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Technical Paper

Efficiency and Emission Trade-Off in Diesel-Ethanol Low Temperature Combustion Cycles

An experimental investigation of low temperature combustion (LTC) cycles is conducted with diesel and ethanol fuels on a high compression ratio (18.2:1), common-rail diesel engine. Two LTC modes are studied; near-TDC injection of diesel with up to 60% exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), and port injected ethanol ignited by direct injection of diesel with moderate EGR (30-45%). Indicated mean effective pressures up to 10 bar in the diesel LTC mode and 17.6 bar in the dual-fuel LTC mode have been realized. While the NOx and smoke emissions are significantly reduced, a thermal efficiency penalty is observed from the test results. In this work, the efficiency penalty is attributed to increased HC and CO emissions and a non-conventional heat release pattern. The influence of heat release phasing, duration, and shape, on the indicated performance is explained with the help of parametric engine cycle simulations.
Technical Paper

Combustion and Exhaust Gas Speciation Analysis of Diesel and Butanol Post Injection

Experimental testing was done with a modern compression ignition engine to study the effect of the engine load and the effect of different fuels on the post injection characteristics. Two different fuels were utilized; ultra-low sulphur diesel and n-butanol. The results showed that a post injection can be an effective method for increasing the operating range of the engine load. Engine operation at high load can be limited by the peak cylinder pressure but the test results showed that an early post injection can increase the engine load without increasing the peak in-cylinder pressure. Neat butanol combustion may have a very high peak in-cylinder pressure and a very high peak pressure rise rate even at low load conditions. The test results showed that a butanol post injection can contribute to engine power without significantly affecting the peak pressure rise rate and the peak in-cylinder pressure.
Technical Paper

Study of Low Temperature Combustion with Neat n-Butanol on a Common-rail Diesel Engine

This study investigates neat n-butanol, as a cleaner power source, to directly replace conventional diesel fuels for enabling low temperature combustion on a modern common-rail diesel engine. Engine tests are performed at medium engine loads (6∼8 bar IMEP) with the single-shot injection strategy for both n-butanol and diesel fuels. As indicated by the experimental results, the combustion of neat n-butanol offers comparable engine efficiency to that of diesel while producing substantially lower NOx emissions even without the use of exhaust gas recirculation. The greater resistance to auto-ignition allows n-butanol to undergo a prolonged ignition delay for air-fuel mixing; the high volatility helps to enhance the cylinder charge homogeneity; the fuel-borne oxygen contributes to smoke reduction and, as a result, the smoke emissions of n-butanol combustion are generally at a near-zero level under the tested engine operating conditions.
Technical Paper

An Enabling Study of Neat n-Butanol HCCI Combustion on a High Compression-ratio Diesel Engine

This work investigates the benefits and challenges of enabling neat n-butanol HCCI combustion on a high compression ratio (18.2:1) diesel engine. Minor engine modifications are made to implement n-butanol port injection while other engine components are kept intact. The impacts of the fuel change, from diesel to n-butanol, are examined through steady-state engine tests with independent control of the intake boost and exhaust gas recirculation. As demonstrated by the test results, the HCCI combustion of a thoroughly premixed n-butanol/air lean mixture offers near-zero smoke and ultralow NOx emissions even without the use of exhaust gas recirculation and produces comparable engine efficiencies to those of conventional diesel high temperature combustion. The test results also manifest the control challenges of running a neat alcohol fuel in the HCCI combustion mode.
Technical Paper

Novel Catalytic Converter for Natural Gas Powered Diesel Engines

A novel catalytic converter technology, employing periodical reversal of gas flow through the oxidation catalyst monolith, is being developed for treatment of exhaust gas from diesel engines fueled by natural gas in combination with diesel fuel. This technology allows to trap heat energy inside the monolith and thus efficiently destroy methane at converter inlet temperature as low as ambient. This paper describes the results of the initial stage of the converter development, including development of the mathematical model, computer simulation, and prototype testing. Simulation results indicate that dual fuel engine equipped with the reverse-flow converter could exceed the required destruction standards for hydrocarbons, including methane.
Technical Paper

