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Technical Paper

Reducing the Cycle-Cycle Variability of a Natural Gas Engine Using Controlled Ignition Current

Running an internal combustion engine with diluted methane/air mixtures has a potential of reducing emissions and increasing efficiency. However, diluted mixtures need high ignition energy in a sufficiently large volume, which is difficult to accomplish. Increasing the spark duration has shown to be a promising way of delivering more energy into the diluted charge, but this requires a more sophisticated ignition system. This work focuses on evaluating the effects regarding enhancing early flame development, reducing cyclic variations and extending the lean limit using a new capacitive ignition system as compared to a conventional inductive ignition system. The new system offers the opportunity to customise the spark by altering the electric pulse train characteristics choosing the number of pulses, the length of the individual pulses as well as the time delay between them.
Technical Paper

Effect of Relative Mixture Strength on Performance of Divided Chamber ‘Avalanche Activated Combustion’ Ignition Technique in a Heavy Duty Natural Gas Engine

This article deals with application of a pre-chamber type ignition device in a heavy duty engine operated with natural gas. A particular pre-chamber ignition strategy called Avalanche Activated Combustion (originally ‘Lavinia Aktyvatsia Gorenia’ in Russian), commonly referred to as LAG-ignition process, has been studied by performing a parametric study of various pre- and main chamber mixture strength combinations. This strategy was first proposed in 1966 and has been mostly applied in light duty automotive engines. A majority of published data are results from developmental studies but the fundamental mechanism of the LAG-ignition process is unclear to date. To the best of authors' knowledge, the study presented in this article is the first generalized study to gain deeper understanding of the LAG-ignition process in heavy duty engines operating with natural gas as fuel for both chambers.
Technical Paper

A Study on In-Cycle Control of NOx Using Injection Strategy with a Fast Cylinder Pressure Based Emission Model as Feedback

The emission control in heavy-duty vehicles today is based on predefined injection strategies and after-treatment systems such as SCR (selective catalytic reduction) and DPF (diesel particulate filter). State-of-the-art engine control is presently based on cycle-to-cycle resolution. The introduction of the crank angle resolved pressure measurement, from a piezo-based pressure sensor, enables the possibility to control the fuel injection based on combustion feedback while the combustion is occurring. In this paper a study is presented on the possibility to control NOx (nitrogen oxides) formation with a crank angle resolved NOx estimator as feedback. The estimator and the injection control are implemented on an FPGA (Field-Programmable Gate Array) to manage the inherent time constraints. The FPGA is integrated with the rest of the engine control system for injection control and measurement.
Technical Paper

Experimental Evaluation of a Novel High Frequency Ignition System Using a Flow-Reactor Set-up

Using diluted methane/air mixtures in internal combustion engines has a potential of reducing emissions and increasing efficiency. However, the ignition systems used today show difficulties igniting lean mixtures. For this purpose a new high frequency (HF) ignition system using pulse generators and a resonance circuit to achieve a controlled number of sparks during a controlled period of time has been developed. A first prototype of this high frequency system has been tested in a flow-reactor and compared to a conventional ignition system. Results show that the high frequency system improves the flame development under lean conditions compared to the conventional system. Higher frequencies have higher capability of igniting lean mixtures than lower frequencies. Lower spark frequencies were found to travel faster across the electrodes than high frequencies and also compared to the conventional system.
Technical Paper

Influence of Inlet Pressure, EGR, Combustion Phasing, Speed and Pilot Ratio on High Load Gasoline Partially Premixed Combustion

The current research focuses in understanding how inlet pressure, EGR, combustion phasing, engine speed and pilot main ratio are affecting the main parameters of the combustion (e.g. efficiency, NOx, soot, maximum pressure rise rate) in the novel concept of injecting high octane number fuels in partially premixed combustion. The influence of the above mentioned parameters was studied by performing detailed sweeps at 32 bar fuel MEP (c.a. 16-18 bar gross IMEP); three different kinds of gasoline were tested (RON: 99, 89 and 69). The experiments were ran in a single cylinder heavy duty engine; Scania D12. At the end of these sweeps the optimized settings were computed in order to understand how to achieve high efficiency, low emissions and acceptable maximum pressure rise rate.
Technical Paper

