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Technical Paper

Impact of Operating Parameters on Ignition System Energy Consumption

The use of cooled EGR in gasoline engines improves the fuel efficiency of the engine through a variety of mechanisms, including improving the charge properties (e.g. the ratio of specific heats), reducing knock and enabling higher compression ratio operation and, at part loads conditions in particular, reducing pumping work. One of the limiting factors on the level of improvement from cooled EGR is the ability of the ignition system to ignite a dilute mixture and maintain engine stability. Previous work from SwRI has shown that, by increasing the ignition duration and using a continuous discharge ignition system, an improved ignition system can substantially increase the EGR tolerance of an engine [1, 2]. This improvement comes at a cost, however, of increased ignition system energy requirements and a potential decrease in spark plug durability. This work examines the impact of engine operating parameters on the ignition energy requirements under high dilution operation.
Technical Paper

Water-Gas-Shift Catalyst Development and Optimization for a D-EGR® Engine

Dedicated Exhaust Gas Recirculation (D-EGR®) technology provides a novel means for fuel efficiency improvement through efficient, on-board generation of H2 and CO reformate [1, 2]. In the simplest form of the D-EGR configuration, reformate is produced in-cylinder through rich combustion of the gasoline-air charge mixture. It is also possible to produce more H2 by means of a Water Gas Shift (WGS) catalyst, thereby resulting in further combustion improvements and overall fuel consumption reduction. In industrial applications, the WGS reaction has been used successfully for many years. Previous engine applications of this technology, however, have only proven successful to a limited degree. The motivation for this work was to develop and optimize a WGS catalyst which can be employed to a D-EGR configuration of an internal combustion engine. This study consists of two parts.
Technical Paper

Alternative Fuel Testing on a Port Fuel Injected LPL EGR and D-EGR® Engine

A turbocharged 2.0 L PFI engine was modified to operate in a low-pressure loop and Dedicated EGR (D-EGR®) engine configuration. Both engine architectures were operated with a low and high octane gasoline as well as three ethanol blends. The core of this study focused on examining combustion differences at part and high loads between the selected fuels and also the different engine configurations. Specifically, the impact of the fuels on combustion stability, burn rates, knock mitigation, required ignition energy, and efficiency were evaluated. The results showed that the knock resistance generally followed the octane rating of the fuel. At part loads, the burn rates, combustion stability, and EGR tolerance was marginally improved with the high ethanol blends. When combustion was not knock or stability limited, the efficiency differences between the fuels were negligible. The D-EGR engine was much less sensitive to fuel changes in terms of burn rates than the LPL EGR setup.
Technical Paper

The Impact of Engine Operating Conditions on Reformate Production in a D-EGR Engine

Dedicated EGR has shown promise for achieving high efficiency with low emissions [1]. For the present study, a 4-cylinder turbocharged GDI engine which was modified to a D-EGR configuration was used to investigate the impact of valve phasing and different injection strategies on the reformate production in the dedicated cylinder. Various levels of positive valve overlap were used in conjunction with different approaches for dedicated cylinder over fueling using PFI and DI fuel systems. Three speed-load combinations were studied, 2000 rpm 4 bar IMEPg, 2000 rpm 12 bar IMEPg, and 4000 rpm 12 bar IMEPg. The primary investigation was conducted to map out the dedicated cylinders' performance at the operating limits of intake and exhaust cam phasing. In this case, the limits were defined as conditions that yielded either no reformate benefit or led to instability in the dedicated cylinder.
Journal Article

Effects of EGR Dilution and Fuels on Spark Plug Temperatures in Gasoline Engines

The addition of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) has demonstrated the potential to significantly improve engine efficiency by allowing high CR operation due to a reduction in knock tendency, heat transfer, and pumping losses. In addition, EGR also reduces the engine-out emission of nitrogen oxides, particulates, and carbon monoxide while further improving efficiency at stoichiometric air/fuel ratios. However, improvements in efficiency through enhanced combustion phasing at high compression ratios can result in a significant increase in cylinder pressure. As cylinder pressure and temperature are both important parameters for estimating the durability requirements of the engine - in effect specifying the material and engineering required for the head and block - the impact of EGR on surface temperatures, when combined with the cylinder pressure data, will provide an important understanding of the design requirements for future cylinder heads.
Journal Article