Renewable Ethanol Use for Enabling High Load Clean Combustion in a Diesel Engine

As a renewable energy source, the ethanol fuel was employed with a diesel fuel in this study to improve the cylinder charge homogeneity for high load operations, targeting on ultra-low nitrogen oxides (NOx) and smoke emissions. A light-duty diesel engine is configured to adapt intake port fuelling of the ethanol fuel while keeping all other original engine components intact. High load experiments are performed to investigate the combustion control and low emission enabling without sacrificing the high compression ratio (18.2:1). The intake boost, exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and injection pressure are independently controlled, and thus their effects on combustion and emission characteristics of the high load operation are investigated individually. The low temperature combustion is accomplished at high engine load (16~17 bar IMEP) with regulation compatible NOx and soot emissions.
Technical Paper

Exhaust Hydrocarbon Speciation from a Single-Cylinder Compression Ignition Engine Operating with In-Cylinder Blending of Gasoline and Diesel Fuels

Diesel aided by gasoline low temperature combustion offers low NOx and low soot emissions, and further provides the potential to expand engine load range and improve engine efficiency. The diesel-gasoline operation however yields high unburned hydrocarbons (UHC) and carbon monoxide (CO) emissions. This study aims to correlate the chemical origins of the key hydrocarbon species detected in the engine exhaust under diesel-gasoline operation. It further aims to help develop strategies to lower the hydrocarbon emissions while retaining the low NOx, low soot, and efficiency benefits. A single-cylinder research engine was used to conduct the engine experiments at a constant engine load of 10 bar nIMEP with a fixed engine speed of 1600 rpm. Engine exhaust was sampled with a FTIR analyzer for speciation investigation.
Technical Paper

Clean Combustion in a Diesel Engine Using Direct Injection of Neat n-Butanol

The study investigated the characteristics of the combustion, the emissions and the thermal efficiency of a direct injection diesel engine fuelled with neat n-butanol. Engine tests were conducted on a single cylinder four-stroke direct injection diesel engine. The engine ran at 6.5 bar IMEP and 1500 rpm engine speed. The intake pressure was boosted to 1.0 bar (gauge), and the injection pressure was controlled at 60 or 90 MPa. The injection timing and the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) rate were adjusted to investigate the engine performance. The effect of the engine load on the engine performance was also investigated. The test results showed that the n-butanol fuel had significantly longer ignition delay than that of diesel fuel. n-Butanol generally led to a rapid heat release pattern in a short period, which resulted in an excessively high pressure rise rate. The pressure rise rate could be moderated by retarding the injection timing and lowering the injection pressure.
Technical Paper

Misfiring Control in Current Cycle at Engine Start Employing Ion Sensing Technology

In this paper a method of misfiring control in current cycle at engine start is presented. With this novel method, the high HC emissions of gasoline engine employed in traditional or hybrid electrical vehicles will be avoided. By the feedback of ion current signal, misfire phenomenon is identified within 30 degrees crank angle after spark plug ignited. Then, the ignition coil will be recharged and the plug sparked again to promote air fuel mixture oxidation and deplete the unburned hydrocarbon produces in exhaust gas. On the other hand, too late ignition will not always result in normal combustion, a kind of reaction similar with slow oxidation also occurs in such case.
Technical Paper

Simultaneous Reductions of Smoke and NOx from a DI Diesel Engine with EGR and Dimethyl Carbonate

Extensive experiments were conducted on a low emission DI diesel engine by using Dimethyl Carbonate (DMC) as an oxygenate fuel additive. The results indicated that smoke reduced almost linearly with fuel oxygen content. Accompanying noticeable reductions of HC and CO were attained, while a small increase in NOx was encountered. The effective reduction in smoke with DMC was maintained with intake charge CO2, which led to low NOx and smoke emissions by the combined use of oxygenated fuel and exhaust gas recirculation (EGR). Further experiments were conducted on an optically accessible combustion bomb and a thermal cracking set-up to study the mechanisms of DMC addition on smoke reduction.
Technical Paper

