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Technical Paper

Opportunities for Electrified IC Engines

The automotive industry is polarized between external pressures for ‘zero’ emission battery electric vehicles (BEV) and the ability to manufacture them economically and with minimal environmental impact. Most predictions of future BEV market share suggest that the IC engine has an important role to play in personal transportation for the next several decades. That engine will very likely be part of a hybrid architecture. Accepting that the engine will be part of a hybrid powertrain permits new design rules and strategies for the IC engine. A major characteristic change of the engine will be to reduce BMEP, power density and engine speed requirements as performance demand will be supplemented by electric machines. This paper focuses on some simple changes to the IC engine to increase thermal efficiency with the knowledge of the supplemental electric energy.
Technical Paper

A Gas Separation Membrane Highly Selective to CO2 in the Exhaust of Internal Combustion Engines

Southwest Research Institute has developed a passive, flow-through, membrane which separates carbon dioxide (CO2) from other exhaust gas species. Stoichiometric exhaust gas for 0% ethanol fuels contain approximately 14% CO2 by concentration. The membrane consists of a ceramic substrate impregnated with lithium zirconate (Li2ZrO3). In the presence of temperatures of 400-600 °C the CO2 reacts with lithium zirconate to form lithium carbonate (Li2CO3). The new compound moves from the inner surface of the membrane via partial pressure gradient to the outer wall of the membrane and desorbs into a low concentration CO2 environment, e.g. atmospheric air with 400 ppm CO2. SwRI has tested the membrane under engine-like conditions, comparable to 2000 rpm 10 bar BMEP operation, on a standalone burner rig (ECTO-lab burner). On the SwRI ECTO-lab burner rig temperature, flow-rate and exhaust gas products can be independently varied.
Technical Paper

Microwave Enhancement of Lean/Dilute Combustion in a Constant-Volume Chamber

High dilution engines have been shown to have a significant fuel economy improvement over their non-dilute counterparts. Much of this improvement comes through an increase in compression ratio enabled by the high knock resistance from high dilution. Unfortunately, the same reduction in reactivity that leads to the knock reduction also reduces flame speed, leading to the engine becoming unstable at high dilution rates. Advanced ignition systems have been shown to improve engine stability, but their impact is limited to the area at, or very near, the spark plug. To further improve the dilute combustion, a system in which a microwave field is established in the combustion chamber is proposed. This standing electric field has been shown, in other applications, to improve dilution tolerance and increase the burning velocity.
Technical Paper

Impact of Engine Age and Engine Hardware on Low-Speed Pre-Ignition

Low-speed pre-ignition (LSPI) is a well-studied phenomenon in boosted, spark ignition engines. The impact of lubricant formulation has received a lot of attention in recent years, yet the impact of engine hardware and engine wear on LSPI is still not fully understood. This paper addresses some of these questions using results from multiple installations of the GM 2.0 L LHU engine platform. In the first part of the study, the effect of engine life on LSPI activity was observed, and it was found that engines were susceptible to variations in LSPI activity during the initial LSPI tests with the activity eventually reaching a “stabilized” level. It was further observed that the LSPI activity generally continued to decline at a steady rate as the engine aged. For engines used in LSPI testing, the life of the engine is often limited as LSPI activity decays with age.
Journal Article

Methanol Fuel Testing on Port Fuel Injected Internal-Only EGR, HPL-EGR and D-EGR® Engine Configurations

The primary focus of this investigation was to determine the hydrogen reformation, efficiency and knock mitigation benefits of methanol-fueled Dedicated EGR (D-EGR®) operation, when compared to other EGR types. A 2.0 L turbocharged port fuel injected engine was operated with internal EGR, high-pressure loop (HPL) EGR and D-EGR configurations. The internal, HPL-EGR, and D-EGR configurations were operated on neat methanol to demonstrate the relative benefit of D-EGR over other EGR types. The D-EGR configuration was also tested on high octane gasoline to highlight the differences to methanol. An additional sub-task of the work was to investigate the combustion response of these configurations. Methanol did not increase its H2 yield for a given D-EGR cylinder equivalence ratio, even though the H:C ratio of methanol is over twice typical gasoline.
Journal Article

