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Technical Paper

Lean Limit and Performance Improvements for a Heavy-Duty Natural Gas Engine

Development of a heavy-duty natural gas engine to improve its lean operating characteristics is detailed in this paper. Testing to determine the lean misfire limit is described, as well as investigations into the cause of lean misfire in this engine. Details of engine modifications to improve the lean misfire limit are also included. The development process resulted in a significant improvement in the lean performance of the engine (i.e., an extended lean misfire limit, better combustion stability, and lower hydrocarbon emissions).
Technical Paper

Characteristics of a Small Engine Equipped with an Electromagnetic Valve Actuation System

An electromagnetic valve actuation (EVA) system was developed and applied to a Kohler Command Series engine. Engine development and testing was conducted for the purpose of evaluating the performance of the EVA-equipped engine, running on natural gas, in an engine-test laboratory environment. As part of this effort, a personal computer-based engine control system, which managed the fueling, ignition, throttling, and intake/exhaust valve control functions, was developed. The evaluation included an investigation into increasing engine power output and full load efficiency, as well as increased part load efficiency. Techniques including optimized valve events as a function of operating condition, and throttleless operation using early and late intake valve closing are presented. Engine simulation results are compared with actual engine data and presented in this paper.
Technical Paper

Modeling NOx Emissions from Lean-Burn Natural Gas Engines

A zero-dimensional cycle simulation model coupled with a chemical equilibrium model and a two-zone combustion model has been extended to predict nitric oxide formation and emissions from spark-ignited, lean-burn natural gas engines. It is demonstrated that using the extended Zeldovich mechanism alone, the NOx emissions from an 8.1-liter, 6-cylinder, natural gas engine were significantly under predicted. However, by combining the predicted NOx formation from both the extended Zeldovich thermal NO and the Fenimore prompt NO mechanisms, the NOx emissions were predicted with fair accuracy over a range of engine powers and lean-burn equivalence ratios. The effect of injection timing on NOx emissions was under predicted. Humidity effects on NOx formation were slightly under predicted in another engine, a 6.8-liter, 6-cylinder, natural gas engine. Engine power was well predicted in both engines, which is a prerequisite to accurate NOx predictions.
Technical Paper

Ultra Low Emissions and High Efficiency from an On-Highway Natural Gas Engine

Results from work focusing on the development of an ultra low emissions, high efficiency, natural gas-fueled heavy- duty engine are discussed in this paper. The engine under development was based on a John Deere 8.1L engine; this engine was significantly modified from its production configuration during the course of an engine optimization program funded by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Previous steady-state testing indicated that the modified engine would provide simultaneous reductions in nonmethane hydrocarbon emissions and fuel consumption while maintaining equivalent or lower NOx levels. Federal Test Procedure transient tests confirmed these expectations. Very low NOx emissions, averaging 1.0 g/bhp-hr over hot-start cycles, were attained; at these conditions, reductions in engine-out nonmethane hydro-carbons emissions (NMHC) were approximately 30 percent, and fuel consumption over the cycle was also reduced relative to the baseline.
Technical Paper

Evaluation of Six Natural Gas Combustion Systems for LNG Locomotive Applications

An experimental program to develop a practical natural gas-fueled locomotive engine was conducted. Six natural gas-fueled combustion systems for an EMD 710-type locomotive engine were developed and tested. The six systems were evaluated in terms of NOx and CO emissions, thermal efficiency, knock tolerance, and other practical considerations. Each combustion system was tested at Notch 5, 100-percent load, Notch 8, 80-percent load, and Notch 8, 100-percent load conditions. In general, all of the technologies produced significantly lower NOx emissions than the baseline diesel engine. Based on the results of the tests and other analyses, a late cycle, high-injection pressure (LaCHIP) combustion system, using a diesel pilot-ignited, late cycle injection of natural gas with a Diesel-type combustion process, was determined to provide the most practical combustion system for a natural gas-fueled, EMD 710-powered locomotive.
Technical Paper

Humidity Effects and Compensation in a Lean Burn Natural Gas Engine

The effect of humidity on the lean misfire limit and emissions from a lean burn, natural gas engine is described in this paper, along with a description of a practical humidity compensation method for incorporation into an electronic control system. Experiments to determine the effects of humidity on the lean limit and emissions are described. Humidity increases were shown to decrease the rate of combustion, reduce NOx emissions, and increase the levels of unburned hydrocarbon (HC) and carbon monoxide (CO) emissions. Data and calculations are also presented which demonstrate that increases in humidity will cause enleanment in a typical closed loop control system utilizing a universal exhaust gas oxygen (UEGO) sensor. A prototype system for humidity sensing and subsequent compensation based on these findings was implemented, and the system was found, through additional testing, to compensate for humidity very effectively.
Technical Paper

Development of a Throttleless Natural Gas Engine

Development of a natural gas-fueled engine capable of throttleless operation is discussed in this paper. This development was conducted under a program funded by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to investigate methods to increase the efficiency of natural gas engines. In-cylinder fuel-air charge stratification was pursued as the mechanism for throttleless operation. Various methods of charge stratification were investigated, including direct injection, stratified charge (DISC) and a fuel injected prechamber (FIPC). The FIPC combustion system was found to be a more practical solution to the problem of charge stratification. Performance and emissions results from this engine configuration are presented and comparisons are made between current natural gas engines and the prototype FIPC engine.
Technical Paper

Simultaneous Application of Optical Spark Plug Probe and Head Gasket Ionization Probe to a Production Engine

The optical spark plug probe and ionization head gasket probe developed at Sandia Laboratories were applied to one cylinder of a production multicylinder automotive gasoline engine. The purpose of this application is to eventually study combustion phenomena leading to high emissions under cold start and cold idle conditions. As a first step in studying cold start combustion and emissions issues, diagnostic instrumentation was simultaneously applied to a production engine under steady state idle, road load and an intermediate load-speed condition. The preliminary application of such instrumentation is the subject of the present paper. The spark plug probe was redesigned for ease of use in production engines and to provide a more robust design. The two probes were geometrically oriented to obtain radial line-up between the optical windows and ionization probes. Data were taken simultaneously with both probes at the three load-speed conditions mentioned above.
Technical Paper

Development of an Electronically-Controlled Natural Gas-Fueled John Deere PowerTech 8.1 L Engine

Development of a state of the art, electronically controlled natural gas-fueled engine is detailed in this paper. The engine is a lean burn, turbochargedaftercooled engine controlled by a full authority electronic control system. This system controls fuel metering, spark timing, boost pressure, throttle position, and governing. The control system features closed-loop/adaptive-learn fuel control with feedback provided by a universal exhaust gas oxygen sensor. The development of the engine included development of the control system and other engine components, as well as a substantial amount of steady-state and transient control system calibration work. This effort led to a final engine calibration which provides good efficiency and transient response while meeting CARB ULEV emissions levels.