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Technical Paper

Neat Biodiesel Fuel Engine Tests and Preliminary Modelling

Engine performance and emission comparisons were made between the use of 100% soy, Canola and yellow grease derived biodiesel fuels and an ultra-low sulphur diesel fuel in the oxygen deficient regions, i.e. full or high load engine operations. Exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) was extensively applied to initiate low temperature combustion. An intake throttling valve was implemented to increase the differential pressure between the intake and exhaust in order to increase and enhance the EGR. The intake temperature, pressure, and EGR levels were modulated to improve the engine fuel efficiency and exhaust emissions. Furthermore, a preliminary ignition delay correlation under the influence of EGR was developed. Preliminary low temperature combustion modelling of the biodiesel and diesel fuels was also conducted. The research intends to achieve simultaneous reductions of nitrogen oxides and soot emissions in modern production diesel engines when biodiesel is applied.
Technical Paper

An Investigation of EGR Treatment on the Emission and Operating Characteristics of Modern Diesel Engines

Tests are conducted to improve the use of exhaust gas recirculation on a single cylinder diesel engine with EGR stream treatment techniques that include intake heating, combustible substance oxidation, catalytic fuel reforming, and partial bypass-flow control. In parallel with the empirical work, theoretical modeling analyses are performed to investigate the effectiveness of the reforming process and the combined effects on the overall system efficiency. The research is aimed at stabilizing and expanding the limits of heavy EGR during steady and transient operations so that the individual limiting conditions of EGR can be better identified. Additionally, the heavy EGR is applied to enable in-cylinder low temperature combustion. The effectiveness of EGR treatment on engine emission and operating characteristics are therefore reported.
Technical Paper

Energy Efficiency Analysis between In-cylinder and External Supplemental Fuel Strategies

Preliminary empirical and modeling analyses are conducted to evaluate the energy efficiency of in-cylinder and external fuel injection strategies and their impact on the energy required to enable diesel particulate filter (DPF) regeneration for instance. During the tests, a thermal wave that is generated from the engine propagates along the exhaust pipe to the DPF substrate. The thermal response of the exhaust system is recorded with the thermocouple arrays embedded in the exhaust system. To implement the external fuel injection, an array of thermocouples and pressure sensors in the DPF provide the necessary feedback to the control system. The external fuel injection is dynamically adjusted based on the thermal response of the DPF substrate to improve the thermal management and to reduce the supplemental energy. This research intends to quantify the effectiveness of the supplemental energy utilization on aftertreatment enabling.
Technical Paper

Thermal Efficiency Analyses of Diesel Low Temperature Combustion Cycles

Thermal efficiency comparisons are made between the low temperature combustion and the conventional diesel cycles on a common-rail diesel engine with a conventional diesel fuel. Empirical studies have been conducted under independently controlled exhaust gas recirculation, intake boost, and exhaust backpressure. Up to 8 fuel injection pulses per cylinder per cycle have been applied to modulate the homogeneity history of the early injection diesel low temperature combustion operations in order to improve the phasing of the combustion process. The impact of heat release phasing, duration, shaping, and splitting on the thermal efficiency has been analyzed with zero-dimensional engine cycle simulations. This paper intends to identify the major parameters that affect diesel low temperature combustion engine thermal efficiency.
Technical Paper

Heat Release Based Adaptive Control to Improve Low Temperature Diesel Engine Combustion

Heat-release and cylinder pressure based adaptive fuel-injection control tests were performed on a modern common-rail diesel engine to improve the engine operation in the low-temperature combustion (LTC) region. A single shot injection strategy with heavy amount of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) was used to modulate the in-cylinder charge conditions to achieve the low-temperature combustion. Adaptive fuel-injection techniques were used to anchor the cylinder pressure characteristics in the desired crank angle window and thereby stabilize the engine operation. The response of the adaptive control to boost, fueling, and engine speed variations was also tested. A combination of adaptive fuel-injection and automatic boost/back-pressure controls had helped to make the transient emissions comparable to the steady-state LTC emissions.
Technical Paper

Influence of Biodiesel Fuel on Diesel Engine Performance and Emissions in Low Temperature Combustion