Design and Implementation of a D-EGR® Mixer for Improved Dilution and Reformate Distribution

The Dedicated EGR (D-EGR®) engine has shown improved efficiency and emissions while minimizing the challenges of traditional cooled EGR. The concept combines the benefits of cooled EGR with additional improvements resulting from in-cylinder fuel reformation. The fuel reformation takes place in the dedicated cylinder, which is also responsible for producing the diluents for the engine (EGR). The D-EGR system does present its own set of challenges. Because only one out of four cylinders is providing all of the dilution and reformate for the engine, there are three “missing” EGR pulses and problems with EGR distribution to all 4 cylinders exist. In testing, distribution problems were realized which led to poor engine operation. To address these spatial and temporal mixing challenges, a distribution mixer was developed and tested which improved cylinder-to-cylinder and cycle-to-cycle variation of EGR rate through improved EGR distribution.
Journal Article

Dedicated EGR Vehicle Demonstration

Dedicated EGR (D-EGR) is an EGR strategy that uses in-cylinder reformation to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions. The entire exhaust of a sub-group of power cylinders (dedicated cylinders) is routed directly into the intake. These cylinders are run fuel-rich, producing H2 and CO (reformate), with the potential to improve combustion stability, knock tolerance and burn duration. A 2.0 L turbocharged D-EGR engine was packaged into a 2012 Buick Regal and evaluated on drive cycle performance. City and highway fuel consumption were reduced by 13% and 9%, respectively. NOx + NMOG were 31 mg/mile, well below the Tier 2 Bin 5 limit and just outside the Tier 3 Bin 30 limit (30 mg/mile).
Technical Paper

Alternative Fuel Testing on a Port Fuel Injected LPL EGR and D-EGR® Engine

A turbocharged 2.0 L PFI engine was modified to operate in a low-pressure loop and Dedicated EGR (D-EGR®) engine configuration. Both engine architectures were operated with a low and high octane gasoline as well as three ethanol blends. The core of this study focused on examining combustion differences at part and high loads between the selected fuels and also the different engine configurations. Specifically, the impact of the fuels on combustion stability, burn rates, knock mitigation, required ignition energy, and efficiency were evaluated. The results showed that the knock resistance generally followed the octane rating of the fuel. At part loads, the burn rates, combustion stability, and EGR tolerance was marginally improved with the high ethanol blends. When combustion was not knock or stability limited, the efficiency differences between the fuels were negligible. The D-EGR engine was much less sensitive to fuel changes in terms of burn rates than the LPL EGR setup.
Journal Article

Impact of EGR Quality on the Total Inert Dilution Ratio

A series of tests were performed on a gasoline powered engine with a Dedicated EGR® (D-EGR®) system. The results showed that changes in engine performance, including improvements in burn rates and stability and changes in emissions levels could not be adequately accounted for solely due to the presence of reformate in the EGR stream. In an effort to adequately characterize the engine's behavior, a new parameter was developed, the Total Inert Dilution Ratio (TIDR), which accounts for the changes in the EGR quality as inert gases are replaced by reactive species such as CO and H2.
Journal Article

The Interaction between Fuel Anti-Knock Index and Reformation Ratio in an Engine Equipped with Dedicated EGR

Experiments were performed on a small displacement (< 2 L), high compression ratio, 4 cylinder, port injected gasoline engine equipped with Dedicated EGR® (D-EGR®) technology using fuels with varying anti-knock properties. Gasolines with anti-knock indices of 84, 89 and 93 anti-knock index (AKI) were tested. The engine was operated at a constant nominal EGR rate of ∼25% while varying the reformation ratio in the dedicated cylinder from a ϕD-EGR = 1.0 - 1.4. Testing was conducted at selected engine speeds and constant torque while operating at knock limited spark advance on the three fuels. The change in combustion phasing as a function of the level of overfuelling in the dedicated cylinder was documented for all three fuels to determine the tradeoff between the reformation ratio required to achieve a certain knock resistance and the fuel octane rating.
Technical Paper