A High Efficiency, Dilute Gasoline Engine for the Heavy-Duty Market

A 13 L HD diesel engine was converted to run as a flame propagation engine using the HEDGE™ Dual-Fuel concept. This concept consists of pre-mixed gasoline ignited by a small amount of diesel fuel - i.e., a diesel micropilot. Due to the large bore size and relatively high compression ratio for a pre-mixed combustion engine, high levels of cooled EGR were used to suppress knock and reduce the engine-out emissions of the oxides of nitrogen and particulates. Previous work had indicated that the boosting of high dilution engines challenges most modern turbocharging systems, so phase I of the project consisted of extensive simulation efforts to identify an EGR configuration that would allow for high levels of EGR flow along the lug curve while minimizing pumping losses and combustion instabilities from excessive backpressure. A potential solution that provided adequate BTE potential was consisted of dual loop EGR systems to simultaneously flow high pressure and low pressure loop EGR.
Journal Article

Methanol Fuel Testing on Port Fuel Injected Internal-Only EGR, HPL-EGR and D-EGR® Engine Configurations

The primary focus of this investigation was to determine the hydrogen reformation, efficiency and knock mitigation benefits of methanol-fueled Dedicated EGR (D-EGR®) operation, when compared to other EGR types. A 2.0 L turbocharged port fuel injected engine was operated with internal EGR, high-pressure loop (HPL) EGR and D-EGR configurations. The internal, HPL-EGR, and D-EGR configurations were operated on neat methanol to demonstrate the relative benefit of D-EGR over other EGR types. The D-EGR configuration was also tested on high octane gasoline to highlight the differences to methanol. An additional sub-task of the work was to investigate the combustion response of these configurations. Methanol did not increase its H2 yield for a given D-EGR cylinder equivalence ratio, even though the H:C ratio of methanol is over twice typical gasoline.
Journal Article

Design and Implementation of a D-EGR® Mixer for Improved Dilution and Reformate Distribution

The Dedicated EGR (D-EGR®) engine has shown improved efficiency and emissions while minimizing the challenges of traditional cooled EGR. The concept combines the benefits of cooled EGR with additional improvements resulting from in-cylinder fuel reformation. The fuel reformation takes place in the dedicated cylinder, which is also responsible for producing the diluents for the engine (EGR). The D-EGR system does present its own set of challenges. Because only one out of four cylinders is providing all of the dilution and reformate for the engine, there are three “missing” EGR pulses and problems with EGR distribution to all 4 cylinders exist. In testing, distribution problems were realized which led to poor engine operation. To address these spatial and temporal mixing challenges, a distribution mixer was developed and tested which improved cylinder-to-cylinder and cycle-to-cycle variation of EGR rate through improved EGR distribution.
Journal Article

Impact of EGR Quality on the Total Inert Dilution Ratio

A series of tests were performed on a gasoline powered engine with a Dedicated EGR® (D-EGR®) system. The results showed that changes in engine performance, including improvements in burn rates and stability and changes in emissions levels could not be adequately accounted for solely due to the presence of reformate in the EGR stream. In an effort to adequately characterize the engine's behavior, a new parameter was developed, the Total Inert Dilution Ratio (TIDR), which accounts for the changes in the EGR quality as inert gases are replaced by reactive species such as CO and H2.
Journal Article

The Impact of Cooled EGR on Peak Cylinder Pressure in a Turbocharged, Spark Ignited Engine

The use of cooled EGR as a knock suppression tool is gaining more acceptance worldwide. As cooled EGR become more prevalent, some challenges are presented for engine designers. In this study, the impact of cooled EGR on peak cylinder pressure was evaluated. A 1.6 L, 4-cylinder engine was operated with and without cooled EGR at several operating conditions. The impact of adding cooled EGR to the engine on peak cylinder pressure was then evaluated with an attempt to separate the effect due to advanced combustion phasing from the effect of increased manifold pressure. The results show that cooled EGR's impact on peak cylinder pressure is primarily due to the knock suppression effect, with the result that an EGR rate of 25% leads to an almost 50% increase in peak cylinder pressure at a mid-load condition if the combustion phasing is advanced to Knock Limited Spark Advance (KLSA). When combustion phasing was held constant, increasing the EGR rate had almost no effect on PCP.
Journal Article

LPL EGR and D-EGR® Engine Concept Comparison Part 1: Part Load Operation

The ongoing pursuit of improved engine efficiency and emissions are driving gasoline low-pressure loop EGR systems into production around the globe. To minimize inevitable downsides of cooled EGR while maintaining its advantages, the Dedicated EGR (D-EGR®) engine was developed. The core of the D-EGR engine development focused on a unique concept that combines the efficiency improvements associated with recirculated exhaust gas and the efficiency improvements associated with fuel reformation. To outline the differences of the new engine concept with a conventional low-pressure loop (LPL) EGR setup, a turbocharged 2.0 L PFI engine was modified to operate in both modes and also compared to the baseline. The first part of the cooled EGR engine concept comparison investigates efficiency, emissions, combustion stability, and robustness at throttled part load conditions.
Journal Article

