The homogeneous charge, compression-ignition (HCCI) combustion process has the potential to significantly reduce NOx and particulate emissions, while achieving high thermal efficiency and the capability of operating with a wide variety of fuels. This makes the HCCI engine an attractive technology that can ostensibly provide diesel-like fuel efficiency and very low emissions, which may allow emissions compliance to occur without relying on lean aftertreatment systems.
Homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) combustion with fully premixed charge is severely limited at high-load operation due to the rapid pressure-rise rates (PRR) which can lead to engine knock and potential engine damage. Recent studies have shown that two-stage ignition fuels possess a significant potential to reduce the combustion heat release rate, thus enabling higher load without knock. This study focuses on three factors, engine speed, intake temperature, and fuel composition, that can affect the pre-ignition processes of two-stage fuels and consequently affect their performance with partial fuel stratification. A model fuel consisting of 73 vol.% isooctane and 27 vol.% of n-heptane (PRF73), which was previously compared against neat isooctane to demonstrate the superior performance of two-stage fuels over single-stage fuels with partial fuel stratification, was first used to study the effects of engine speed and intake temperature.
This study investigates the potential of partial fuel stratification for reducing the knocking propensity of intake-boosted HCCI engines operating on conventional gasoline. Although intake boosting can substantially increase the high-load capability of HCCI, these engines would be more production-viable if the knock/stability load limit could be extended to allow higher loads at a given boost and/or to provide even higher thermal efficiencies. A technique termed partial fuel stratification (PFS) has recently been shown to greatly reduce the combustion-induced pressure-rise rate (PRR), and therefore the knocking propensity of naturally aspirated HCCI, when the engine is fueled with a φ-sensitive, two-stage-ignition fuel. The current work explores the potential of applying PFS to boosted HCCI operation using conventional gasoline, which does not typically show two-stage ignition. Experiments were conducted in a single-cylinder HCCI research engine (0.98 liters) at 1200 rpm.
Tracer-based PLIF temperature diagnostics have been used to study the distribution and evolution of naturally occurring thermal stratification (TS) in an HCCI engine under fired and motored operation. PLIF measurements, performed with two excitation wavelengths (277, 308 nm) and 3-pentanone as a tracer, allowed investigation of TS development under relevant fired conditions. Two-line PLIF measurements of temperature and composition were first performed to track the mixing of the fresh charge and hot residuals during intake and early compression strokes. Results showed that mixing occurs rapidly with no measureable mixture stratification remaining by early compression (220°CA aTDC), confirming that the residual mixing is not a leading cause of thermal stratification for low-residual (4-6%) engines with conventional valve timing.
Refinements were made to a post-processing technique, termed the Thermal Stratification Analysis (TSA), that couples the mass fraction burned data to ignition timing predictions from the autoignition integral to calculate an apparent temperature distribution from an experimental HCCI data point. Specifically, the analysis is expanded to include all of the mass in the cylinder by fitting the unburned mass with an exponential function, characteristic of the wall-affected region. The analysis-derived temperature distributions are then validated in two ways. First, the output data from CFD simulations are processed with the Thermal Stratification Analysis and the calculated temperature distributions are compared to the known CFD distributions.
This study explores the use of two conventional ignition improvers, 2-ethylhexyl nitrate (EHN) and di-tert-butyl peroxide (DTBP), to enhance the autoignition of the regular gasoline in an homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) engine at naturally aspirated and moderately boosted conditions (up to 180 kPa absolute) with a constant engine speed of 1200 rpm. The results showed that both EHN and DTBP are very effective for reducing the intake temperature (Tin) required for autoignition and for enhancing stability to allow a higher charge-mass fuel/air equivalence ratio (ϕm). On the other hand, the addition of these additives can also make the gasoline too reactive at some conditions, so significant exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) is required at these conditions to maintain the desired combustion phasing. Thus, there is a trade-off between improving stability and reducing the oxygen available for combustion when using ignition improvers to extend the high-load limit.
This paper studies autoignition characteristics and HCCI engine combustion of ketone fuels, which are important constituents of recently discovered fungi-derived biofuels. Two ketone compounds, 2,4-dimethyl-3-pentanone (DMPN) and cyclopentanone (CPN), are systematically investigated in the Sandia HCCI engine, and the results are compared with conventional gasoline and neat ethanol. It is found that CPN has the lowest autoignition reactivity of all the biofuels and gasoline blends tested in this HCCI engine. The combustion timing of CPN is also the most sensitive to intake-temperature (Tin) variations, and it is almost insensitive to intake-pressure (Pin) variations. These characteristics and the overall HCCI performance of CPN are similar to those of ethanol. In contrast, DMPN shows multi-faceted autoignition characteristics. On the one hand, DMPN has strong temperature-sensitivity, even at boosted Pin, which is similar to the low-reactivity ethanol and CPN.