Water-Gas-Shift Catalyst Development and Optimization for a D-EGR® Engine

Dedicated Exhaust Gas Recirculation (D-EGR®) technology provides a novel means for fuel efficiency improvement through efficient, on-board generation of H2 and CO reformate [1, 2]. In the simplest form of the D-EGR configuration, reformate is produced in-cylinder through rich combustion of the gasoline-air charge mixture. It is also possible to produce more H2 by means of a Water Gas Shift (WGS) catalyst, thereby resulting in further combustion improvements and overall fuel consumption reduction. In industrial applications, the WGS reaction has been used successfully for many years. Previous engine applications of this technology, however, have only proven successful to a limited degree. The motivation for this work was to develop and optimize a WGS catalyst which can be employed to a D-EGR configuration of an internal combustion engine. This study consists of two parts.
Technical Paper

Impact of Swirl Ratio on Combustion Performance of a Non-Pent Roof Combustion Chamber Engine

In response to the sensitivity to diesel aftertreatment costs in the medium duty market, a John Deere 4045 was converted to burn gasoline with high levels of EGR. This presented some unique challenges not seen in light duty gasoline engines as the flat head and diesel adapted ports do not provide optimum in-cylinder turbulence. As the bore size increases, there is more opportunity for knock or incomplete combustion to occur. Also, the high dilution used to reduce knock slows the burn rates. In order to speed up the burn rates, various levels of swirl were investigated. A four valve head with different levels of port masking showed that increasing the swirl ratio decreased the combustion duration, but ultimately ran into high pumping work required to generate the desired swirl. A two valve head was used to overcome the breathing issue seen in the four valve head with port masking.
Journal Article

The Impact of Cooled EGR on Peak Cylinder Pressure in a Turbocharged, Spark Ignited Engine

The use of cooled EGR as a knock suppression tool is gaining more acceptance worldwide. As cooled EGR become more prevalent, some challenges are presented for engine designers. In this study, the impact of cooled EGR on peak cylinder pressure was evaluated. A 1.6 L, 4-cylinder engine was operated with and without cooled EGR at several operating conditions. The impact of adding cooled EGR to the engine on peak cylinder pressure was then evaluated with an attempt to separate the effect due to advanced combustion phasing from the effect of increased manifold pressure. The results show that cooled EGR's impact on peak cylinder pressure is primarily due to the knock suppression effect, with the result that an EGR rate of 25% leads to an almost 50% increase in peak cylinder pressure at a mid-load condition if the combustion phasing is advanced to Knock Limited Spark Advance (KLSA). When combustion phasing was held constant, increasing the EGR rate had almost no effect on PCP.
Journal Article

LPL EGR and D-EGR® Engine Concept Comparison Part 1: Part Load Operation

The ongoing pursuit of improved engine efficiency and emissions are driving gasoline low-pressure loop EGR systems into production around the globe. To minimize inevitable downsides of cooled EGR while maintaining its advantages, the Dedicated EGR (D-EGR®) engine was developed. The core of the D-EGR engine development focused on a unique concept that combines the efficiency improvements associated with recirculated exhaust gas and the efficiency improvements associated with fuel reformation. To outline the differences of the new engine concept with a conventional low-pressure loop (LPL) EGR setup, a turbocharged 2.0 L PFI engine was modified to operate in both modes and also compared to the baseline. The first part of the cooled EGR engine concept comparison investigates efficiency, emissions, combustion stability, and robustness at throttled part load conditions.
Journal Article

Potential and Challenges for a Water-Gas-Shift Catalyst as a Combustion Promoter on a D-EGR® Engine

In light of the increasingly stringent efficiency and emissions requirements, several new engine technologies are currently under investigation. One of these new concepts is the Dedicated EGR (D-EGR®) engine. The concept utilizes fuel reforming and high levels of recirculated exhaust gas (EGR) to achieve very high levels of thermal efficiency. While the positive impact of reformate, in particular hydrogen, on gasoline engine performance has been widely documented, the on-board reforming process and / or storage of H2 remains challenging. The Water-Gas-Shift (WGS) reaction is well known and has been used successfully for many years in the industry to produce hydrogen from the reactants water vapor and carbon monoxide. For this study, prototype WGS catalysts were installed in the exhaust tract of the dedicated cylinder of a turbocharged 2.0 L in-line four cylinder MPI engine. The potential of increased H2 production in a D-EGR engine was evaluated through the use of these catalysts.
Journal Article

