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Technical Paper

The Design of a Bi-Fuel Engine Which Avoids the Penalties Associated with Natural Gas Operation

An alternative fuel that has demonstrated considerable potential in reducing emissions and crude oil dependence is compressed natural gas (CNG). A dedicated CNG vehicle suffers from the lack of an adequate number of fueling stations and the poor range limited by CNG storage technology. A vehicle capable of operating on either gasoline or natural gas allows alternative fuel usage without sacrificing vehicle range and mobility. Although many such bi-fuel vehicles are in existence, historically they have employed older engine designs and made compromises in engine control parameters that can degrade performance relative to gasoline and increase emissions. A modern production engine, a 1992 Saturn 1.9 liter 16 valve powerplant, is being optimized for operation on each fuel to realize the full potential of CNG in a bi-fuel system. CNG operation in an engine designed for gasoline typically suffers from reduced power, due in part to displacement of air by gaseous fuel.
Technical Paper

A Controller for a Spark Ignition Engine with Bi-Fuel Capability

A bi-fuel engine with the ability to run optimally on both compressed natural gas (CNG) and gasoline is being developed. Such bi-fuel automotive engines are necessary to bridge the gap between gasoline and natural gas as an alternative fuel while natural gas fueling stations are not yet common enough to make a dedicated natural gas vehicle practical. As an example of modern progressive engine design, a Saturn 1.9 liter 4-cylinder dual overhead cam (DOHC) engine has been selected as a base powerplant for this development. Many previous natural gas conversions have made compromises in engine control strategies, including mapped open-loop methods, or resorting to translating the signals to or from the original controller. The engine control system described here, however, employs adaptive closed-loop control, optimizing fuel delivery and spark timing for both fuels.
Technical Paper

Turbocharging a Bi-Fuel Engine for Performance Equivalent to Gasoline

A bi-fuel engine capable of operating either on compressed natural gas (CNG) or gasoline is being developed for the transition to alternative fuel usage. A Saturn 1.9 liter 4-cylinder engine was selected as a base powerplant. A control system that allows closed-loop optimization of both fuel delivery and spark timing was developed. Stock performance and emissions of the engine, as well as performance and emissions with the new controller on gasoline and CNG, have been documented. CNG operation in an engine designed for gasoline results in power loss because of the lower volumetric efficiency with gaseous fuel use, yet such an engine does not take advantage of the higher knock resistance of CNG. It is the goal of this research to use the knock resistance of CNG to recover the associated power loss. The two methods considered for this include turbocharging with a variable boost wastegate and raising the compression ratio while employing variable valve timing.
Technical Paper

Performance of a High Speed Engine with Dual Fuel Capability

Concern over dwindling oil supplies has led to the adoption of alternate fuels to power fleet vehicles. However, during the interim period when alternate fuel supply stations are few and far between, dual fuel engines prove a necessity. In the light duty arena, these engines are typically gasoline engines modified to accommodate compressed natural gas (CNG) as an alternate fuel, but they are seldom optimized with both fuels in mind. A Saturn 1.9 liter 4 cylinder dual overhead cam engine was selected as a base for developing an optimized gasoline/CNG powerplant. Baseline data on power and steady state emissions (CO2, CO, NOx, HC) were found using the standard Saturn controller. In addition to monitoring standard sensor measurements, real-time pressure traces were taken for up to 256 cycles using a modified head with embedded PCB piezoelectric pressure transducers.