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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

Development and Application of Advanced Control Techniques to Heavy-Duty Natural Gas Engines

Advancements in natural gas engine control technology can result in natural gas engines which are more efficient, powerful, responsive, and durable than those currently available. The vast majority of hardware required to make these advancements exists or can be modified for application on natural gas engines. Given this, an investigation to develop and incorporate advanced natural gas engine control technology was completed. Advanced control techniques for equivalence ratio control, knock detection and control, misfire detection and control, and turbocharger transient surge supression are detailed in this paper. Control strategies were developed and applied to a heavy-duty on-highway natural gas engine using a personal computer-based prototyping control system. The engine control system advancements resulted in a natural gas engine with increased efficiency, power density, and response, along with reduced emissions over the current state-of-the-art in natural gas engines.
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

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

An Intake Charge Cooling System for Application to Diesel, Gasoline and Natural Gas Engines

Low intake manifold temperature, well below ambient, has many applications in internal combustion engines. In diesel engines, it can reduce NOx to a level of 2.0 g/hp-hr or below, going beyond the 1994 heavy duty diesel engine emissions standards. In gasoline engines, it can allow high compression ratio, turbocharged operation without end gas knock. This will permit ready conversion of some heavy duty diesel engines to gasoline operation at increased power density and lower emissions. In natural gas engines, it will allow base diesel engine to be converted to stoichiometric natural gas operation without increasing thermal loads. A three way catalyst can then be used to reduce emissions.
Technical Paper

The Stratified Charge Glowplug Ignition (SCGI) Engine with Natural Gas Fuel

The objective was to demonstrate the feasibility of operating a natural gas two-stroke engine using glow plug ignition with very lean mixtures. Based on the results obtained, the term SCGI (stratified charge glow plug ignition) was coined to describe the engine. An JLO two-stroke diesel engine was converted first to a natural gas fueled spark-ignited engine for the baseline tests, and then to an SCGI engine. The SCGI engine used a gas operated valve in the cylinder head to admit the natural gas fuel, and a glow plug was used as a means to initiate the combustion. The engine was successfully run, but was found to be sensitive to various conditions such as the glow plug temperature. The engine would run very lean, to an overall equivalence ratio of 0.33, offering the potential of good fuel economy and low NOx emissions.
Technical Paper

Development of a Heavy Duty On-Highway Natural Gas-Fueled Engine

A heavy-duty 320 kW diesel engine has been converted to natural gas operation. Conversion technology was selected to minimize costs while reaching NOx emissions goals of less than 3.2 g/kW-hr. Two engines are being converted using quiescent and high swirl combustion systems. The first engine with low swirl cylinder heads of the base diesel engine, and a combustion system developed for it was tested on a steady state cycle that has been shown to simulate the US heavy duty transient test cycle. It shows NOx emissions of 2.9 g/kW-hr and total HC emissions of 5.4 g/kW-hr. It is suspected that the HC emission is high because of high valve overlap. Experience with other similar engines suggests that non-methane HC emission is about 0.4-0.8 g/kW-hr. It is also expected that modified valve events and/or an oxidation catalyst can reduce HC emissions to much lower levels. The efficiency of the low swirl natural gas engine at this NOx level is 36 percent at rated condition.
Technical Paper

Natural Gas Converter Performance and Durability

Natural gas-fueled vehicles impose unique requirements on exhaust aftertreatment systems. Methane conversion, which is very difficult for conventional automotive catalysts, may be required, depending on future regulatory directions. Three-way converter operating windows for simultaneous conversion of HC, CO, and NOx are considerably more narrow with gas engine exhaust. While several studies have demonstrated acceptable fresh converter performance, aged performance remains a concern. This paper presents the results of a durability study of eight catalytic converters specifically developed for natural gas engines. The converters were aged for 300 hours on a natural gas-fueled 7.0L Chevrolet engine operated at net stoichiometry. Catalyst performance was evaluated using both air/fuel traverse engine tests and FTP vehicle tests. Durability cycle severity and a comparison of results for engine and vehicle tests are discussed.
Technical Paper