LPL EGR and D-EGR® Engine Concept Comparison Part 2: High Load Operation

The ongoing pursuit of improved engine efficiency and emissions is driving gasoline low-pressure loop EGR systems into production around the globe. The Dedicated EGR (D-EGR®) engine was developed to minimize some of the challenges of cooled EGR while maintaining its advantages. The D-EGR engine is a high efficiency, low emissions internal combustion engine for automotive and off-highway applications. The core of the engine development focused on a unique concept that combines the efficiency improvements associated with recirculated exhaust gas and the efficiency improvements associated with fuel reformation. To outline the differences of the new engine concept with a conventional LPL EGR setup, a turbocharged 2.0 L PFI engine was modified to operate in both modes. The second part of the cooled EGR engine concept comparison investigates efficiency, knock resistance, combustion stability, and maximum load potential at high load conditions.
Journal Article

Advanced Ignition Systems Evaluations for High-Dilution SI Engines

A series of ignition systems were evaluated for their suitability for high-EGR SI engine applications. Testing was performed in a constant-volume combustion chamber and in a single-cylinder research engine, with EGR rates of up to 40% evaluated. All of the evaluated systems were able to initiate combustion at a simulated 20% EGR level, but not all of the resulting combustion rates were adequate for stable engine operation. High energy spark discharge systems were better, and could ignite a flame at up to 40% simulated EGR, though again the combustion rates were slow relative to that required for stable engine performance. The most effective systems for stable combustion at high EGR rates were systems which created a large effective flame kernel and/or a long kernel lifetime, such as a torch-style prechamber spark plug or a corona discharge igniter.
Journal Article

A Demonstration of Dedicated EGR on a 2.0 L GDI Engine

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) converted a 2012 Buick Regal GS to use an engine with Dedicated EGR™ (D-EGR™). D-EGR is an engine concept that uses fuel reforming and high levels of recirculated exhaust gas (EGR) to achieve very high levels of thermal efficiency [1]. To accomplish reformation of the gasoline in a cost-effective, energy efficient manner, a dedicated cylinder is used for both the production of EGR and reformate. By operating the engine in this manner, many of the sources of losses from traditional reforming technology are eliminated and the engine can take full advantage of the benefits of reformate. The engine in the vehicle was modified to add the following components: the dedicated EGR loop, an additional injector for delivering extra fuel for reformation, a modified boost system that included a supercharger, high energy dual coil offset (DCO) ignition and other actuators used to enable the control of D-EGR combustion.
Technical Paper

Impact of Operating Parameters on Ignition System Energy Consumption

The use of cooled EGR in gasoline engines improves the fuel efficiency of the engine through a variety of mechanisms, including improving the charge properties (e.g. the ratio of specific heats), reducing knock and enabling higher compression ratio operation and, at part loads conditions in particular, reducing pumping work. One of the limiting factors on the level of improvement from cooled EGR is the ability of the ignition system to ignite a dilute mixture and maintain engine stability. Previous work from SwRI has shown that, by increasing the ignition duration and using a continuous discharge ignition system, an improved ignition system can substantially increase the EGR tolerance of an engine [1, 2]. This improvement comes at a cost, however, of increased ignition system energy requirements and a potential decrease in spark plug durability. This work examines the impact of engine operating parameters on the ignition energy requirements under high dilution operation.
Technical Paper

Investigation of Lubrication Oil as an Ignition Source in Dual Fuel Combustion Engine

Dual fuel engines have shown significant potential as high efficiency powerplants. In one example, SwRI® has run a high EGR, dual-fuel engine using gasoline as the main fuel and diesel as the ignition source, achieving high thermal efficiencies with near zero NOx and smoke emissions. However, assuming a tank size that could be reasonably packaged, the diesel fuel tank would need to be refilled often due to the relatively high fraction of diesel required. To reduce the refill interval, SwRI investigated various alternative fluids as potential ignition sources. The fluids included: Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD), Biodiesel, NORPAR (a commercially available mixture of normal paraffins: n-pentadecane (normal C15H32), and n-hexadecane (normal C16H34)) and ashless lubrication oil. Lubrication oil was considered due to its high cetane number (CN) and high viscosity, hence high ignitability.