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Technical Paper

Drive Cycle Analysis of Load Control Strategies for Methanol Fuelled ICE Vehicle

The use of methanol as spark-ignition engine fuel can help to increase energy security and offers the prospect of carbon neutral transport. Methanol's properties enable considerable improvements in engine performance, efficiency and CO2 emissions compared to gasoline operation. SAE paper 2012-01-1283 showed that both flex-fuel and dedicated methanol engines can benefit from an operating strategy employing exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) to control the load while leaving the throttle wide open (WOT). Compared to throttled stoichiometric operation, this reduces pumping work, cooling losses, dissociation and engine-out NOx. The current paper presents follow-up work to determine to what extent these advantages still stand over an entire drive cycle. The average vehicle efficiency, overall CO2 and NOx emissions from a flexible fuel vehicle completing a drive cycle on gasoline and methanol were evaluated.
Technical Paper

Downsizing Potential of Methanol Fueled DISI Engine with Variable Valve Timing and Boost Control

Methanol is gaining traction in some regions, e.g. for road transportation in China and for marine transportation in Europe. In this research, the possibility for achieving higher power output and higher efficiency with methanol, compared to gasoline, is investigated and the influence of several engine settings, such as valve timing and intake boost control, is studied. At wide open throttle (WOT), engine speed of 1650 rpm, the brake mean effective pressure (BMEP) of the methanol-fueled engine is higher than on gasoline, by around 1.8 bar. The maximum BMEP is further increased when positive valve overlap and higher intake boost pressure are applied. Thanks to a lower residual gas fraction, and a richer in-cylinder mixture with positive valve overlap period, the engine BMEP improves by a further 2.6 bar. Because of higher volumetric efficiency with a boosted intake air, the engine BMEP enhances with 4.7 bar.
Technical Paper

Combustion Characterization of Methanol in a Lean Burn Direct Injection Spark Ignition (DISI) Engine

Lean operation is a promising approach to increase the engine efficiency. One of the main challenges for lean-burn technology is the combustion instability. Using a high laminar burning velocity fuel such as methanol might solve that problem. The potential of lean-burn limit extension with methanol was investigated through a comparison with conventional gasoline. In this work, a direct injection turbocharged SI engine was operated at wide open throttle (WOT), with the load controlled by a lean-burn strategy. The amount of fuel was decreased (or lambda increased) until the combustion became unstable. For methanol, the lambda limit was about 1.5, higher than the lambda limit for gasoline which was only about 1.2. The brake thermal efficiency for methanol increased as lambda increased and reached its peak at ~41% in a lambda range of 1.2-1.4. Then, the efficiency decreased as lambda increased.
Technical Paper

Simulation Based Investigation of Achieving Low Temperature Combustion with Methanol in a Direct Injected Compression Ignition Engine

Low temperature combustion concepts used in compression ignition engines have shown to be able to produce simultaneous reduction of oxides of nitrogen and soot as well as generating higher gross indicated efficiencies compared to conventional diesel combustion. This is achieved by a combination of premixing, dilution and optimization of combustion phasing. Low temperature combustion can be complemented by moving away from fossil fuels in order to reduce the net output of CO2 emissions. Alternative fuels are preferably liquid and of sufficient energy density. As such methanol is proposed as a viable option. This paper reports the results from a simulation based investigation on a heavy-duty multi-cylinder direct injection compression ignition engine with standard compression ratio. The engine was simulated using two different fuels: methanol and gasoline with an octane number of 70.
Technical Paper

Cylinder to Cylinder Variation Related to Gas Injection Timing on a Dual-Fuel Engine

The natural gas/diesel dual-fuel engine is an interesting technique to reduce greenhouse gas emission. A limitation of this concept is the emission of un-combusted methane. In this study we analyzed the influence of PFI gas-injection timing on cylinder to cylinder gas-distribution, and the resulting methane emissions. This was done on a 6 cylinder HD engine test bench and in a GT-power simulation of the same engine. The main variable in all tests was the timing of the intake port gas injection, placed either before, after, or during the intake stroke. It showed that injecting outside of the intake window resulted in significant variation of the amount of trapped gaseous fuel over the 6 cylinders, having a strong impact on methane emissions. Injecting outside of the intake stroke results in gas awaiting in the intake port. Both testing and simulation made clear that as a result of this, cylinder 1 leans out and cylinder 6 enriches.
Technical Paper

