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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

Application of Two Fuel Cells in Hybrid Electric Vehicles

Fuel economy is an important issue in urban driving cycle where vehicles are required to operate most of the time at lower power than the average demand. High power fuel cells operate economically at higher loads. Hence, conventional combination of a high power fuel cell and an additional storage device such as ultracapacitor or battery units does not necessarily provide an economic configuration. This paper offers a new configuration that consists of two fuel cells combined with a battery unit to provide a fuel efficient source of power for hybrid electric fuel cell vehicles in urban driving applications. The control algorithm and power management strategy for a combination of two downsized fuel cells and a storage device is provided and its performance of operation is compared with traditional topologies.
Technical Paper

Numerical Simulation of a Two-Stroke Linear Engine-Alternator Combination

Series hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) require power-plants that can generate electrical energy without specifically requiring rotary input shaft motion. A small-bore working prototype of a two-stroke spark ignited linear engine-alternator combination has been designed, constructed and tested and has been found to produce as much as 316W of electrical energy. This engine consists of two opposed pistons (of 36 mm diameter) linked by a connecting rod with a permanent magnet alternator arranged on the reciprocating shaft. This paper presents the numerical modeling of the operation of the linear engine. The piston motion of the linear engine is not mechanically defined: it rather results from the balance of the in-cylinder pressures, inertia, friction, and the load applied to the shaft by the alternator, along with history effects from the previous cycle. The engine computational model combines dynamic and thermodynamic analyses.
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

Resonance of a Spring Opposed Free Piston Engine Device

Recent free piston engine research reported in the literature has included development efforts for single and dual cylinder devices through both simulation and prototype operation. A single cylinder, spring opposed, oscillating linear engine and alternator (OLEA) is a suitable architecture for application as a steady state generator. Such a device could be tuned and optimized for peak efficiency and nominal power at unthrottled operation. One of the significant challenges facing researchers is startup of the engine. It could be achieved by operating the alternator in a motoring mode according to the natural system resonant frequency, effectively bouncing the translator between the spring and cylinder, increasing stroke until sufficient compression is reached to allow introduction of fuel and initiation of combustion. To study the natural resonance of the OLEA, a numeric model has been built to simulate multiple cycles of operation.
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 incorporating flexural springs as the main suspension component has been 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 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 dynamic (CFD) solver was used to determine the effects of drag force on the moving surfaces of flexures at high frequencies.
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.