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Technical Paper

A computational study of hydrogen direct injection using a pre-chamber in an opposed-piston engine

Opposed-piston two-stroke engines offer numerous advantages over conventional four-stroke engines, both in terms of fundamental principles and technical aspects. The reduced heat losses and large volume-to-surface area ratio inherently result in a high thermodynamic efficiency. Additionally, the mechanical design is simpler and requires fewer components compared to conventional four-stroke engines. When combining this engine concept with alternative fuels such as hydrogen and pre-chamber technology, a potential route for carbon-neutral powertrains is observed. To ensure safe engine operation using hydrogen as fuel, it is crucial to consider strict safety measures to prevent issues such as knock, pre-ignition, and backfiring. One potential solution to these challenges is the use of direct injection, which has the potential to improve engine efficiency and expand the range of load operation.
Technical Paper

Development of a Soft-Actor Critic Reinforcement Learning Algorithm for the Energy Management of a Hybrid Electric Vehicle

In recent years, the urgent need to fully exploit the fuel economy potential of the Electrified Vehicles (xEVs) through the optimal design of their Energy Management System (EMS) have led to an increasing interest in Machine Learning (ML) techniques. Among them, Reinforcement Learning (RL) seems to be one of the most promising approaches thanks to its peculiar structure, in which an agent is able to learn the optimal control strategy through the feedback received by a direct interaction with the environment. Therefore, in this study, a new Soft Actor-Critic agent (SAC), which exploits a stochastic policy, was implemented on a digital twin of a state-of-the-art diesel Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) available on the European market. The SAC agent was trained to enhance the fuel economy of the PHEV while guaranteeing its battery charge sustainability.
Technical Paper

Experimental Study of Lignin Fuels for CI Engines

This study explores the feasibility of using a sustainable lignin-based fuel, consisting of 44 % lignin, 50 % ethanol, and 6 % water, in conventional compression ignition (CI) marine engines. Through experimental evaluations on a modified small-bore CI engine, we identified the primary challenges associated with lignin-based fuel, including engine startup and shutdown issues due to solvent evaporation and lignin solidification inside the fuel system, and deposit formation on cylinder walls leading to piston ring seizure. To address these issues, we developed a fuel switching system transitioning from lignin-based fuel to cleaning fuel with 85 vol% of acetone, 10 vol% of water and 5 vol% of ignition improving additive, effectively preventing system clogs.
Technical Paper

Experimental Assessment of Drop-in Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) in a Medium-Duty Diesel Engine for Low-emissions Marine Applications

Nowadays, the push for more ecological low-carbon propulsion systems is high in all mobility sectors, including the recreational or light-commercial boating, where propulsion is usually provided by internal combustion engines derived from road applications. In this work, the effects of replacing conventional fossil-derived B7 diesel with Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) were experimentally investigated in a modern Medium-Duty Engine, using the advanced biofuel as drop-in and testing according to the ISO 8178 marine standard. The compounded results showed significant benefits in terms of NOx, Soot, mass fuel consumption and WTW CO2 thanks to the inner properties of the aromatic-free, hydrogen-rich renewable fuel, with no impact on the engine power and minimal deterioration of the volumetric fuel economy.
Technical Paper

Influences of High-Pressure Pump and Injector Nozzle Geometry on Hydraulics Characteristics of a Mechanical Diesel Direct-Injection System

The geometry of high-pressure pump and injector nozzles crucially influences hydraulic behaviors (e.g., the start of injection, the pressure profiles developed in the high-pressure line, needle lift, and injection rates) in diesel engines. These factors, in turn, significantly impact fuel atomization, fuel–air mixing, combustion quality, and the formation of emissions. The main geometry parameters such as plunger diameter and the number and diameter of nozzles lead to the system complexity, requiring careful analysis, design, and calibration. In this study, a high-speed shadowgraph system and a high-resolution pressure recording system were developed to capture the start of injection, spray structure, and pressure profiles in the high-pressure line. Additionally, a model was developed using GT-Fuel package built within the GT-Suite of simulation tools to explore different plunger diameters and numbers and diameters of injector nozzles.