A Critical Review of Experimental Research on Hydrogen Fueled SI Engines

The literature on hydrogen fueled internal combustion engines is surprisingly extensive and papers have been published continuously from the 1930's up to the present day. Ghent University has been working on hydrogen engines for more than a decade. A summary of the most important findings, resulting from a literature study and the experimental work at Ghent University, is given in the present paper, to clarify some contradictory claims and ultimately to provide a comprehensive overview of the design features in which a dedicated hydrogen engine differs from traditionally fueled engines. Topics that are discussed include abnormal combustion (backfire, pre-ignition and knock), mixture formation techniques (carbureted, port injected, direct injection) and load control strategies (power output versus NOx trade-off).
Technical Paper

Combustion Studies for PFI Hydrogen IC Engines

Interest in alternative fuels is motivated by concerns for greenhouse gas accumulation, air quality, security of energy supply and of course the non-stop increasing crude oil and natural gas prices. Hydrogen usage can be a solution for these problems. Hydrogen plays the role of an energy carrier that has two major advantages: it can be generated from many sources and it is very clean in its use. One end-use technology that can handle hydrogen is the well-known internal combustion engine (ICE). However, before this technology can be put to use, it needs to be able to compete with conventionally fuelled power units. Particularly in terms of specific power output and NOX emissions, development work needs to be done. In the work described in this paper the main focus is on the combustion strategies for high efficiency and low NOx emissions. A comparison is made between lean burn and EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) strategies.
Technical Paper

Reducing Engine-Out Emissions for Medium High Speed Diesel Engines: Influence of Injection Parameters

In 2004 the European Parliament ratified the Euro III and IV standards limiting the pollutant emission of, among others, rail and marine diesel engines. In these sectors, it is particularly important to keep any fuel consumption penalty, when reducing emissions, to a strict minimum. Furthermore, exhaust gas after treatment is mostly avoided for cost reasons. Thus, manufacturers are looking to pretreatment of fuels, alternative fuels, and limiting engine-out emissions as ways to attain the required emission levels. This paper discusses the experimental work done on a 1324 kW, 1000 rpm six cylinder marine diesel engine equipped with mechanical unit injectors. The aim was to determine the influence of compression ratio and fuel injection parameters on engine-out emissions, with emphasis on NOx emissions. A range of fuel injection parameters were examined, varying the start of injection, pump plunger diameter, injection pressure, and injector nozzle geometry.
Technical Paper

Experimental Investigation of a DISI Production Engine Fuelled with Methanol, Ethanol, Butanol and ISO-Stoichiometric Alcohol Blends

Stricter CO2 and emissions regulations are pushing spark ignition engines more and more towards downsizing, enabled through direct injection and turbocharging. The advantages which come with direct injection, such as increased charge density and an elevated knock resistance, are even more pronounced when using low carbon number alcohols instead of gasoline. This is mainly due to the higher heat of vaporization and the lower air-to-fuel ratio of light alcohols such as methanol, ethanol and butanol. These alcohols are also attractive alternatives to gasoline because they can be produced from renewable resources. Because they are liquid, they can be easily stored in a vehicle. In this respect, the performance and engine-out emissions (NOx, CO, HC and PM) of methanol, ethanol and butanol were examined on a 4 cylinder 2.4 DI production engine and are compared with those on neat gasoline.
Technical Paper

Assessment of Empirical Heat Transfer Models for a CFR Engine Operated in HCCI Mode

Homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) engines are a promising alternative to traditional spark- and compression-ignition engines, due to their high thermal efficiency and near-zero emissions of NOx and soot. Simulation software is an essential tool in the development and optimization of these engines. The heat transfer submodel used in simulation software has a large influence on the accuracy of the simulation results, due to its significant effect on the combustion. In this work several empirical heat transfer models are assessed on their ability to accurately predict the heat flux in a CFR engine during HCCI operation. Models are investigated that are developed for traditional spark- and compression-ignition engines such as those from Annand [1], Woschni [2] and Hohenberg [3] and also models developed for HCCI engines such as those from Chang et al. [4] and Hensel et al. [5].
Technical Paper