Transient Emissions from Two Natural Gas-Fueled Heavy-Duty Engines

The use of compressed natural gas as an alternative to conventional fuels has received a great deal of attention as a strategy for reducing air pollution from motor vehicles. In many cases, regulatory action has been taken to displace diesel fuel with natural gas in truck and bus applications. Emissions results of heavy-duty transient FTP testing of two Cummins L10-240G natural gas engines are presented. Regulated emissions of non-methane hydrocarbons, total hydrocarbons, CO, NOx, and particulate were characterized, along with emissions of formaldehyde. The effects of air/fuel ratio adjustments on these emissions were explored, as well as the effectiveness of catalytic aftertreatment in reducing exhaust emissions. Compared to typical heavy-duty diesel engine emissions, CNG-fueled engines using exhaust aftertreatment have great potential for meeting future exhaust emission standards, although in-use durability is unproven.
Technical Paper

Achieving Fast Catalyst Light-Off from a Heavy-Duty Stoichiometric Natural Gas Engine Capable of 0.02 g/bhp-hr NOX Emissions

Recently conducted work has been funded by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to explore the feasibility of achieving 0.02 g/bhp-hr NOX emissions for heavy-duty on-road engines. In addition to NOX emissions, greenhouse gas (GHG), CO2 and methane emissions regulations from heavy-duty engines are also becoming more stringent. To achieve low cold-start NOX and methane emissions, the exhaust aftertreatment must be brought up to temperature quickly while keeping proper air-fuel ratio control; however, a balance between catalyst light-off and fuel penalty must be addressed to meet future CO2 emissions regulations. This paper details the work executed to improve catalyst light-off for a natural gas engine with a close-coupled and an underfloor three-way-catalyst while meeting an FTP NOX emission target of 0.02 g/bhp-hr and minimizing any fuel penalty.
Technical Paper

The Development of the Pumpless Gas Engine Concept

The major events in the development of a “pumpless” gas engine concept are related. The immediate objective of the subject program was to develop a combustion system for natural gas fueled engines which, when compared with conventional gas engines, would be operationally simpler and easier to maintain with no appreciable penalty in specific fuel consumption. The pumpless gas principle was successfully demonstrated on a single-cylinder, 2-cycle engine. The concept was then extended, with the aid of combustion photography, to a single-cylinder, 4-cycle laboratory engine. The feasibility of the concept was further demonstrated by the conversion of a commercially available 4-cycle, 4-cyl diesel engine.
Technical Paper

Achieving 0.02 g/bhp-hr NOx Emissions from a Heavy-Duty Stoichiometric Natural Gas Engine Equipped with Three-Way Catalyst

It is projected that even when the entire on-road fleet of heavy-duty vehicles operating in California is compliant with 2010 emission standards of 0.20 g/bhp-hr, the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) requirements for ambient ozone will not be met. It is expected that further reductions in NOX emissions from the heavy-duty fleet will be required to achieve compliance with the ambient ozone requirement. To study the feasibility of further reductions, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) funded a research program to demonstrate the potential to reach 0.02 g/bhp-hr NOX emissions. This paper details the work executed to achieve this goal on the heavy-duty Federal Test Procedure (FTP) with a heavy-duty natural gas engine equipped with a three-way catalyst. A Cummins ISX-12G natural gas engine was modified and coupled with an advanced catalyst system.
Technical Paper

Late Intake Valve Closing with Throttle Control at Light Loads for a Lean-Burn Natural Gas Engine

Heavy-duty natural gas engines available today are typically derived from diesel engines. The biggest discrepancy in thermal efficiency between a natural gas engine and its diesel counterpart comes at low loads. This is particularly true for a lean-burn throttle-controlled refuse hauler. Field data shows that a refuse hauler operates at low speeds for the majority of the time, averaging between 3 to 7 miles per hour. As a result, many developers focus primarily on the improvement of thermal efficiency at light loads and low speeds. One way to improve efficiency at light loads is through the use of a late intake valve closing (IVC) technique. With the increase in electronic and hydraulic control technologies, the potential benefits of late IVC with unthrottled control are realizable in production engines.
Technical Paper

US 2010 Emissions Capable Camless Heavy-Duty On-Highway Natural Gas Engine

The goal of this project was to demonstrate a low emissions, high efficiency heavy-duty on-highway natural gas engine. The emissions targets for this project are to demonstrate US 2010 emissions standards on the 13-mode steady state test. To meet this goal, a chemically correct combustion (stoichiometric) natural gas engine with exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and a three way catalyst (TWC) was developed. In addition, a Sturman Industries, Inc. camless Hydraulic Valve Actuation (HVA) system was used to improve efficiency. A Volvo 11 liter diesel engine was converted to operate as a stoichiometric natural gas engine. Operating a natural gas engine with stoichiometric combustion allows for the effective use of a TWC, which can simultaneously oxidize hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide and reduce NOx. High conversion efficiencies are possible through proper control of air-fuel ratio.
Technical Paper