Effects of Ethanol and Different Type of Gasoline Fuels on Partially Premixed Combustion from Low to High Load

The behavior of Ethanol and seven fuels in the boiling point range of gasoline but with an Octane Number spanning from 69 to 99 was investigated in Partially Premixed Combustion. A load sweep was performed from 5 to 18 bar gross IMEP at 1300 rpm. The engine used in the experiments was a single cylinder Scania D12. To allow high load operations and achieve sufficient mixing, the compression ratio was decreased from the standard 18:1 to 14.3:1. It was shown that by using only 50% of EGR it is possible to achieve NOx below 0.30 g/kWh even at high loads. At 18 bar IMEP soot was in the range of 1-2 FSN for the gasoline fuels while it was below 0.06 FSN with Ethanol. The use of high boost combined with relatively short combustion duration allowed reaching gross indicated efficiencies in the range of 54 - 56%. At high load the partial stratified mixture allowed to keep the maximum pressure rise rate below 15 bar/CAD with most of the fuels.
Technical Paper

Investigation and Comparison of Multi Cylinder Partially Premixed Combustion Characteristics for Diesel and Gasoline Fuels

Partially Premixed Combustion is a concept able to combine low smoke and NOx emissions with high combustion controllability and efficiency. It is of interest to be able to utilize PPC in a large operating region in order to meet the Euro VI emission legislation without relying on NOx aftertreatment. This paper investigates the differences in PPC characteristics for three fuels; Diesel Swedish Mk 1, Low Octane Gasoline (70 Octane) and US Standard Gasoline (87 Octane). Engine operating conditions, combustion characteristics, emissions and efficiency are in focus. The experiments were carried out at a range of operating points on a Volvo MD13 which is a six-cylinder heavy-duty engine. At each operating point three combinations of EGR level and λ-value were evaluated. 1. High EGR/High λ, 2. High EGR/Reduced λ, and 3. Reduced EGR/High λ.
Technical Paper

Reducing Throttle Losses Using Variable Geometry Turbine (VGT) in a Heavy-Duty Spark-Ignited Natural Gas Engine

Stoichiometric operation of Spark Ignited (SI) Heavy Duty Natural Gas (HDNG) engines with a three way catalyst results in very low emissions however they suffer from bad gas-exchange efficiency due to use of throttle which results in high throttling losses. Variable Geometry Turbine (VGT) is a good practice to reduce throttling losses in a certain operating region of the engine. VTG technology is extensively used in diesel engines; it is very much ignored in gasoline engines however it is possible and advantageous to be used on HDNG engine due to their relatively low exhaust gas temperature. Exhaust gas temperatures in HDNG engines are low enough (lower than 760 degree Celsius) and tolerable for VGT material. Traditionally HDNG are equipped with a turbocharger with waste-gate but it is easy and simple to replace the by-pass turbocharger with a well-matched VGT.
Journal Article

Investigation of Performance and Emission Characteristics of a Heavy Duty Natural Gas Engine Operated with Pre-Chamber Spark Plug and Dilution with Excess Air and EGR

This article deals with application of turbulent jet ignition technique to heavy duty multi-cylinder natural gas engine for mobile application. Pre-chamber spark plugs are identified as a promising means of achieving turbulent jet ignition as they require minimal engine modification with respect to component packaging in cylinder head and the ignition system. Detailed experiments were performed with a 6 cylinder 9.4 liter turbo-charged engine equipped with multi-point gas injection system to compare performance and emissions characteristics of operation with pre-chamber and conventional spark plug. The results indicate that ignition capability is significantly enhanced as flame development angle and combustion duration are reduced by upto 30 % compared to those with conventional spark plugs at certain operating points.
Technical Paper

Applicability of Ionization Current Sensing Technique with Plasma Jet Ignition Using Pre-Chamber Spark Plug in a Heavy Duty Natural Gas Engine

This article deals with study of ionization current sensing technique's signal characteristics while operating with pre-chamber spark plug to achieve plasma jet ignition in a 6 cylinder 9 liter turbo-charged natural gas engine under EGR and excess air dilution. Unlike the signal with conventional spark plug which can be divided into distinct chemical and thermal ionization peaks, the signal with pre-chamber spark plug shows a much larger first peak and a negligible second peak thereafter. Many studies in past have found the time of second peak coinciding with the time of maximum cylinder pressure and this correlation has been used as an input to combustion control systems but the absence of second peak makes application of this concept difficult with pre-chamber spark plug.
Technical Paper