A hydrogen-fueled V-8 engine for city-bus application

Hydrogen is seen as one of the important energy vectors of the next century. Hydrogen as a renewable energy source, provides the potential for a sustainable development particularly in the transportation sector. Hydrogen-driven vehicles reduce both local as well as global emissions. The laboratory of transport technology (University of Gent) converted a General Motors Corporation/Crusader V-8 engine for hydrogen use. Once the engine is optimized, it will be built in a low-floor midsize hydrogen city bus for public demonstration. For a complete control of the combustion process and to increase the resistance to backfire (explosion of the air-fuel mixture in the inlet manifold), a sequential timed multipoint injection of hydrogen and an electronic management system is chosen. The results as a function of the engine parameters (ignition timing, injection timing and duration, injection pressure) are given.
Journal Article

Effects of Supercharging, EGR and Variable Valve Timing on Power and Emissions of Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engines

Hydrogen-fueled internal combustion engines equipped with port fuel injection offer a cheap alternative to fuel cells and can be run in bi-fuel operation side-stepping the chicken and egg problem of availability of hydrogen fueling station versus hydrogen vehicle. Hydrogen engines with external mixture formation have a significantly lower power output than gasoline engines. The main causes are the lower volumetric energy density of the externally formed hydrogen-air mixture and the occurrence of abnormal combustion phenomena (mainly backfire). Two engine test benches were used to investigate different means of compensating for this power loss, while keeping oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions limited. A single cylinder research engine was used to study the effects of supercharging, combined with exhaust gas recirculation (EGR). Supercharging the engine results in an increase in power output.
Technical Paper

Laminar Burning Velocity Correlations for Methanol-Air and Ethanol-Air Mixtures Valid at SI Engine Conditions

The use of methanol and ethanol in spark-ignition (SI) engines forms a promising approach to decarbonizing transport and securing domestic energy supply. The physico-chemical properties of these fuels enable engines with increased performance and efficiency compared to their fossil fuel counterparts. An engine cycle code valid for alcohol-fuelled engines could help to unlock their full potential. However, the development of such a code is currently hampered by the lack of a suitable correlation for the laminar flame speed of alcohol-air-diluent mixtures. A literature survey showed that none of the existing correlations covers the entire temperature, pressure and mixture composition range as encountered in spark-ignition engines. For this reason, we started working on new correlations based on simulations with a one-dimensional chemical kinetics code. In this paper the properties of methanol and ethanol are first presented, together with their application in modern SI engines.
Technical Paper

A Coupled Tabulated Kinetics and Flame Propagation Model for the Simulation of Fumigated Medium Speed Dual-Fuel Engines

The present work describes the numerical modeling of medium-speed marine engines, operating in a fumigated dual-fuel mode, i.e. with the second fuel injected in the ports. This engine technology allows reducing engine-out emissions while maintaining the engine efficiency and can be fairly easily retrofitted from current diesel engines. The main premixed fuel that is added can be a low-carbon one and can additionally be of a renewable nature, thereby reducing or even completely removing the global warming impact. To fully optimize the operational parameters of such a large marine engine, computational fluid dynamics can be very helpful. Accurately describing the combustion process in such an engine is key, as the prediction of the heat release and the pollutant formation is crucial. Auto-ignition of the diesel fuel needs to be captured, followed by the combustion and flame propagation of the premixed fuel.
Technical Paper