Low Temperature Combustion of Neat Biodiesel Fuel on a Common-rail Diesel Engine

The fatty acid alkyl esters derived from plants, rendered fats/oils and waste restaurant greases, commonly known as biodiesel, are renewable alternative fuels that may fulfill the demand gap caused by the depleting fossil diesel fuels. The combustion and emission characteristics of neat biodiesel fuels were investigated on a single cylinder of a 4-cylinder Ford common-rail direct injection diesel engine, which cylinder has been configured to have independent exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), boost and back pressures and exhaust gas sampling. The fatty acid methyl esters derived from Canola oil, soybean oil, tallow and yellow grease were first blended. Biodiesel engine tests were then conducted under the independent control of the fuel injection, EGR, boost and back pressure to achieve the low temperature combustion mode. Multi-pulse early-injections were employed to modulate the homogeneity history of the cylinder charge.
Technical Paper

Fuel Efficiency Improvements of Low Temperature Combustion Diesel Engines

Previous work indicated that low temperature combustion (LTC) in diesel engines was capable of reducing nitrogen oxides and soot simultaneously, when implemented with highly premixed lean cylinder charge or by the use of high exhaust gas recirculation. However, the fuel efficiency of the low temperature combustion cycles was commonly compromised by the high levels of hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions. Additionally, in cases of diesel homogeneous charge cycles, the combustion process may even occur before the piston completes the compression stroke, which may cause excessive efficiency reduction and combustion roughness. Empirical procedures were implemented to better phase and complete the combustion process. The impact of heat release phasing, duration, shaping, and splitting on the thermal efficiency has also been analyzed with zero-dimensional engine cycle simulations. This paper intends to identify the pathways to improve the fuel efficiency of diesel LTC cycles.
Journal Article

Impact of Fuel Properties on Diesel Low Temperature Combustion

Extensive empirical work indicates that exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) is effective to lower the flame temperature and thus the oxides of nitrogen (NOx) production in-cylinder in diesel engines. Soot emissions are reduced in-cylinder by improved fuel/air mixing. As engine load increases, higher levels of intake boost and fuel injection pressure are required to suppress soot production. The high EGR and improved fuel/air mixing is then critical to enable low temperature combustion (LTC) processes. The paper explores the properties of the Fuels for Advanced Combustion Engines (FACE) Diesel, which are statistically designed to examine fuel effects, on a 0.75L single cylinder engine across the full range of load, spanning up to 15 bar IMEP. The lower cetane number (CN) of the diesel fuel improved the mixing process by prolonging the ignition delay and the mixing duration leading to substantial reduction of soot at low to medium loads, improving the trade-off between NOx and soot.
Technical Paper

Empirical Study of Energy in Diesel Combustion Emissions with EGR Application

Modern diesel engines were known for producing ultra-low levels of hydrogen and hydrocarbons. However, as emission control techniques such as exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) are implemented to meet stringent NOx standards, the resulting increase in partial-combustion products can be significant in quantity both as pollutants and sources of lost engine efficiency. In this work, a modern common-rail diesel engine was configured to investigate the EGR threshold for elevated carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon, and hydrogen emissions at fixed loads and fixed heat-release phasing. It is noted that increase in hydrocarbons, in particular light hydrocarbons (such as methane, ethylene, and acetylene) was concurrent with ultra-low NOx emissions. Hydrogen gas can be emitted in significant quantities with the application of very high EGR. Under ultra-low NOx production conditions for medium and high load conditions, the light hydrocarbon species can account for the majority of hydrocarbon emissions.
Journal Article

Efficiency & Stability Improvements of Diesel Low Temperature Combustion through Tightened Intake Oxygen Control

Diesel engines operating in the low-temperature combustion (LTC) mode generally tend to produce very low levels of NOx and soot. However, the implementation of LTC is challenged by the higher cycle-to-cycle variation with heavy EGR operation and the narrower operating corridors. Small variations in the intake charge dilution can significantly increase the unburnt hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions as well as escalate the consecutive cyclic fluctuations of the cylinder charge. This in turn adversely affects the robustness and efficiency of the LTC operation. However, Improvements in the promptness and accuracy of combustion control as well as tightened control on the intake oxygen concentration can enhance the robustness and efficiency of the LTC operation in diesel engines. In this work, a set of field programmable gate array (FPGA) modules were coded and interlaced to suffice on-the-fly combustion event modulations on a cycle-by-cycle basis.
Journal Article

Experimental Investigation of Diesel-Ethanol Premixed Pilot-Assisted Combustion (PPAC) in a High Compression Ratio Engine

