Browse Publications Technical Papers 2019-24-0104

Ultra-Lean Pre-Chamber Gasoline Engine for Future Hybrid Powertrains 2019-24-0104

Lean burn gasoline spark-ignition engines can support the reduction of CO2 emissions for future hybrid passenger cars. Very high efficiencies and very low NOx raw emissions can be achieved, if relative air/fuel ratios λ of 2 and above can be reached. The biggest challenge here is to assure a reliable ignition process and to enhance the fuel oxidation in order to achieve a short burn duration and a good combustion stability.
This article aims at introducing an innovative combustion system fully optimized for ultra-lean operation and very high efficiency. Thereto, a new cylinder head concept has been realized with high peak firing pressure capability and with a low surface-to-volume ratio at high compression ratios. 1D and 3D simulations have been performed to optimize the compression ratio, charge motion and intake valve lift. Numerical calculations also supported the development of the ignition system. Stable ignition and fast flame propagation were achieved thanks to a centrally located active pre-chamber which allows to control the air/fuel ratio independently of the air/fuel ratio in the main combustion chamber.
Experimental investigations have then been performed with a single cylinder engine to demonstrate the capabilities of this new combustion system in a sweet spot operating point. A maximal indicated thermal efficiency of 47% was achieved at λ = 2 with optimized injection settings in the pre and main combustion chambers. The fuel efficiency could be maximized thanks to a fast and knock-free combustion process. Compared to the reference operation with stoichiometric air/fuel ratio, only a seventieth of the NOx raw emissions were measured (i. e. 50 ppm), and the particulate mass emissions were halved. The energy balance analysis points out that these promising results could be further improved by working on the reduction of the unburnt hydrocarbon emissions and by jointly optimizing the scavenging process.


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