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Technical Paper

Analysis of Factors that Affect the Performance of Railplugs

2005-04-11
2005-01-0252
As natural gas engines are designed to operate leaner and with increased boost pressure, durability of the spark plugs becomes problematic. Among the various new ignition devices that have been considered to solve some of the problems facing spark plugs, railplugs appear to hold clear advantages in some areas. There are two types of railplugs: coaxial rail and parallel rail. This paper reports the results of an experimental study of various parameters that affect the performance of parallel railplugs. Their performance was quantified by the distance that the arc traveled along the rails from the initiation point. Travel along the rails is thought to be an important performance metric because rail-travel limits excessive local wear and produces a distributed ignition source which can potentially reduce mixture inhomogeneity induced ignition problems.
Technical Paper

A New Ignitior for Large-Bore Natural Gas Engines - Railplug Design Improvement and Optimization

2005-04-11
2005-01-0249
It is a very challenging problem to reliably ignite extremely lean mixtures, especially for the low speed, high load conditions of large-bore natural gas engines. If these engines are to be use for the distributed power generation market, it will require operation with higher boost pressures and even leaner mixtures. Both place greater demands on the ignition system. The railplug is a very promising ignition system for lean burn natural gas engines with its high-energy deposition and high velocity plasma arc. It requires care to properly design railplugs for this new application, however. For these engines, in-cylinder pressure and mixture temperature are very high at the time of ignition due to the high boost pressure. Hot spots may exist on the electrodes of the ignitor, causing pre-ignition problems. A heat transfer model is proposed in this paper to aid the railplug design. The electrode temperature was measured in an operating natural gas engine.
Technical Paper

Improving Heavy-Duty Engine Efficiency and Durability: The Rotating Liner Engine

2005-04-11
2005-01-1653
The Rotating Linear Engine (RLE) derives improved fuel efficiency and decreased maintenance costs via a unique lubrication design, which decreases piston assembly friction and the associated wear for heavy-duty natural gas and diesel engines. The piston ring friction exhibited on current engines accounts for 1% of total US energy consumption. The RLE is expected to reduce this friction by 50-70%, an expectation supported by hot motoring and tear-down tests on the UT single cylinder RLE prototype. Current engines have stationary liners where the oil film thins near the ends of the stroke, resulting in metal-to-metal contact. This metal-to-metal contact is the major source of both engine friction and wear, especially at high load. The RLE maintains an oil film between the piston rings and liner throughout the piston stroke due to liner rotation. This assumption has also been confirmed by recent testing of the single cylinder RLE prototype.
Technical Paper

From Spark Plugs to Railplugs – The Characteristics of a New Ignition System

2004-10-25
2004-01-2978
Ignition of extremely lean or dilute mixtures is a very challenging problem. Therefore, it is essential for the engine development engineer to understand the fundamentals and limitations of existing ignition systems. This paper presents a new railplug ignition concept, a high-energy ignition system, which can enhance ignition of very lean mixtures by means of its high-energy deposition and high velocity jet of the plasma. This paper presents initial results of tests using an inductive ignition system, a capacitor discharge ignition system, and a railplug high-energy ignition system. Discharge characteristics, such as time-resolved voltage, current, and luminous emission were measured. Spark plug and railplug ignition are compared for their effects on combustion stability of a natural gas engine. The results show that railplugs have a very strong arc-phase that can ensure the ignition of very dilute mixtures.
Technical Paper

Further Experiments on the Effects of In-Cylinder Wall Wetting on HC Emissions from Direct Injection Gasoline Engines

1999-10-25
1999-01-3661
A recently developed in-cylinder fuel injection probe was used to deposit a small amount of liquid fuel on various surfaces within the combustion chamber of a 4-valve engine that was operating predominately on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). A fast flame ionization detector (FFID) was used to examine the engine-out emissions of unburned and partially-burned hydrocarbons (HCs). Injector shut-off was used to examine the rate of liquid fuel evaporation. The purpose of these experiments was to provide insights into the HC formation mechanism due to in-cylinder wall wetting. The variables investigated were the effects of engine operating conditions, coolant temperature, in-cylinder wetting location, and the amount of liquid wall wetting. The results of the steady state tests show that in-cylinder wall wetting is an important source of HC emissions both at idle and at a part load, cruise-type condition. The effects of wetting location present the same trend for idle and part load conditions.
Technical Paper