The exhaust emission and performance characteristics of a 100% biodiesel fuel was evaluated on a single cylinder direct injection diesel engine that had been modified to allow multi-pulse diesel fuel injection at the intake port and independent control of intake heating, exhaust gas recirculation and throttling. Firstly, conventional single-shot direct injection tests were conducted and comparisons made between the use of an ultra-low sulphur diesel fuel and the biodiesel fuel. Secondly, tests for the premixed combustion of neat biodiesel were performed. Exhaust gas recirculation was applied extensively to initiate the low temperature combustion for the conventional in-cylinder single injection operation and to moderate the timing of the homogeneous charge compression ignition for the intake-port sequential injection. Because of the high viscosity and low volatility of the biodiesel, pilot-ignited homogeneous charge compression ignition was used.
Technical Paper

Adaptive Fuel Injection Tests to Extend EGR Limits on Diesel Engines

Exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) is effective to reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx) from diesel engines. However, when excessive EGR is applied, the engine operation reaches zones with higher combustion instability, carbonaceous emissions, and power losses. In order to improve the engine combustion process with the use of heavy EGR, the influences of boost pressure, intake temperature, and fuel injection timing are evaluated. An adaptive fuel injection strategy is applied as the EGR level is progressively elevated towards the limiting conditions. Additionally, characterization tests are performed to improve the control of the homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) type of engine cycles, especially when heavy EGR levels are applied to increase the load level of HCCI operations. This paper constitutes the preparation work for a variety of algorithms currently being investigated at the authors' laboratory as a part of the model-based NOx control research.
Technical Paper

A Thermal Response Analysis on the Transient Performance of Active Diesel Aftertreatment

Diesel fueling and exhaust flow strategies are investigated to control the substrate temperatures of diesel aftertreatment systems. The fueling control includes the common-rail post injection and the external supplemental fuel injection. The post injection pulses are further specified at the early, mid, or late stages of the engine expansion stroke. In comparison, the external fueling rates are moderated under various engine loads to evaluate the thermal impact. Additionally, the active-flow control schemes are implemented to improve the overall energy efficiency of the system. In parallel with the empirical work, the dynamic temperature characteristics of the exhaust system are simulated one-dimensionally with in-house and external codes. The dynamic thermal control, measurement, and modeling of this research intend to improve the performance of diesel particulate filters and diesel NOx absorbers.
Technical Paper

Real-time Heat Release Analysis for Model-based Control of Diesel Combustion

A number of cylinder-pressure derived parameters including the crank angles of maximum pressure, maximum rate of pressure rise, and 50% heat released are considered as among the desired feedback for cycle-by-cycle adaptive control of diesel combustion. For real-time computation of these parameters, the heat release analyses based on the first law of thermodynamics are used. This paper intends to identify the operating regions where the simplified heat release approach provides sufficient accuracy for control applications and also highlights those regions where its use can lead to significant errors in the calculated parameters. The effects of the cylinder charge-to-wall heat transfer and the temperature dependence of the specific heat ratio on the model performance are reported. A new computationally efficient algorithm for estimating the crank angle of 50% heat released with adequate accuracy is proposed for computation in real-time.
Technical Paper

Prompt Heat Release Analysis to Improve Diesel Low Temperature Combustion

Diesel engines operating in the low-temperature combustion (LTC) mode generally tend to produce very low levels of NOx and soot. However, the implementation of LTC is challenged by the higher cycle-to-cycle variation with heavy EGR operation and the narrower operating corridors. The robustness and efficiency of LTC operation in diesel engines can be enhanced with improvements in the promptness and accuracy of combustion control. A set of field programmable gate array (FPGA) modules were coded and interlaced to suffice on-the-fly combustion event modulations. The cylinder pressure traces were analyzed to update the heat release rate concurrently as the combustion process proceeds prior to completing an engine cycle. Engine dynamometer tests demonstrated that such prompt heat release analysis was effective to optimize the LTC and the split combustion events for better fuel efficiency and exhaust emissions.
Technical Paper

Boundary Layer Enhanced Thermal Recuperation for Diesel Particulate Filter Regeneration under a Periodic Flow Reversal Operation