In this work, empirical investigations of the diesel-ethanol Premixed Pilot-Assisted Combustion (PPAC) are carried out on a high compression ratio (18.2:1) single-cylinder diesel engine. The tests focus on determining the minimum ethanol fraction for ultra-low NOx & soot emissions, effect of single-pilot vs. twin-pilot strategies on emissions and ignition controllability, reducing the EGR requirements, enabling clean combustion across the load range and achieving high efficiency full-load operation. The results show that both low NOx and almost zero soot emissions can be achieved but at the expense of higher unburned hydrocarbons. Compared to a single-pilot injection, a twin-pilot strategy reduces the soot emissions significantly and also lowers the NOx emissions, thereby reducing the requirements for EGR. The near-TDC pilot provides excellent control over the combustion phasing, further reducing the need of a higher EGR quantity for phasing control.
Technical Paper

Hydrocarbon Speciation of Diesel Ignited Ethanol and Butanol Engines

Dual fuel applications of alcohol fuels such as ethanol or butanol through port injection with direct injection of diesel can be effective in reduction of NOx. However, these dual fuel applications are usually associated with an increase in the incomplete combustion products such as hydrocarbons (HC), carbon monoxide (CO), and hydrogen (H2) emissions. An analysis of these products of incomplete combustion and the resulting combustion efficiency penalty was made in the diesel ignited alcohol combustion modes. The effect of EGR application was evaluated using ethanol and butanol as the port injected fuel, with varying alcohol fractions at the mid-load condition (10 -12 bar IMEP). The impact of varying the engine load (5 bar to 19 bar IMEP) in the diesel ignited ethanol mode on the incomplete combustion products was also studied. Emission measurements were taken and the net fuel energy loss as a result of the incomplete combustion was estimated.
Technical Paper

Emission Analysis of HCCI Combustion in a Diesel Engine Fueled by Butanol

Advances in engine technology in recent years have led to significant reductions in the emission of pollutants and gains in efficiency. As a facet of investigations into clean, efficient combustion, the homogenous charge compression ignition (HCCI) mode of combustion can improve upon the thermal efficiency and nitrogen oxides emission of conventional spark ignition engines. With respect to conventional diesel engines, the low nitrogen oxides and particulate matter emissions reduce the requirements on the aftertreatment system to meet emission regulations. In this paper, n-butanol, an alcohol fuel with the potential to be derived from renewable sources, was used in a light-duty diesel research engine in the HCCI mode of combustion. Control of the combustion was implemented using the intake pressure and external exhaust gas recirculation. The moderate reactivity of butanol required the assistance of increased intake pressure for ignition at the lower engine load range.
Technical Paper

Measurement of Temperature and Soot (KL) Distributions in Spray Flames of Diesel-Butanol Blends by Two-Color Method Using High-Speed RGB Video Camera

Taking advantages of high speed RGB video cameras, the two-color method can be implemented with a relatively simple setup to obtain the temporal development of the two dimensional temperature and soot (KL) distributions in a reacting diesel jet. However, several issues such as the selection of the two wavelengths, the role of bandpass filters, and the proper optical settings, etc. should be known to obtain a reliable measurement. This paper, at first, discusses about the uncertainties in the measurement of temperature and KL distributions in the diesel flame by the two-color method using the high speed RGB video camera. Since n-butanol, as an alternative renewable fuel, has the potential application in diesel engines, the characteristic of spray combustion of diesel-butanol blends under the diesel-like ambient conditions in a pre-burning constant-volume combustion chamber is studied.
Technical Paper

Fuel Burn Rate Control to Improve Load Capability of Neat n-Butanol Combustion in a Modern Diesel Engine

This research work investigates the control strategies of fuel burn rate of neat n-butanol combustion to improve the engine load capability. Engine tests of homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) and partially premixed combustion (PPC) with neat n-butanol show promising NOx and smoke emissions; however, the rapid burn rate of n-butanol results in excessive pressure rise rates and limits the engine load capability. A multi-event combustion strategy is developed to modulate the fuel burn rate of the combustion cycle and thus to reduce the otherwise high pressure rise rates at higher engine load levels. In the multi-event combustion strategy, the first combustion event is produced near TDC by the compression ignition of the port injected butanol that resembles the HCCI combustion; the second combustion event occurs near 7~12 degrees after TDC, which is produced by butanol direct injection (DI) after the first HCCI-like combustion event.