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Technical Paper

Experimental Investigation of Combustion Characteristics in a Heavy-Duty Compression-Ignition Engine Retrofitted to Natural-Gas Spark-Ignition Operation

2019-09-09
2019-24-0124
Recent development in hydraulic fracking made natural gas (NG) to be a promising alternative gaseous fuel for heavy-duty diesel engines. The existing compression ignition (CI) engine can be retrofitted to NG spark ignition (SI) operation by replacing the diesel injector with a spark plug and fumigating NG into the intake manifold. However, the original diesel piston geometry (flat head and bowl-in-piston chamber) was usually retained to reduce modification cost. The goal of this study was to increase the understanding of the NG lean-burn characteristics in a diesel-like, fast-burn SI combustion chamber. The experimental platform can operate in conventional (i.e., all engine parts are metal) or in optical configuration (i.e., the stock piston and cylinder block are replaced with a see-through piston and an extended cylinder block). The optical data indicated a fast-propagated flame inside the piston bowl.
Technical Paper

Gaseous Fuels Variation Effects on Combustion and Emissions of a Small Direct Injection Natural Gas Engine

2019-04-02
2019-01-0560
Our research focused on the assessment of fuel variation effects on performance of a 34 cc two-stroke, natural gas combustion engine designed for use as the prime mover in either slider-crank or novel linear generator applications. Nearly two-thirds of US homes have either natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas available at low pressures. We tested the engine with three different natural gas blends, pure methane, and pure propane. In order to reduce fuel compression power, we modified the engine to use low-pressure direct injection (LPDI) of gaseous fuels. We examined regulated gaseous emissions, greenhouse gas emissions, and combustion trends over a range of delivered air fuel ratios. Start of Injection (SOI) occurred at either 180 or 190 CA BTDC and efficiency improved by reducing fuel slip. However, for natural gas blends, the predominant emissions were methane - a potent greenhouse gas.
Technical Paper

Experimental Investigation of a Natural Gas Lean-Burn Spark Ignition Engine with Bowl-in-Piston Combustion Chamber

2019-04-02
2019-01-0559
On- and off-road heavy-duty diesel engines modified to spark-ignition natural gas operation can reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil and enhance national energy security. Engine conversion can be achieved through the addition of a gas injector in the intake manifold and of a spark plug in place of the diesel injector. This paper investigated combustion characteristics and engine performance at several lean-burn operating conditions that changed spark timing, mixture equivalence ratio, and engine speed, using methane as NG surrogate.
Journal Article

Sensitivity Analysis and Control Methodology for Linear Engine Alternator

2019-04-02
2019-01-0230
Linear engine alternator (LEA) design optimization traditionally has been difficult because each independent variable alters the motion with respect to time, and therefore alters the engine and alternator response to other governing variables. An analogy is drawn to a conventional engine with a very light flywheel, where the rotational speed effectively is not constant. However, when springs are used in conjunction with an LEA, the motion becomes more consistent and more sinusoidal with increasing spring stiffness. This avoids some attractive features, such as variable compression ratio HCCI operation, but aids in reducing cycle-to-cycle variation for conventional combustion modes. To understand the cycle-to-cycle variations, we have developed a comprehensive model of an LEA with a 1kW target power in MATLAB®/Simulink, and an LEA corresponding to that model has been operated in the laboratory.
Technical Paper

CFD Simulation of Metal and Optical Configuration of a Heavy-Duty CI Engine Converted to SI Natural Gas. Part 1: Combustion Behavior

2019-01-15
2019-01-0002
Internal combustion engines with optical access (a.k.a. optical engines) provide additional information in the quest for understanding the fundamental in-cylinder combustion phenomena. However, most optical engines have flat bowl-in-piston combustion chamber to optimize the visualization process, which is different, for example, from the traditional re-entrant bowl in compression ignition engines. A conventional heavy-duty direct-injection compression ignition engine was converted to spark ignition operation by replacing the fuel injector with a spark plug in both optical and metal setups to investigate the effect of the bowl geometry on flame propagation. Experimental data from steady-state lean-burn conditions was used to develop and validate a 3D CFD model of the engine. Numerical simulation results show that flame propagation in the radial direction was similar for both combustion chambers despite their different geometries.
Technical Paper

CFD Simulation of Metal and Optical Configuration of a Heavy-Duty CI Engine Converted to SI Natural Gas. Part 2: In-Cylinder Flow and Emissions