Diesel Particulate Filters (DPF) are viable to reduce smoke from diesel engines. An oxidation process is usually required to remove the Particulate Matter (PM) loading from the DPF substrates. In cases when the engine exhaust temperature is insufficient to initiate a thermal regeneration, supplemental energy is commonly applied to raise the exhaust gas and/or the DPF substrate temperatures. A flow reversal (FR) mechanism that traps a high temperature region in the DPF substrate by periodically altering the gas flow directions has been identified to be capable of reducing the supplemental energy and thus to improve the overall thermal efficiency of the engine. However, extended operations with low exhaust temperature lowers the DPF boundary temperatures that defers the regeneration processes. Furthermore, the temperature fluctuations caused by the periodic FR operation also increase the thermal stress in the DPF.
Technical Paper

High Energy Ignition Strategies for Diluted Mixtures via a Three-Pole Igniter

A three-pole spark igniter, with the concept to broaden the ignition area, is employed in this paper to investigate the effect of spark discharge strategies on the early ignition burning process. The prototyped three-pole igniter has three independent spark gaps arranged in a triangular pattern with a circumradius of 2.3 mm. Direct-capacitor discharge techniques, utilizing close-coupled capacitors parallel to the spark gap, are applied on the three-pole igniter to enhance either the transient spark power or the overall energy. In particular, the simultaneous discharge of high energy plasma on three spark gaps can produce a surface-like ignition process which intensifies the plasma-flame interaction, thereby producing a rapid flame kernel development. The ignition strategies are evaluated in both constant volume combustion vessels and a modified single-cylinder metal engine.
Technical Paper

Preliminary Testing of n-Butanol HCCI on High Compression Ratio Diesel Engines

The control of combustion phasing in homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) combustion is investigated with neat n-butanol in this work. HCCI is a commonly researched combustion mode, owing to its improved thermal efficiency over conventional gasoline combustion, as well as its lower nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter emissions compared to those of diesel combustion. Despite these advantages, HCCI lacks successful widespread implementation with conventional fuels, primarily due to the lack of effective combustion phasing control. In this preliminary study, chemical kinetic simulations are conducted to study the auto-ignition characteristics of n-butanol under varied background pressures, temperatures, and dilution levels using established mechanisms in CHEMKIN software. Increasing the pressure or temperature lead to a shorter ignition delay, whereas increasing the dilution by the application of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) leads to a longer ignition delay.
Technical Paper

An Investigation on the Regeneration of Lean NOx Trap Using Ethanol and n-Butanol

Reduction of nitrogen oxides (NOx) in lean burn and diesel fueled Compression Ignition (CI) engines is one of the major challenges faced by automotive manufacturers. Lean NOx Trap (LNT) and urea-based Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) exhaust after-treatment systems are well established technologies to reduce NOx emissions. However, each of these technologies has associated advantages and disadvantages for use over a wide range of engine operating conditions. In order to meet future ultra-low NOx emission norms, the use of both alternative fuels and advanced after-treatment technology may be required. The use of an alcohol fuel such as n-butanol or ethanol in a CI engine can reduce the engine-out NOx and soot emissions. In CI engines using LNTs for NOx reduction, the fuel such as diesel is utilized as a reductant for LNT regeneration.
Technical Paper

An Investigation of Near-Spark-Plug Flow Field and Its Effect on Spark Behavior

In the recent decades, the emission and fuel efficiency regulations put forth by the emission regulation agencies have become increasingly stringent and this trend is expected to continue in future. The advanced spark ignition (SI) engines can operate under lean conditions to improve efficiency and reduce emissions. Under such lean conditions, the ignition and complete combustion of the charge mixture is a challenge because of the reduced charge reactivity. Enhancement of the in-cylinder charge motion and turbulence to increase the flame velocity, and consequently reduce the combustion duration is one possible way to improve lean combustion. The role of air motion in better air-fuel mixing and increasing the flame velocity, by enhancing turbulence has been researched extensively. However, during the ignition process, the charge motion can influence the initial spark discharge, resulting flame kernel formation, and flame propagation.
Technical Paper

A Simplified Circuit Model for the Emulation of Glow Phase during Spark Discharge