This article presents an investigation of the sources combustion-generated noise and its measurement in HCCI engines. Two cylinder-pressure derived parameters, the Combustion Noise Level (CNL) and the Ringing Intensity (RI), that are commonly used to establish limits of acceptable operation are compared along with spectral analyses of the pressure traces. This study focuses on explaining the differences between these two parameters and on investigating the sensitivity of the CNL to the ringing/knock phenomenon, to which the human ear is quite sensitive. Then, the effects of independently varying engine operating conditions such as fueling rate, boost pressure, and speed on both the CNL and RI are studied. Results show that the CNL is not significantly affected by the high-frequency components related to the ringing/knock phenomenon.
The characteristics of ethanol autoignition and the associated HCCI performance are examined in this work. The experiments were conducted over wide ranges of engine speed, load and intake boost pressure (Piⁿ) in a single-cylinder HCCI research engine (0.98 liters) with a CR = 14 piston. The data show that pure ethanol is a true single-stage ignition fuel. It does not exhibit low-temperature heat release (LTHR), not even for boosted operation. This makes ethanol uniquely different from conventional distillate fuels and offers several benefits: a) The intake temperature (Tiⁿ) does not have to be adjusted much with changes of engine speed, load and intake boost pressure. b) High Piⁿ can be tolerated without running out of control authority because of an excessively low Tiⁿ requirement. However, by maintaining true single-stage ignition characteristics, ethanol also shows a relatively low temperature-rise rate just prior to its hot ignition point.
Long chain alcohols possess major advantages over the currently used ethanol as bio-components for gasoline, including higher energy content, better engine compatibility, and less water solubility. The rapid developments in biofuel technology have made it possible to produce C 4 -C 5 alcohols cost effectively. These higher alcohols could significantly expand the biofuel content and potentially substitute ethanol in future gasoline mixtures. This study characterizes some fundamental properties of a C 5 alcohol, isopentanol, as a fuel for HCCI engines. Wide ranges of engine speed, intake temperature, intake pressure, and equivalence ratio are investigated. Results are presented in comparison with gasoline or ethanol data previously reported. For a given combustion phasing, isopentanol requires lower intake temperatures than gasoline or ethanol at all tested speeds, indicating a higher HCCI reactivity.
Ethanol and ethanol/gasoline blends are being widely considered as alternative fuels for light-duty automotive applications. At the same time, HCCI combustion has the potential to provide high efficiency and ultra-low exhaust emissions. However, the application of HCCI is typically limited to low and moderate loads because of unacceptably high heat-release rates (HRR) at higher fueling rates. This work investigates the potential of lowering the HCCI HRR at high loads by using partial fuel stratification to increase the in-cylinder thermal stratification. This strategy is based on ethanol's high heat of vaporization combined with its true single-stage ignition characteristics. Using partial fuel stratification, the strong fuel-vaporization cooling produces thermal stratification due to variations in the amount of fuel vaporization in different parts of the combustion chamber.
Isopentanol is an advanced biofuel that can be produced by micro-organisms through genetically engineered metabolic pathways. Compared to the more frequently studied ethanol, isopentanol's molecular structure has a longer carbon chain and includes a methyl branch. Its volumetric energy density is over 30% higher than ethanol, and it is less hygroscopic. Some fundamental combustion properties of isopentanol in an HCCI engine have been characterized in a recent study by Yang and Dec (SAE 2010-01-2164). They found that for typical HCCI operating conditions, isopentanol lacks two-stage ignition properties, yet it has a higher HCCI reactivity than gasoline. The amount of intermediate temperature heat release (ITHR) is an important fuel property, and having sufficient ITHR is critical for HCCI operation without knock at high loads using intake-pressure boosting. Isopentanol shows considerable ITHR, and the amount of ITHR increases with boost, similar to gasoline.
The potential of boosted HCCI for achieving high loads has been investigated for intake pressures (Piⁿ) from 100 kPa (naturally aspirated) to 325 kPa absolute. Experiments were conducted in a single-cylinder HCCI research engine (0.98 liters) equipped with a compression-ratio 14 piston at 1200 rpm. The intake charge was fully premixed well upstream of the intake, and the fuel was a research-grade (R+M)/2 = 87-octane gasoline with a composition typical of commercial gasolines. Beginning with Piⁿ = 100 kPa, the intake pressure was systematically increased in steps of 20 - 40 kPa, and for each Piⁿ, the fueling was incrementally increased up to the knock/stability limit, beyond which slight changes in combustion conditions can lead to strong knocking or misfire. A combination of reduced intake temperature and cooled EGR was used to compensate for the pressure-induced enhancement of autoignition and to provide sufficient combustion-phasing retard to control knock.