A Machine Learning Approach to Information Extraction from Cylinder Pressure Sensors

As the number of actuators and sensors increases in modern combustion engines, the task of optimizing engine performance becomes increasingly complex. Efficient information processing techniques are therefore important, both for off-line calibration of engine maps, and on-line adjustments based on sensor data. In-cylinder pressure sensors are slowly spreading from laboratory use to production engines, thus making data with high temporal resolution of the combustion process available. The standard way of using the cylinder pressure data for control and diagnostics is to focus on a few important physical features extracted from the pressure trace, such as the combustion phasing CA50, the indicated mean effective pressure IMEP, and the ignition delay. These features give important information on the combustion process, but much information is lost as the information from the high-resolution pressure trace is condensed into a few key parameters.
Technical Paper

Gasoline Partially Premixed Combustion in a Light Duty Engine at Low Load and Idle Operating Conditions

Partially premixed combustion (PPC) has the potential of high efficiency and simultaneous low soot and NOx emissions. Running the engine in PPC mode with high octane number fuels has the advantage of a longer premix period of fuel and air which reduces soot emissions, even at higher loads. The problem is the ignitability at low load and idle operating conditions. The objective of this study is investigation of the low load limitations with gasoline fuels with octane numbers RON 69 and 87. Measurements with diesel fuel were also taken as reference. The experimental engine is a light duty diesel engine equipped with a fully flexible valve train system. Trapped hot residual gases using negative valve overlap (NVO) is the main parameter of interest to potentially increase the attainable operating region of high octane number gasoline fuels.
Technical Paper

Multi Cylinder Partially Premixed Combustion Performance Using Commercial Light-Duty Engine Hardware

This work investigates the performance potential of an engine running with partially premixed combustion (PPC) using commercial diesel engine hardware. The engine was a 2.01 SAAB (GM) VGT turbocharged diesel engine and three different fuels were run - RON 70 gasoline, RON 95 Gasoline and MK1 diesel. With the standard hardware an operating range for PPC from idle at 1000 rpm up to a peak load of 1000 kPa IMEPnet at 3000 rpm while maintaining a peak pressure rise rate (PPRR) below 7 bar/CAD was possible with either RON 70 gasoline and MK1 diesel. Relaxing the PPRR requirements, a peak load of 1800 kPa was possible, limited by the standard boosting system. With RON 95 gasoline it was not possible to operate the engine below 400 kPa. Low pressure EGR routing was beneficial for efficiency and combined with a split injection strategy using the maximum possible injection pressure of 1450 bar a peak gross indicated efficiency of above 51% was recorded.
Journal Article

An In-Cycle based NOx Reduction Strategy using Direct Injection of AdBlue

In the last couple of decades, countries have enacted new laws concerning environmental pollution caused by heavy-duty commercial and passenger vehicles. This is done mainly in an effort to reduce smog and health impacts caused by the different pollutions. One of the legislated pollutions, among a wide range of regulated pollutions, is nitrogen oxides (commonly abbreviated as NOx). The SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) was introduced in the automotive industry to reduce NOx emissions leaving the vehicle. The basic idea is to inject a urea solution (AdBlue™) in the exhaust gas before the gas enters the catalyst. The optimal working temperature for the catalyst is somewhere in the range of 300 to 400 °C. For the reactions to occur without a catalyst, the gas temperature has to be at least 800 °C. These temperatures only occur in the engine cylinder itself, during and after the combustion.
Journal Article

Ethanol-Diesel Fumigation in a Multi-Cylinder Engine

Fumigation was studied in a 12 L six-cylinder heavy-duty engine. Port-injected ethanol was ignited with a small amount of diesel injected into the cylinder. The setup left much freedom for influencing the combustion process, and the aim of this study was to find operation modes that result in a combustion resembling that of a homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) engine with high efficiency and low NOx emissions. Igniting the ethanol-air mixture using direct-injected diesel has attractive properties compared to traditional HCCI operation where the ethanol is ignited by pressure alone. No preheating of the mixture is required, and the amount of diesel injected can be used to control the heat release rate. The two fuel injection systems provide a larger flexibility in extending the HCCI operating range to low and high loads. It was shown that cylinder-to-cylinder variations present a challenge for this type of combustion.
Technical Paper