The Effect of In-Cylinder Wall Wetting Location on the HC Emissions from SI Engines

1999-03-01
1999-01-0502
The effect of combustion chamber wall-wetting on the emissions of unburned and partially-burned hydrocarbons (HCs) from gasoline-fueled SI engines was investigated experimentally. A spark-plug mounted directional injection probe was developed to study the fate of liquid fuel which impinges on different surfaces of the combustion chamber, and to quantify its contribution to the HC emissions from direct-injected (DI) and port-fuel injected (PFI) engines. With this probe, a controlled amount of liquid fuel was deposited on a given location within the combustion chamber at a desired crank angle while the engine was operated on pre-mixed LPG. Thus, with this technique, the HC emissions due to in-cylinder wall wetting were studied independently of all other HC sources. Results from these tests show that the location where liquid fuel impinges on the combustion chamber has a very important effect on the resulting HC emissions.
Technical Paper

The Texas Project, Part 5 - Economic Analysis: CNG and LPG Conversions of Light-Duty Vehicle Fleets

1998-10-19
982447
The Texas Project was a multi-year study of aftermarket conversions of a variety of light-duty vehicles to CNG or LPG. One aspect of this project was to examine the factors that influence the economics of fleet conversions to these alternative fuels. The present analysis did not include longer-term effects (such as possible increases in exhaust system life or increases in tire wear). Additionally, assumptions were required to estimate the costs of repairs to the alternative fuel system and engine. Other factors considered include conversion cost, fuel prices, annual alternative fuel tax (as applied for the state of Texas), annual miles accumulated, and the percent miles traveled while using the alternative fuel for dual fuel conversions.
Technical Paper

The Texas Project, Part 4 - Final Results: Emissions and Fuel Economy of CNG and LPG Conversions of Light-Duty Vehicles

1998-10-19
982446
The Texas Project was a multi-year study of aftermarket conversions of a variety of light-duty vehicles to CNG or LPG. Emissions and fuel economy when using these fuels are compared to the results for the same vehicles operating on certification gasoline and Federal Phase 1 RFG. Since 1993, 1,040 tests were conducted on 10 models, totally 86 light-duty vehicles. The potential for each vehicle model/kit combination to attain LEV certification was assessed. Also, comparisons of emissions and fuel economy between converted vehicles when operating on gasoline and nominally identical un-converted gasoline control vehicles were analyzed. Additional evaluations were performed for a subfleet that was subjected to exhaust speciations for operation over the Federal Test Procedure cycle and also for off-cycle tests.
Technical Paper

The Effects of Fuel Composition, System Design, and Operating Conditions on In-System Vaporization and Hot Start of a Liquid-Phase LPG Injection System

1998-05-04
981388
A liquid-phase port injection system for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) generally consists of a fuel storage tank with extended capability of operating up to 600 psi, a fuel pump, and suitable fuel lines to and from the LPG fuel injectors mounted in the fuel rail manifold. Port injection of LPG in the liquid phase is attractive due to engine emissions and performance benefits. However, maintaining the LPG in the liquid phase at under-hood conditions and re-starting after hot soak can be difficult. Multiphase behavior within a liquid-phase LPG injection system was investigated computationally and experimentally. A commercial chemical equilibrium code (ASPEN PLUS™) was used to model various LPG compositions under operating conditions.
Technical Paper

The Texas Project: Part 3 - Off-Cycle Emissions of Light-Duty Vehicles Operating on CNG, LPG, Federal Phase 1 Reformulated Gasoline, and/or Low Sulfur Certification Gasoline