The Effect of Hydrogen Enrichment on EGR Tolerance in Spark Ignited Engines

Small (up to 1% by volume) amounts of hydrogen (H2) were added to the intake charge of a single-cylinder, stoichiometric spark ignited engine to determine the effect of H2 addition on EGR tolerance. Two types of tests were performed at 1500 rpm, two loads (3.1 bar and 5.5 bar IMEP), two compression ratios (11:1 and 14:1) and with two fuels (gasoline and natural gas). The first test involved holding EGR level constant and increasing the H2 concentration. The EGR level of the engine was increased until the CoV of IMEP was > 5% and then small amounts of hydrogen were added until the total was 1% by volume. The effect of increasing the amount of H2 on engine stability was measured along with combustion parameters and engine emissions. The results showed that only a very small amount of H2 was necessary to stabilize the engine. At amounts past that level, increasing the level of H2 had no or only a very small effect.
Technical Paper

Comparison of Exhaust Emissions, Including Toxic Air Contaminants, from School Buses in Compressed Natural Gas, Low Emitting Diesel, and Conventional Diesel Engine Configurations

In the United States, most school buses are powered by diesel engines. Some have advocated replacing diesel school buses with natural gas school buses, but little research has been conducted to understand the emissions from school bus engines. This work provides a detailed characterization of exhaust emissions from school buses using a diesel engine meeting 1998 emission standards, a low emitting diesel engine with an advanced engine calibration and a catalyzed particulate filter, and a natural gas engine without catalyst. All three bus configurations were tested over the same cycle, test weight, and road load settings. Twenty-one of the 41 “toxic air contaminants” (TACs) listed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) as being present in diesel exhaust were not found in the exhaust of any of the three bus configurations, even though special sampling provisions were utilized to detect low levels of TACs.
Technical Paper

Effect of Reduced Boost Air Temperature on Knock Limited Brake Mean Effective Pressure (BMEP)

The effect of low temperature intake air on the knock limited brake mean effective pressure (BMEP) in a spark ignited natural gas engine is described in this paper. This work was conducted to demonstrate the feasibility of using the vaporization of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to reduce the intake air temperature of engines operating on LNG fuel. The effect on steady-state emissions and transient response are also reported. Three different intake air temperatures were tested and evaluated as to their impact upon engine performance and gaseous emissions output. The results of these tests are as follows. The reduced intake air temperature allowed for a 30.7% (501 kPa) increase in the knock-limited BMEP (comparing the 10°C (50°F) intake air results with the 54.4°C (130°F) results). Exhaust emissions were recorded at constant BMEP for varying intake air temperatures.
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

Low Emissions Class 8 Heavy-Duty On-Highway Natural Gas and Gasoline Engine

The goal of this project was to demonstrate that a Mack E7G engine operating stoichiometric with Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) and a three-way catalyst can meet the 2010 emission standards for heavy-duty on-highway engines. Results using natural gas and gasoline as the fuel are presented. The Mack E7G is currently a lean burn natural gas fueled engine, which was originally derived from the diesel engine. The calibration of the lean burn engine was modified to operate as a stoichiometric engine. An EGR system and a three-way catalyst were added to the engine. One of the lean burn natural gas ratings for this engine is 242 kW at 1950 rpm and 1424 N-m, at 1250 rpm. This rating was also used for the stoichiometric natural gas engine. Transient emissions and 13-mode steady-state emissions tests were conducted on the engine on natural gas. The engine meets the transient emission standards for 2010 for NOx, NMHC, and CO on natural gas.
Technical Paper


Impending emissions regulations for diesel engines, specifically exhaust particulate emissions have caused engine manufacturers to once again examine the potential of alternative fuels. Much interest has centered around compressed natural gas (CNG) due to its potential for low particulate and NOx emissions. Natural gas engine development projects have tended toward the use of current gasoline engine technology (stoichiometric mixtures, closed-loop fuel control, exhaust catalysts) or have applied the results of previous research in lean-burn gasoline engines (high-turbulence combustion chambers). These technologies may be inappropriate for foreseeable emissions targets in heavy-duty natural gas engines.