LPL EGR and D-EGR® Engine Concept Comparison Part 2: High Load Operation

The ongoing pursuit of improved engine efficiency and emissions is driving gasoline low-pressure loop EGR systems into production around the globe. The Dedicated EGR (D-EGR®) engine was developed to minimize some of the challenges of cooled EGR while maintaining its advantages. The D-EGR engine is a high efficiency, low emissions internal combustion engine for automotive and off-highway applications. The core of the engine development focused on a unique concept that combines the efficiency improvements associated with recirculated exhaust gas and the efficiency improvements associated with fuel reformation. To outline the differences of the new engine concept with a conventional LPL EGR setup, a turbocharged 2.0 L PFI engine was modified to operate in both modes. The second part of the cooled EGR engine concept comparison investigates efficiency, knock resistance, combustion stability, and maximum load potential at high load conditions.
Journal Article

Potential and Challenges for a Water-Gas-Shift Catalyst as a Combustion Promoter on a D-EGR® Engine

In light of the increasingly stringent efficiency and emissions requirements, several new engine technologies are currently under investigation. One of these new concepts is the Dedicated EGR (D-EGR®) engine. The concept utilizes fuel reforming and high levels of recirculated exhaust gas (EGR) to achieve very high levels of thermal efficiency. While the positive impact of reformate, in particular hydrogen, on gasoline engine performance has been widely documented, the on-board reforming process and / or storage of H2 remains challenging. The Water-Gas-Shift (WGS) reaction is well known and has been used successfully for many years in the industry to produce hydrogen from the reactants water vapor and carbon monoxide. For this study, prototype WGS catalysts were installed in the exhaust tract of the dedicated cylinder of a turbocharged 2.0 L in-line four cylinder MPI engine. The potential of increased H2 production in a D-EGR engine was evaluated through the use of these catalysts.
Journal Article

A Demonstration of Dedicated EGR on a 2.0 L GDI Engine

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) converted a 2012 Buick Regal GS to use an engine with Dedicated EGR™ (D-EGR™). D-EGR is an engine concept that uses fuel reforming and high levels of recirculated exhaust gas (EGR) to achieve very high levels of thermal efficiency [1]. To accomplish reformation of the gasoline in a cost-effective, energy efficient manner, a dedicated cylinder is used for both the production of EGR and reformate. By operating the engine in this manner, many of the sources of losses from traditional reforming technology are eliminated and the engine can take full advantage of the benefits of reformate. The engine in the vehicle was modified to add the following components: the dedicated EGR loop, an additional injector for delivering extra fuel for reformation, a modified boost system that included a supercharger, high energy dual coil offset (DCO) ignition and other actuators used to enable the control of D-EGR combustion.
Journal Article

Dedicated EGR Vehicle Demonstration

Dedicated EGR (D-EGR) is an EGR strategy that uses in-cylinder reformation to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions. The entire exhaust of a sub-group of power cylinders (dedicated cylinders) is routed directly into the intake. These cylinders are run fuel-rich, producing H2 and CO (reformate), with the potential to improve combustion stability, knock tolerance and burn duration. A 2.0 L turbocharged D-EGR engine was packaged into a 2012 Buick Regal and evaluated on drive cycle performance. City and highway fuel consumption were reduced by 13% and 9%, respectively. NOx + NMOG were 31 mg/mile, well below the Tier 2 Bin 5 limit and just outside the Tier 3 Bin 30 limit (30 mg/mile).
Technical Paper

Fuel Reforming and Catalyst Deactivation Investigated in Real Exhaust Environment

Increased in-cylinder hydrogen levels have been shown to improve burn durations, combustion stability, HC emissions and knock resistance which can directly translate into enhanced engine efficiency. External fuel reformation can also be used to increase the hydrogen yield. During the High-Efficiency, Dilute Gasoline Engine (HEDGE) consortium at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), the potential of increased hydrogen production in a dedicated-exhaust gas recirculation (D-EGR) engine was evaluated exploiting the water gas shift (WGS) and steam reformation (SR) reactions. It was found that neither approach could produce sustained hydrogen enrichment in a real exhaust environment, even while utilizing a lean-rich switching regeneration strategy. Platinum group metal (PGM) and Ni WGS catalysts were tested with a focus on hydrogen production and catalyst durability.