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Technical Paper

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

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

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

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

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

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.
Journal Article

Diesel Exhaust Aftertreatment with Scrubber Process: NOx Destruction

Oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions, produced by engines that burn fuels with atmospheric air, are known to cause negative health and environmental effects. Increasingly stringent emissions regulations for marine engines have caused newer engines to be developed with inherent NOx reduction technologies. Older marine engines typically have a useful life of over 20 years and produce a disproportionate amount of NOx emissions when compared with their newer counterparts. Wet scrubbing as an aftertreatment method for emissions reduction was applied to ocean-going marine vessels for the reduction of sulfur oxides (SOx) and particulate matter (PM) emissions. The gaseous absorption process was explored in the laboratory as an option for reducing NOx emissions from older diesel engines of harbor craft operating in ports of Houston and Galveston. A scrubber system was designed, constructed, and evaluated to provide the basis for a real-world design.
Technical Paper

Sensitivity Analysis and Control Methodology for Linear Engine Alternator

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

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

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

Quantification of Windage and Vibrational Losses in Flexure Springs of a One kW Two-Stroke Free Piston Linear Engine Alternator

Methods to quantify the energy losses within linear motion devices that included flexural springs as the main suspension component were investigated. The methods were applied to a two-stroke free-piston linear engine alternator (LEA) as a case study that incorporated flexure springs to add stiffness to the mass-spring system. Use of flexure springs is an enabling mechanism for improving the efficiency and lifespan in linear applications e.g. linear engines and generators, cryocoolers, and linear Stirling engines. The energy loss due to vibrations and windage effects of flexure springs in a free piston LEA was investigated to quantify possible energy losses. A transient finite element solver was used to determine the effects of higher modes of vibration frequencies of the flexure arms at an operational frequency of 65 Hz. Also, a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) solver was used to determine the effects of drag force on the moving surfaces of flexures at high frequencies.