2019-01-15
2019-01-0003
Internal combustion diesel engines with optical access (a.k.a. optical engines) increase the fundamental understanding of combustion phenomena. However, optical access requirements result in most optical engines having a different in-cylinder geometry compared with the conventional diesel engine, such as a flat bowl-in-piston combustion chamber. This study investigated the effect of the bowl geometry on the flow motion and emissions inside a conventional heavy-duty direct-injection diesel engine that can operate in both metal and optical-access configurations. This engine was converted to natural-gas spark-ignition operation by replacing the fuel injector with a spark plug and adding a low-pressure gas injector in the intake manifold for fuel delivery, then operated at steady-state lean-burn conditions. A 3D CFD model based on the experimental data predicted that the different bowl geometry did not significantly affect in-cylinder emissions distribution.
Technical Paper

Quantification of Energy Pathways and Gas Exchange of a Small Port Injection SI Two-Stroke Natural Gas Engine Operating on Different Exhaust Configurations

2018-04-03
2018-01-1278
This paper examines the energy pathways of a 29cc air-cooled two-stroke engine operating on natural gas with different exhaust geometries. The engine was operated at wide-open-throttle at a constant speed of 5400 RPM with ignition adjusted to yield maximum brake torque while the fueling was adjusted to examine both rich and lean combustion. The exhaust configurations examined included an off-the-shelf (OTS) model and two other custom models designed on Helmholtz resonance theory. The custom designs included both single and multi-cone features. Out of the three exhaust systems tested, the model with maximum trapping efficiency showed a higher overall efficiency due to lower fuel short-circuiting and heat transfer. The heat transfer rate was shown to be 10% lower on the new designs relative to OTS model.
Technical Paper

Fuel Composition Effects in a CI Engine Converted to SI Natural Gas Operation

2018-04-03
2018-01-1137
Low-carbon fuels such as natural gas (NG) have the potential to lower the demand of petroleum-based fuels, reduce engine-out emissions, and increase IC engine thermal efficiency. One of the most rapid and efficient use of NG in the transportation sector would be as a direct replacement of the diesel fuel in compression ignition (CI) engines without any major engine modifications to the combustion chamber such as new pistons and/or engine head. An issue is the large variation in NG composition with the location and age of the gas well across U.S., which would affect engine operation, as well as the technology integration with emissions after treatment systems. This study used a conventional CI engine modified for spark ignition (SI) NG operation to investigate the effects of methane and a C1-C4 alkane blend on main combustion parameters like in-cylinder pressure, apparent heat release rate, IMEP, etc.
Technical Paper

Continuously Varying Exhaust Outlet Diameter to Improve Efficiency and Emissions of a Small SI Natural Gas Two-Stroke Engine by Internal EGR

2018-04-03
2018-01-0985
With continuously increasing concern for the emissions from two-stroke engines including regulated hydrocarbon (HC) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions, non-road engines are implementing proven technologies from the on-road market. For example, four stroke diesel generators now include additional internal exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) via an intake/exhaust valve passage. EGR can offer benefits of reduced HC, NOx, and may even improve combustion stability and fuel efficiency. In addition, there is particular interest in use of natural gas as fuel for home power generation. This paper examines exhaust throttling applied to the Helmholtz resonator of a two-stroke, port injected, natural gas engine. The 34 cc engine was air cooled and operated at wide-open throttle (WOT) conditions at an engine speed of 5400 RPM with fueling adjusted to achieve maximum brake torque. Exhaust throttling served as a method to decrease the effective diameter of the outlet of the convergent cone.
Technical Paper

Choice of Tuning Parameters on 3D IC Engine Simulations Using G-Equation

2018-04-03
2018-01-0183
3D CFD spark-ignition IC engine simulations are extremely complex for the regular user. Truly-predictive CFD simulations for the turbulent flame combustion that solve fully coupled transport/chemistry equations may require large computational capabilities unavailable to regular CFD users. A solution is to use a simpler phenomenological model such as the G-equation that decouples transport/chemistry result. Such simulation can still provide acceptable and faster results at the expense of predictive capabilities. While the G-equation is well understood within the experienced modeling community, the goal of this paper is to document some of them for a novice or less experienced CFD user who may not be aware that phenomenological models of turbulent flame combustion usually require heavy tuning and calibration from the user to mimic experimental observations.
Technical Paper