1996-10-01
962100
Off-cycle emissions from seven different types of 1994 light-duty vehicles were examined The test fleet consisted of 19 individual vehicles including a passenger car, two makes of light light-duty trucks, and five types of heavy light-duty trucks The driving cycles used for these tests were the US06(hard acceleration, high speed) cycle and the 20 °F FTP (the “Cold FTP”) Conventional FTPs were done for comparison Each vehicle was usually operated on at least two of the following CNG, LPG, Federal Phase 1 reformulated gasoline (FP1 RFG), and a low sulfur certification gasoline For both the conventional FTP and the US06 cycles, the alternative fuels produce statistically significant benefits in Ozone Forming Potential and exhaust toxics but the NOx emissions are not statistically different from those when operating on FP1 RFG with at least 90% confidence During Cold FTP tests, the emissions of CO and of toxics when operating on FP1 RFG are not statistically different from those when operating on a low sulfur certification gasoline In contrast the alternative fuels produce statistically significant benefits in the emissions of both CO and toxics compared to either of the gasolines during Cold FTP tests The Reactivity Adjustment Factor calculated from the present conventional FTP results for CNG agrees closely with the CARB value However, the present RAF for LPG is about half CARB s value, which is believed to be a consequence of the low propene in Texas LPG compared to the high propene in California LPG The effects of the test type on the emissions are also discussed
Technical Paper

The Texas Project: Part 1 - Emissions and Fuel Economy of Aftermarket CNG and LPG Conversions of Light-Duty Vehicles

1996-10-01
962098
The Texas Project is a multi-year study of the emissions and fuel economy of aftermarket conversions of light-duty vehicles, including passenger cars, light light-duty trucks, and heavy light-duty trucks. The test fleet, consisting of 86 mostly 1994 model year vehicles, includes eight different types of light-duty vehicles that have been converted to dual fueled operation for either CNG or LPG and corresponding gasoline controls. Virtually every type of aftermarket conversion technology (referred to as a “kit” for convenience) is represented in the test matrix: eight different CNG kits and seven different LPG kits, all of which have closed loop control systems. One goal of The Texas Project is to evaluate the different kits for each of the applications. One method used for evaluating the different kits was by assessing their potential for attaining LEV certification for each of the vehicle applications.
Technical Paper

The Texas Project: Part 2 - Control System Characteristics of Aftermarket CNG and LNG Conversions for Light-Duty Vehicles

1996-10-01
962099
The Texas Project involves the conversion of light-duty vehicles, up to and heavy light-duty trucks, to bi-fueled vehicles using commercially available aftermarket CNG and LPG conversion systems. The test fleet includes 68 dual fueled conversions. Virtually every type of aftermarket conversion technology for CNG and LPG was evaluated: eight different CNG and seven different LPG conversion “kits”, all of which are modern systems incorporating closed-loop control. The kits were installed and calibrated according to the manufacturer's guidelines and recommendations. The emissions when operating on the alternative fuel were compared to those when operating on certification gasoline to determine the “success” of the conversion. Many of these conversions, performed according to the manufacturer's requirements, were not “successful” (worse emissions than for gasoline operation). In almost all cases, the problem was NOx emissions that were too high when operating on the alternative fuel.
Technical Paper

CNG Compositions in Texas and the Effects of Composition on Emissions, Fuel Economy, and Driveability of NGVs

1996-10-01
962097
A survey of the CNG compositions within NGV driving range of Houston was performed. It was found that the statistics for the Texas CNGs were very similar to those from a previous national survey Based upon the present survey results, two extremes of CNG composition were chosen for a study of the effects of composition on emissions, fuel economy, and driveability. Two other CNG compositions were also included to provide for comparisons with the recently completed Auto/Oil Air Quality Improvement Research Program (AQIRP) and to extend the AQIRP database. One of the vehicles used in the AQIRP study was also used in the present investigation. Correlations were investigated for the relationships between the CNG composition and tailpipe emissions, fuel economy, and driveability.
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