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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

Reactivity and Exhaust Emissions from an EHC-Equipped LPG Conversion Vehicle Operating on Butane/Propane Fuel Blends

This paper describes experiments conducted to determine Federal Test Procedure (FTP) exhaust emissions, ozone-forming potentials, specific reactivities, and reactivity adjustment factors for several butane/propane alternative fuel blends run on a light-duty EHC-equipped gasoline vehicle converted to operate on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Duplicate emission tests were conducted on the light-duty vehicle at each test condition using appropriate EPA FTP test protocol. Hydrocarbon speciation was utilized to determine reactivity-adjusted non-methane organic gas (NMOG) emissions for one test on each fuel.
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

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

Reactivity Comparison of Exhaust Emissions from Heavy-Duty Engines Operating on Gasoline, Diesel, and Alternative Fuels

This paper describes experiments conducted to determine the ozone-forming potentials, specific reactivities, and reactivity adjustment factors for various heavy-duty engines operating on “industry average” (RF-A) gasoline, California Phase 2 gasoline, compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), and diesel fuel. Each engine/fuel combination was tested in triplicate using the EPA heavy-duty transient cold- and hot-start test protocol. Hydrocarbon speciation was conducted for all tests to allow for the determination of ozone-forming potentials, using California Air Resources Board maximum incremental reactivity factors as well as determination of the Clean Air Act “toxic” emissions.
Technical Paper

CNG Compositions in Texas and the Effects of Composition on Emissions, Fuel Economy, and Driveability of NGVs

A survey of the CNG compositions within NGV driving range of Houston was performed. It was found that the statistics for the Texas CNGs were very similar to those from a previous national survey Based upon the present survey results, two extremes of CNG composition were chosen for a study of the effects of composition on emissions, fuel economy, and driveability. Two other CNG compositions were also included to provide for comparisons with the recently completed Auto/Oil Air Quality Improvement Research Program (AQIRP) and to extend the AQIRP database. One of the vehicles used in the AQIRP study was also used in the present investigation. Correlations were investigated for the relationships between the CNG composition and tailpipe emissions, fuel economy, and driveability.
Technical Paper

Effect of CNG Start - Gasoline Run on Emissions from a 3/4 Ton Pick-Up Truck

This paper describes experiments to determine the effect on exhaust emissions of starting on compressed natural gas (CNG) and then switching to gasoline once the catalyst reaches operating temperature. Carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen, and detailed exhaust hydrocarbon speciation data were obtained for dedicated CNG, then unleaded gasoline, and finally CNG start -gasoline run using the Federal Test Procedure at 24°C and at -7°C. The result was a reduction in emissions from the gasoline baseline, especially at -7°C. It was estimated that CNG start - gasoline run resulted in a 71 percent reduction in potential ozone formation per mile.
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

Use of Butane as an Alternative Fuel-Emissions from a Conversion Vehicle Using Various Blends

This paper describes experiments conducted to determine the regulated emissions, ozone-forming potentials, specific reactivities, and reactivity adjustment factors for eight butane and propane alternative fuel blends run on a light-duty vehicle, emission certified to be a California transitional low emission vehicle (TLEV) and converted to operate on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Duplicate EPA FTP emission tests were conducted with each fuel. Hydrocarbon speciation was utilized to determine reactivity-adjusted non-methane organic gases (NMOG) emissions for one test on each fuel. Results showed that all eight fuels could allow the converted vehicle to pass California ultra-low emission vehicle (ULEV) NMOG and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) standards. Six of the eight fuels could allow the vehicle to pass ULEV carbon monoxide (CO) standards. BUTANE has been an important gasoline blending component for many years.
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

Fuel Issues for Liquefied Natural Gas Vehicles

Natural gas vehicle (NGV) fuel energy storage density is a key issue, particularly in many heavy-duty applications where compressed natural gas may have unattractively low energy density. For these uses, benefits can be derived by using liquefied natural gas (LNG). From a market perspective, LNG can play a role for transportation because it is available in various areas of the United States and throughout the world. This paper provides a general overview of LNG use for vehicles and specifically an analysis of factors governing the behavior of this cryogenic fluid in a confined vessel. This is intended to provide an understanding of the cause/effect relation between LNG fuel composition, tank heat influx, and rate of fuel usage or storage time.
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

Conversion of Two Small Utility Engines to LPG Fuel

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) converted two small air-cooled, gasoline engines to operate on LPG (sometimes called propane since propane is LPG's major constituent). Typical two- and four-cycle engines were chosen for this investigation. The two-cycle engine used was a McCulloch string trimmer engine with 28 cc displacement. The four-cycle engine used was an L-head, Tecumseh TVS90 with 148 cc displacement. These are typical of engines found on lower cost lawn mowers and string trimmers. The engines were baseline tested on gasoline, converted to LPG, and tested to determine equivalence ratios at which the engines could be operated without exceeding manufacturers' recommended spark plug seat or exhaust temperatures. Engine startability and throttle response was maintained with the LPG conversion. The emissions of the four-cycle engine were measured following the CARB 6-mode emissions test procedure.
Technical Paper

Operational Experience with Remote Data Logging of Natural Gas Vehicles

A data logging system was installed on two natural gas field demonstration vehicles. The systems were equipped with cellular telephones and modems. This enabled daily performance monitoring of the engines and vehicles from across the country. The impacts and implication of this remote access on such a demonstration project are discussed in detail in this paper.