The Optimization of MOP Control Strategy for a Range-Extended Electric Vehicle Based on GA

2017-10-08
2017-01-2464
The range-extended electric vehicle (REEV) is a complex nonlinear system powered by internal combustion engine and electricity stored in battery. This research proposed a Multiple Operation Points (MOP) control strategy of REVV based on operation features of REEV and the universal characteristic curve of the engine. The switching logic rules of MOP strategy are designed for the desired transition of the operation mode, which makes the engine running at high efficiency region. A Genetic algorithm (GA) is adapted to search the optimal solution. The fuel consumption is defined as the target cost function. The demand power of engine is defined as optimal variable. The state of charge (SOC) and vehicle speed are selected as the state variables. The dynamic performance of vehicle and cycling life of battery is set as the constraints. The optimal switching parameters are obtained based on this control strategy. Finally, a dynamic simulation model of REEV is developed in Matlab/Simulink.
Technical Paper

Direct Numerical Simulation of Methane Turbulent Premixed Oxy-Fuel Combustion

2017-10-08
2017-01-2192
A 3-D DNS (Three-Dimensional Direct Numerical Simulation) study with detailed chemical kinetic mechanism of methane has been performed to investigate the characteristics of turbulent premixed oxy-fuel combustion in the condition relevant to Spark Ignition (SI) engines. First, 1-D (one-dimensional) laminar freely propagating premixed flame is examined to show a consistent combustion temperature for different dilution cases, such that 73% H2O and 66% CO2 dilution ratios are adopted in the following 3-D DNS cases. Four 3-D DNS cases with various turbulence intensities are conducted. It is found that dilution agents can reduce the overall flame temperature but with an enhancement of density weighted flame speed. CO2 dilution case shows the lowest flame speed both in turbulent and laminar cases.
Technical Paper

The Influence of High Reactivity Fuel Properties on Reactivity Controlled Compression Ignition Combustion

2017-09-04
2017-24-0080
Reactivity controlled compression ignition (RCCI) is a form of dual-fuel combustion that exploits the reactivity difference between two fuels to control combustion phasing. This combustion approach limits the formation of oxides of nitrogen (NOX) and soot while retaining high thermal efficiency. The research presented herein was performed to determine the influences that high reactivity (diesel) fuel properties have on RCCI combustion characteristics, exhaust emissions, fuel efficiency, and the operable load range. A 4-cylinder, 1.9 liter, light-duty compression-ignition (CI) engine was converted to run on diesel fuel (high reactivity fuel) and compressed natural gas (CNG) (low reactivity fuel). The engine was operated at 2100 revolutions per minute (RPM), and at two different loads, 3.6 bar brake mean effective pressure (BMEP) and 6 bar BMEP.
Technical Paper

Evaluation of Kinetics Process in CFD Model and Its Application in Ignition Process Analysis of a Natural Gas-Diesel Dual Fuel Engine

2017-03-28
2017-01-0554
Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model has been widely applied in internal combustion (IC) engine research. The integration of chemical kinetic model with CFD provides an opportunity for researchers to investigate the detailed chemical reactions for better understanding the combustion process of IC engines. However, the simulation using CFD has generally focused on the examination of primary parameters, such as temperature and species distributions. The detailed investigation on chemical reactions is limited. This paper presents the development of a post-processing tool capable of calculating the rate of production (ROP) of interested species with the known temperature, pressure, and concentration of each species in each cell simulated using CONVERGE-SAGE CFD model.
Technical Paper

Influence of Materials Properties on Process Planning Effectiveness

2017-03-28
2017-01-0227
Process planning, whether generative or variant, can be used effectively as through the incorporation of computer aided tools that enhance the evaluator impact of the dialogue between the design and manufacturing functions. Expert systems and algorithms are inherently incorporated into the software tools used herein. This paper examines the materials related implications that influence design for manufacturing issues. Generative process planning software tools are utilized to analyze the sensitivity of the effectiveness of the process plans with respect to changing attributes of material properties. The shift that occurs with respect to cost and production rates of process plans with respect to variations in specific material properties are explored. The research will be analyzing the effect of changes in material properties with respect to the design of a specific product that is prismatic and is produced exclusively by machining processes.
Journal Article

