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.