Influence of the Wall Temperature and Combustion Chamber Geometry on the Performance and Emissions of a Mini HCCI Engine Fueled with Diethyl Ether

Nowadays for small-scale power generation there are electrochemical batteries and mini engines. Many efforts have been done for improving the power density of the batteries but unfortunately the value of 1 MJ/kg seems to be asymptotic. If the energy source is an organic fuel which has an energy density of around 29 MJ/kg with a minimum overall efficiency of only 3.5%, this device would surpass the batteries. This paper is the fifth of a series of publications aimed to study the HCCI combustion process in the milli domain at high engine speed in order to design and develop VIMPA, Vibrating Microengine for Low Power Generation and Microsystems Actuation. Previous studies ranged from general characterization of the HCCI combustion process by using metal and optical engines, to more specific topics for instance the influence of the boundary layer and quenching distance on the quality of the combustion.
Technical Paper

Improving Ion Current Feedback for HCCI Engine Control

In HCCI you do not have the same control of the combustion like in SI and Diesel engines. Controlling the start of a combustion event is a difficult task and requires feedback from previous cycles. This feedback can be retrieved from ion current measurements. By applying a voltage over the spark gap, ions will lead a current and a signal that represents the combustion in the cylinder will be retrieved. Voltages of 450 V were used. The paper describes a new method to enhance the combustion phasing from the Ion current trace in HCCI engines. The method is using the knowledge of how the signal should look. This is known due to the fact that the shape of the ion current signal is similar from cycle to cycle. This new observation is shown in the paper. Also the correlation between the ion current and CA50 was studied. Later the signals have been used for combustion feedback.
Technical Paper

Multi-Output Control of a Heavy Duty HCCI Engine Using Variable Valve Actuation and Model Predictive Control

Autoignition of a homogeneous mixture is very sensitive to operating conditions, therefore fast control is necessary for reliable operation. There exists several means to control the combustion phasing of an Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) engine, but most of the presented controlled HCCI result has been performed with single-input single-output controllers. In order to fully operate an HCCI engine several output variables need to be controlled simultaneously, for example, load, combustion phasing, cylinder pressure and emissions. As these output variables have an effect on each other, the controller should be of a structure which includes the cross-couplings between the output variables. A Model Predictive Control (MPC) controller is proposed as a solution to the problem of load-torque control with simultaneous minimization of the fuel consumption and emissions, while satisfying the constraints on cylinder pressure.
Technical Paper

Combustion Chamber Wall Temperature Measurement and Modeling During Transient HCCI Operation

In this paper the combustion chamber wall temperature was measured by the use of thermographic phosphor. The temperature was monitored over a large time window covering a load transient. Wall temperature measurement provide helpful information in all engines. This temperature is for example needed when calculating heat losses to the walls. Most important is however the effect of the wall temperature on combustion. The walls can not heat up instantaneously and the slowly increasing wall temperature following a load transient will affect the combustion events sucseeding the transient. The HCCI combustion process is, due to its dependence on chemical kinetics more sensitive to wall temperature than Otto or Diesel engines. In depth knowledge about transient wall temperature could increase the understanding of transient HCCI control. A “black box” state space model was derived which is useful when predicting transient wall temperature.
Technical Paper

Influence of Inlet Temperature and Hot Residual Gases on the Performances of a Mini High Speed Glow Plug Engine

Nowadays the power supplying systems have a fundamental importance for all small and portable devices. For low power applications, there are two main ways for producing power: electrochemical batteries and mini engines. Even though in recent years many developments have been carried out in improving the design of batteries, the energy density of 1MJ/kg seems to be an asymptotic value. If the energy source is a hydrocarbon fuel, whose energy density is 46 MJ/kg, with an overall efficiency of only 2.5 % it is possible to surpass the electrochemical batteries. On the other hand, having a mini engine, as energy source, implies three main problems: vibrations, noise and emissions. A light (230 g) model airplane engine with a displacement volume of 4.11 cm3 and a geometrical compression ratio of 13.91 has been studied. The work carried out in this paper can be divided basically in three parts.