a challenging and gradual process with no quick-fix technological breakthroughs on the horizon. Instead, progress will be the sum of improvements to several aspects of the engine, which FPT Industrial will continue to develop at its six dedicated R&D Centers across the globe.

Currently, the FPT Industrial range of engines achieve a BTE of approximately 46%, higher than the typical engine on the market today; however, through a series of detailed updates and continuous innovation in these areas, it aims to improve this to 55% by 2020.

Firstly, air handling can be optimized. Highly efficient turbochargers will ensure an increase in performance. Alongside, flexible turbo technologies that work as a supercharger or as a device to recover energy will lead to pumping loss reduction and improve efficiency, which can be further improved with variable valve actuation.

Friction reduction also has a significant part to play in engine development. The opportunities here are vast with, for example, piston group friction having the potential to lower total friction torque by about 10%.

Another area showing potential for development is auxiliary management, and variable, intelligent auxiliary equipment has already been introduced that can significantly reduce energy consumption.

The EGR-free aftertreatment system, which FPT Industrial has adopted for Tier 4B, has allowed us to concentrate on the optimization of the combustion. This has permitted the study of different combustion modes that are efficient in different regions of the fuel consumption map.

Additional improvements under development also include waste heat recovery, where heat from the exhaust and cooling process is converted back into energy through a bottoming cycle. Currently, both the Rankine and Brayton cycles are under exploration.

These innovations can be incorporated into final products through the creation of an Energy Management Platform to design and validate components, control strategies, and calibration as part of an integrated system.

Second-generation HI-eSCR

In line with the implementation of Stage V regulations predicted for 2019, and the expected introduction of particle number limit to the non-road sector, manufacturers will once more be required to further develop their technologies. FPT Industrial is working to achieve this progressive reduction through advances in its existing HI-eSCR system, a state-of-the-art aftertreatment solution that also allows improved engine efficiency.

Developed at FPT Industrial’s R&D Center in Arbon, Switzerland, HI-eSCR was the first maintenance-free aftertreatment system with no EGR or diesel particulate filter (DPF). Achieving NOx reductions of more than 95%, the system instead uses clean air in the engine to ensure a reduction in PM, before the HI-eSCR aftertreatment converts NOx to diatomic nitrogen and water.

In producing its second generation HI-eSCR solution, FPT Industrial will continue to evolve its long-term SCR-only strategy. One of the few manufacturers to do so, solutions will remain EGR-free, maximizing the competitive advantages already known in response to Tier 4B/Stage IV.

Second generation HI-eSCR will evolve to incorporate a particulate filter directly on the SCR, alongside new materials within the system that will improve its effectiveness at low temperatures. Integrated within the existing system, the particulate filter will reduce PM while remaining just as cost-effective for OEMs as its predecessor due to its unchanged dimensions, thus avoiding any additional expense to the vehicle design.

Looking forward

As the demand for industrial engines increases, so does the need for ever more efficient performance and adherence to more stringent regulations, while also trying to deliver on customer requests.

FPT Industrial recognizes that a series of continued improvements and constant innovations across a number of different elements will bring about progress, including the base engine, combustion efficiency, air handling, auxiliary management, energy recovery, and the optimization of the interaction between powertrain and vehicle.

Use of virtual design and validation, combined with model-based control and calibration, must be utilized to select the best technologies and validate the new functions and strategies. This will also save both time and money.

Simulation results show a significant decrease in fuel consumption if the energy sources and the energy demands of a commercial on-road vehicle are governed through the actual duty demands and not through pre-determined datasets. Such results are also valid for the off-highway machine.

The combination of a high thermal efficiency powertrain with a smart control system, able to predict load requests and operate at ideal system efficiency, will inevitably provide the biggest results in the future.

Massimo Siracusa, Head of Powertrain Product Development, FPT Industrial, wrote this article for SAE Off-Highway Engineering.

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