Development of an Ammonia Reduction Aftertreatment Systems for Stoichiometric Natural Gas Engines

2017-01-10
2017-26-0143
Three-way catalyst equipped stoichiometric natural gas vehicles have proven to be an effective alternative fuel strategy that has shown superior low NOx benefits in comparison to diesels equipped with SCR. However, recent studies have shown the TWC activity to contribute to high levels of tailpipe ammonia emissions. Although a non-regulated pollutant, ammonia is a potent pre-cursor to ambient secondary PM formation. Ammonia (NH3) is an inevitable catalytic byproduct of TWCduring that results also corresponds to lowest NOx emissions. The main objective of the study is to develop a passive SCR based NH3 reduction strategy that results in an overall reduction of NH3 as well as NOx emissions from a stoichiometric spark ignited natural gas engine. The study investigated the characteristics of Fe-based and Cu-based zeolite SCR catalysts in storage, and desorption of ammonia at high exhaust temperature conditions, that are typical of stoichiometric natural gas engines.
Technical Paper

Effects of EGR Addition onto Combustion Stability and Alternator Performance Variability of a Small, Single-Cylinder Diesel Generator

2016-11-08
2016-32-0063
The aim of this investigation was to improve understanding and quantify the impact of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) as an emissions control measure onto cyclic variability of a small-bore, single-cylinder, diesel-fueled compression-ignition (CI) power generation unit. Of special interest were how cycle-to-cycle variations of the CI engine affect steady-state voltage deviations and frequency bandwidths. Furthermore, the study strived to elucidate the impact of EGR addition onto combustion parameters, as well as gaseous and particle phase emissions along with fuel consumption. The power generation unit was operated over five discrete steady-state test modes, representative of nominal 0, 25, 50, 75, and 100% engine load (i.e. 0-484kPa BMEP), by absorbing electrical power via a resistive load bank. The engine was equipped with a passive EGR system that directly connected the exhaust and intake runners through a small passage.
Technical Paper

Study on the Use of Springs in a Dual Free Piston Engine Alternator

2016-10-17
2016-01-2233
The free piston engine combined with a linear electric alternator has the potential to be a highly efficient converter from fossil fuel energy to electrical power. With only a single major moving part (the translating rod), mechanical friction is reduced compared to conventional crankshaft technology. Instead of crankshaft linkages, the motion of the translator is driven by the force balance between the engine cylinder, alternator, damping losses, and springs. Focusing primarily on mechanical springs, this paper explores the use of springs to increase engine speed and reduce cyclic variability. A numeric model has been constructed in MATLAB®/Simulink to represent the various subsystems, including the engine, alternator, and springs. Within the simulation is a controller that forces the engine to operate at a constant compression ratio by affecting the alternator load.
Technical Paper

E-KERS Energy Management Crucial to Improved Fuel Economy

2016-09-18
2016-01-1947
The operation of a conventional passenger car is characterised by increasing or maintaining the kinetic energy, when accelerating or cruising the vehicle, and reducing the kinetic energy by using the brakes. While the energy taken by the friction brakes to slow the vehicle is dissipated into heat, the introduction of Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) has permitted the recovery of part of the braking energy. This reduces the amount of energy needed from the internal combustion engine (ICE). The contribution reviews the latest developments in electric KERS (E-KERS), with emphasis to round trip efficiency wheels to wheels and electrification of the powertrain. The contribution considers the opportunity to connect the E-KERS traction battery to other electric machines, such as an electrically assisted turbocharger (E-TC) connected to a motor/generator unit, or an electric water pump (EWP), to further optimise the vehicle operation.
Journal Article

Effect of Combustion Timing and Heat Loss on Spring-Assisted Linear Engine Translator Motion

2016-04-05
2016-01-0560
The free piston linear engine has the potential to achieve high efficiency and might serve as a viable platform for robust implementation of low temperature combustion schemes (such as homogeneous charge compression ignition - HCCI) due to its ability to vary compression and stroke in response to cylinder and load events. A major challenge is control of the translator motion. Lack of geometric constraint on the piston leads to uncertainty about its top dead center position and timing. While combustion control depends on knowledge of the piston motion, the combustion event also affects the motion profile of the piston. To advance understanding of this coupled system, a numeric model was developed to simulate multiple cycles of a dual cylinder, spring assisted, 2-stroke HCCI, free piston linear engine generator.
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