Steady State Performance of Spark Ignition Engine with Exhaust Energy Recovery 2020-24-0012
As is known, internal combustion engines based on Otto or Diesel cycles cannot complete the expansion process of the gas inside the cylinder, thus losing a relevant energy content, in the order of 30% of total. The residual energy of the unexpanded gas has been partially exploited through the use of an exhaust gas turbine for turbocharging the internal combustion engine; further attempts have been made with several compound solutions, with an electric generator connected to the turbocharger allowing to convert into electrical energy the quota power produced by the turbine which is not used by the compressor, or with a second turbine downstream the first to increase the exhaust gas energy recovery. Turbo-compound solutions were also employed in large marine Diesel engines, where the second turbine downstream the first was used to deliver more power to the main propeller shaft. In all these cases the overall efficiency increments remained within 5%. If completely recovered by the use of a properly designed expander-generator unit, the energy content of the unexpanded in-cylinder gas could substantially increase the overall efficiency of the thermal unit. In the present paper the authors evaluate, by means of simple yet effective calculations, the efficiency attainable by a thermal unit composed of a spark ignition engine endowed of an exhaust gas energy recovery expander connected to a proper generator. The proposed thermal unit, which is particularly suitable for hybrid propulsion solutions, has been evaluated both in the naturally aspirated and in the supercharged version. The efficiency of each thermal unit is also compared to reference baseline engine, thus highlighting the real benefit introduced by the adoption of the proposed thermal unit. As result, it was found that the complete and efficient recovery of the unexpanded gas energy has the potential to increase the overall efficiency of the propulsion system by 10-15%, depending on the characteristics of the thermal engine and of the exhaust energy expander-generator unit.