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Technical Paper

Blend Ratio Optimization of Fuels Containing Gasoline Blendstock, Ethanol, and Higher Alcohols (C3-C6): Part II - Blend Properties and Target Value Sensitivity

Higher carbon number alcohols offer an opportunity to meet the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) and improve the energy content, petroleum displacement, and/or knock resistance of gasoline-alcohol blends from traditional ethanol blends such as E10 while maintaining desired and regulated fuel properties. Part II of this paper builds upon the alcohol selection, fuel implementation scenarios, criteria target values, and property prediction methodologies detailed in Part I. For each scenario, optimization schemes include maximizing energy content, knock resistance, or petroleum displacement. Optimum blend composition is very sensitive to energy content, knock resistance, vapor pressure, and oxygen content criteria target values. Iso-propanol is favored in both scenarios' suitable blends because of its high RON value.
Technical Paper

Blend Ratio Optimization of Fuels Containing Gasoline Blendstock, Ethanol, and Higher Alcohols (C3-C6): Part I - Methodology and Scenario Definition

The U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) requires an increase in the use of advanced biofuels up to 36 billion gallons by 2022. Longer chain alcohols, in addition to cellulosic ethanol and synthetic biofuels, could be used to meet this demand while adhering to the RFS2 corn-based ethanol limitation. Higher carbon number alcohols can be utilized to improve the energy content, knock resistance, and/or petroleum displacement of gasoline-alcohol blends compared to traditional ethanol blends such as E10 while maintaining desired and regulated fuel properties. Part I of this paper focuses on the development of scenarios by which to compare higher alcohol fuel blends to traditional ethanol blends. It also details the implementation of fuel property prediction methods adapted from literature. Possible combinations of eight alcohols mixed with a gasoline blendstock were calculated and the properties of the theoretical fuel blends were predicted.
Technical Paper

Development of a Micro-Engine Testing System

A test stand was developed to evaluate an 11.5 cc, two-stroke, internal combustion engine in anticipation of future combustion system modifications. Detailed engine testing and analysis often requires complex, specialized, and expensive equipment, which can be problematic for research budgets. This problem is compounded by the fact that testing “micro” engines involves low flow rates, high rotational speeds, and compact dimensions which demand high-accuracy, high-speed, and compact measurement systems. On a limited budget, the task of developing a micro-engine testing system for advanced development appears quite challenging, but with careful component selection it can be accomplished. The anticipated engine investigation includes performance testing, fuel system calibration, and combustion analysis. To complete this testing, a custom test system was developed.
Technical Paper

Carbureted SI Engine Air Flow Measurements

Measurement of internal combustion engine air flow is challenging due to the required modification of the intake system and subsequent change in the air flow pattern. In this paper, various surge tank volumes were investigated to improve the accuracy of measuring air flow rate into a 674-cm3, four-stroke, liquid-cooled, internal combustion engine. According to the experimental results, when the venturi meter is used to measure the intake air flow rate, an air surge tank is required to be installed downstream of the venturi to smoothen the air flow. Moreover, test results revealed that increasing air surge tank volume beyond a limit could have a negative effect on the engine performance parameters especially in carbureted engines where controlling AFR is difficult. Although the air flow rate into the engine changed with increasing tank volume, the air-fuel ratio was leaner for smaller tank volumes.
Technical Paper

Impact of Ignition Energy Phasing and Spark Gap on Combustion in a Homogenous Direct Injection Gasoline SI Engine Near the EGR Limit

For spark-ignition gasoline engines operating under the wide speed and load conditions required for light duty vehicles, ignition quality limits the ability to minimize fuel consumption and NOx emissions via dilution under light and part load conditions. In addition, during transients including tip-outs, high levels of dilution can occur for multiple combustion events before either the external exhaust gas can be adjusted and cleared from the intake or cam phasing can be adjusted for correct internal dilution. Further improvement and a thorough understanding of the impact of the ignition system on combustion near the dilution limit will enable reduced fuel consumption and robust transient operation. To determine and isolate the effects of multiple parameters, a variable output ignition system (VOIS) was developed and tested on a 3.5L turbocharged V6 homogeneous charge direct-injection gasoline engine with two spark plug gaps and three ignition settings.
Journal Article

Influence of Injector Location on Part-Load Performance Characteristics of Natural Gas Direct-Injection in a Spark Ignition Engine

Interest in natural gas as an alternative fuel source to petroleum fuels for light-duty vehicle applications has increased due to its domestic availability and stable price compared to gasoline. With its higher hydrogen-to-carbon ratio, natural gas has the potential to reduce engine out carbon dioxide emissions, which has shown to be a strong greenhouse gas contributor. For part-load conditions, the lower flame speeds of natural gas can lead to an increased duration in the inflammation process with traditional port-injection. Direct-injection of natural gas can increase in-cylinder turbulence and has the potential to reduce problems typically associated with port-injection of natural gas, such as lower flame speeds and poor dilution tolerance. A study was designed and executed to investigate the effects of direct-injection of natural gas at part-load conditions.
Journal Article

Meeting RFS2 Targets with an E10/E15-like Fuel - Experimental and Analytical Assessment of Higher Alcohols in Multi-component Blends with Gasoline

This paper evaluates the potential of adding higher alcohols to gasoline blendstock in an attempt to improve overall fuel performance. The alcohols considered include ethanol, normal- and iso-structures of propanol, butanol and pentanol as well as normal-hexanol (C2-C6). Fuel performance is quantified based on energy content, knock resistance as well as petroleum displacement and promising multi-component blends are systematically identified based on property prediction methods. These promising multi-component blends, as well as their respective reference fuels, are subsequently tested for efficiency and emissions performance utilizing a gasoline direct injection, spark ignition engine. The engine test results confirm that combustion and efficiency of tailored multi-component blends closely match those of the reference fuels. Regulated emissions stemming from combustion of these blends are equal or lower compared to the reference fuels across the tested engine speed and load regime.
Journal Article

Performance, Efficiency and Emissions Assessment of Natural Gas Direct Injection compared to Gasoline and Natural Gas Port-Fuel Injection in an Automotive Engine

Interest in natural gas as a fuel for light-duty transportation has increased due to its domestic availability and lower cost relative to gasoline. Natural gas, comprised mainly of methane, has a higher knock resistance than gasoline making it advantageous for high load operation. However, the lower flame speeds of natural gas can cause ignitability issues at part-load operation leading to an increase in the initial flame development process. While port-fuel injection of natural gas can lead to a loss in power density due to the displacement of intake air, injecting natural gas directly into the cylinder can reduce such losses. A study was designed and performed to evaluate the potential of natural gas for use as a light-duty fuel. Steady-state baseline tests were performed on a single-cylinder research engine equipped for port-fuel injection of gasoline and natural gas, as well as centrally mounted direct injection of natural gas.