High-load HCCI combustion has recently been demonstrated with conventional gasoline using intake pressure boosting. The key is to control the high combustion heat release rates (HRR) by using combustion timing retard and mixture stratification. However, at naturally aspirated and moderately boosted conditions, these techniques did not work well due to the low autoignition reactivity of conventional gasoline at these conditions. This work studies a low-octane distillate fuel with similar volatility to gasoline, termed Hydrobate, for its potential in HCCI engine combustion at naturally aspirated and low-range boosted conditions. The HCCI combustion with fully premixed and partially stratified charges was examined at intake pressures (Pin) from 100 to 180 kPa and constant intake temperature (60°C) and engine speed (1200 rpm).
A tracer-based single-line PLIF imaging technique using a unique optical configuration that allows simultaneously viewing the bulk-gas and the boundary layer region has been applied to an investigation of the naturally occurring thermal stratification in a HCCI engine. Thermal stratification is critical for HCCI engines, because it determines the maximum pressure rise rate which is a limiting factor for high-load operation. The investigation is based on the analysis of temperature maps that were derived from PLIF images, using the temperature sensitivity of fluorescence from toluene introduced as tracer in the fuel. Measurements were made in a single-cylinder optically accessible HCCI engine operating under motored conditions with a vertical laser-sheet orientation that allows observation of the development of thermal stratification from the cold boundary layers into the central region of the charge.
The combustion behavior of conventional gasoline has been numerically investigated by means of detailed chemical-kinetic modeling simulations, with particular emphasis on analyzing the chemistry of the intermediate temperature heat release (ITHR). Previous experimental work on highly boosted (up to 325 kPa absolute) HCCI combustion of gasoline (SAE 2020-01-1086) showed a steady increase in the charge temperature up to the point of hot ignition, even for conditions where the ignition point was retarded well after top dead center (TDC). Thus, sufficient energy was being released by early pre-ignition reactions resulting in temperature rise during the early part of the expansion stroke This behavior is associated with a slow pre-ignition heat release (ITHR), which is critical to keep the engine from misfiring at the very late combustion phasings required to prevent knock at high-load boosted conditions.
This study systematically investigates the effects of various engine operating parameters on the thermal efficiency of a boosted HCCI engine, and the potential of E10 to extend the high-load limit beyond that obtained with conventional gasoline. Understanding how these parameters can be adjusted and the trade-offs involved is critical for optimizing engine operation and for determining the highest efficiencies for a given engine geometry. Data were acquired in a 0.98 liter, single-cylinder HCCI research engine with a compression-ratio of 14:1, and the engine facility was configured to allow precise control over the relevant operating parameters. The study focuses on boosted operation with intake pressures (Pin) ≥ 2 bar, but some data for Pin < 2 bar are also presented. Two fuels are considered: 1) an 87-octane gasoline, and 2) E10 (10% ethanol in this same gasoline) which has a lower autoignition reactivity for boosted operation.
A detailed understanding of the various factors affecting the trends in gross-indicated thermal efficiency with changes in key operating parameters has been carried out, applied to a one-liter displacement single-cylinder boosted Low-Temperature Gasoline Combustion (LTGC) engine. This work systematically investigates how the supplied fuel energy splits into the following four energy pathways: gross-indicated thermal efficiency, combustion inefficiency, heat transfer and exhaust losses, and how this split changes with operating conditions. Additional analysis is performed to determine the influence of variations in the ratio of specific heat capacities (γ) and the effective expansion ratio, related to the combustion-phasing retard (CA50), on the energy split. Heat transfer and exhaust losses are computed using multiple standard cycle analysis techniques. The various methods are evaluated in order to validate the trends.
Low-temperature gasoline combustion (LTGC), based on the compression ignition of a premixed or partially premixed dilute charge, can provide thermal efficiencies (TE) and maximum loads comparable to those of turbo-charged diesel engines, and ultra-low NOx and particulate emissions. Intake boosting is key to achieving high loads with dilute combustion, and it also enhances the fuel's autoignition reactivity, reducing the required intake heating or hot residuals. These effects have the advantages of increasing TE and charge density, allowing greater timing retard with good stability, and making the fuel ϕ- sensitive so that partial fuel stratification (PFS) can be applied for higher loads and further TE improvements. However, at high boost the autoignition reactivity enhancement can become excessive, and substantial amounts of EGR are required to prevent overly advanced combustion.