The ever-growing demand to meet the stringent exhaust emission regulations have driven the development of modern gasoline engines towards lean combustion strategies and downsizing to achieve the reduction of exhaust emission and fuel consumption. Currently, the inductive ignition system is still the dominant ignition system applied in Spark Ignited (SI) engines. It is popular due to its simple design, low cost and robust performance. The new development in spark ignition engines demands higher spark energy to be delivered by the inductive ignition system to overcome the unfavorable ignition conditions caused by the increased and diluted in-cylinder charge. To meet this challenge, better understanding of the inductive ignition system is required. The development of a first principle model for simulation can help in understanding the working mechanism of the system in a better way.
Journal Article

Experimental Investigation of Diesel-Ethanol Premixed Pilot-Assisted Combustion (PPAC) in a High Compression Ratio Engine

In this work, empirical investigations of the diesel-ethanol Premixed Pilot-Assisted Combustion (PPAC) are carried out on a high compression ratio (18.2:1) single-cylinder diesel engine. The tests focus on determining the minimum ethanol fraction for ultra-low NOx & soot emissions, effect of single-pilot vs. twin-pilot strategies on emissions and ignition controllability, reducing the EGR requirements, enabling clean combustion across the load range and achieving high efficiency full-load operation. The results show that both low NOx and almost zero soot emissions can be achieved but at the expense of higher unburned hydrocarbons. Compared to a single-pilot injection, a twin-pilot strategy reduces the soot emissions significantly and also lowers the NOx emissions, thereby reducing the requirements for EGR. The near-TDC pilot provides excellent control over the combustion phasing, further reducing the need of a higher EGR quantity for phasing control.
Technical Paper

Mode Switching to Improve Low Load Efficiency of an Ethanol-Diesel Dual-Fuel Engine

The dual-fuel application using ethanol and diesel fuels can substantially improve the classical trade-off between oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and smoke, especially at moderate-to-high load conditions. However, at low engine load levels, the use of a low reactivity fuel in the dual-fuel application usually leads to increased incomplete combustion products that in turn result in a significant reduction of the engine thermal efficiency. In this work, engine tests are conducted on a high compression ratio, single cylinder dual-fuel engine that incorporates the diesel direct-injection and ethanol port-injection. Engine load levels are identified, at which, diesel combustion offers better efficiency than the dual-fuel combustion while attaining low NOx and smoke emissions. Thereafter, a cycle-to-cycle based closed-loop controller is implemented for the combustion phasing and engine load control in both the diesel and dual-fuel combustion regimes.
Technical Paper

Fuel Burn Rate Control to Improve Load Capability of Neat n-Butanol Combustion in a Modern Diesel Engine

This research work investigates the control strategies of fuel burn rate of neat n-butanol combustion to improve the engine load capability. Engine tests of homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) and partially premixed combustion (PPC) with neat n-butanol show promising NOx and smoke emissions; however, the rapid burn rate of n-butanol results in excessive pressure rise rates and limits the engine load capability. A multi-event combustion strategy is developed to modulate the fuel burn rate of the combustion cycle and thus to reduce the otherwise high pressure rise rates at higher engine load levels. In the multi-event combustion strategy, the first combustion event is produced near TDC by the compression ignition of the port injected butanol that resembles the HCCI combustion; the second combustion event occurs near 7~12 degrees after TDC, which is produced by butanol direct injection (DI) after the first HCCI-like combustion event.
Journal Article

Impact of Fuel Properties on Diesel Low Temperature Combustion

Extensive empirical work indicates that exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) is effective to lower the flame temperature and thus the oxides of nitrogen (NOx) production in-cylinder in diesel engines. Soot emissions are reduced in-cylinder by improved fuel/air mixing. As engine load increases, higher levels of intake boost and fuel injection pressure are required to suppress soot production. The high EGR and improved fuel/air mixing is then critical to enable low temperature combustion (LTC) processes. The paper explores the properties of the Fuels for Advanced Combustion Engines (FACE) Diesel, which are statistically designed to examine fuel effects, on a 0.75L single cylinder engine across the full range of load, spanning up to 15 bar IMEP. The lower cetane number (CN) of the diesel fuel improved the mixing process by prolonging the ignition delay and the mixing duration leading to substantial reduction of soot at low to medium loads, improving the trade-off between NOx and soot.