High Power Discharge Combustion Effects on Fuel Consumption, Emissions, and Catalyst Heating
A key element to achieving vehicle emission certification for most light-duty vehicles using spark-ignition engine technology is prompt catalyst warming. Emission mitigation largely does not occur while the catalyst is below its “light-off temperature”, which takes a certain time to achieve when the engine starts from a cold condition. If the catalyst takes too long to light-off, the vehicle could fail its emission certification; it is necessary to minimize the catalyst warm up period to mitigate emissions as quickly as possible. One technique used to minimize catalyst warm up is to calibrate the engine in such a way that it delivers high temperature exhaust. At idle or low speed/low-load conditions, this can be done by retarding spark timing with a corresponding increase in fuel flow rate and / or leaning the mixture. Both approaches, however, encounter limits as combustion stability degrades and / or nitrogen oxide emissions rise excessively.