Influence of Injection Strategies on Engine Efficiency for a Methanol PPC Engine

Partially premixed combustion (PPC) is one of several advanced combustion concepts for the conventional diesel engine. PPC uses a separation between end of fuel injection and start of combustion, also called ignition dwell, to increase the mixing of fuel and oxidizer. This has been shown to be beneficial for simultaneously reducing harmful emissions and fuel consumption. The ignition dwell can be increased by means of exhaust gas recirculation or lower intake temperature. However, the most effective means is to use a fuel with high research octane number (RON). Methanol has a RON of 109 and a recent study found that methanol can be used effectively in PPC mode, with multiple injections, to yield high brake efficiency. However, the early start of injection (SOI) timings in this study were noted as a potential issue due to increased combustion sensitivity. Therefore, the present study attempts to quantify the changes in engine performance for different injection strategies.
Technical Paper

Literature Review on Dual-Fuel Combustion Modelling

In the search for low greenhouse gas propulsion, the dual fuel engine provides a solution to use low carbon fuel at diesel-like high efficiency. Also a lower emission of NOx and particles can be achieved by replacing a substantial part of the diesel fuel by for example natural gas. Limitations can be found in excessively high heat release rate (combustion-knock), and high methane emissions. These limitations are strongly influenced by operating parameters and properties of the used (bio)-gas. To find the dominant relations between fuel properties, operating parameters and the heat release rate and methane emissions, a combustion model is beneficial. Such a model can be used for optimizing the process, or can even be used in real time control. As precursor for such a model, the current state of art of dual fuel combustion modelling is investigated in this work. The focus is on high speed dual fuel engines for heavy duty and marine applications, with a varying gas/diesel ratio.
Technical Paper

Spray Parameter Comparison between Diesel and Vegetable Oils for Non-Evaporating Conditions

The internal combustion engine with compression ignition is still the most important power plant for heavy duty transport, railway transport, marine applications and generator sets. Fuel cost and emission regulations drive manufacturers to switch to alternative fuels. The understanding and prediction of these fuels in the spray and combustion process will be very important for these issues. In the past, lot of research was done for conventional diesel fuel by optically analyzing both spray and combustion. However comparison between different groups is difficult since qualitative results and accuracies are depending in the used definitions and methods. The goal of present research is to verify the behavior pure oils compared to more standard fuels while paying lot of attention to the interpretation of the measurement results.
Technical Paper

Evaluation of Wall Heat Flux Models for Full Cycle CFD Simulation of Internal Combustion Engines under Motoring Operation

The present work details a study of the heat flux through the walls of an internal combustion engine. The determination of this heat flux is an important aspect in engine optimization, as it influences the power, efficiency and the emissions of the engine. Therefore, a set of simulation tools in the OpenFOAM® software has been developed, that allows the calculation of the heat transfer through engine walls for ICEs. Normal practice in these types of engine simulations is to apply a wall function model to calculate the heat flux, rather than resolving the complete thermo-viscous boundary layer, and perform simulations of the closed engine cycle. When dealing with a complex engine, this methodology will reduce the overall computational cost. It however increases the need to rely on assumptions on both the initial flow field and the behavior in the near-wall region.
Technical Paper

Experimental Evaluation of Lean-burn and EGR as Load Control Strategies for Methanol Engines

The use of light alcohols as SI engine fuels can help to increase energy security and offer the prospect of carbon neutral transport. These fuels enable improvements in engine performance and efficiency as several investigations have demonstrated. Further improvements in efficiency can be expected when switching from throttled stoichiometric operation to strategies using mixture richness or exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) to control load while maintaining wide open throttle (WOT). In this work the viability of throttleless load control using EGR (WOT EGR) or mixture richness (WOT lean burn) as operating strategies for methanol engines was experimentally verified. Experiments performed on a single-cylinder engine confirmed that the EGR dilution and lean burn limit of methanol are significantly higher than for gasoline. On methanol, both alternative load control strategies enable relative indicated efficiency improvements of about 5% compared to throttled stoichiometric operation.
Technical Paper

Development of Laminar Burning Velocity Correlation for the Simulation of Methanol Fueled SI Engines Operated with Onboard Fuel Reformer

Methanol fueled spark ignition (SI) engines have the potential for very high efficiency using an advanced heat recovery system for fuel reforming. In order to allow simulation of such an engine system, several sub-models are needed. This paper reports the development of two laminar burning velocity correlations, corresponding to two reforming concepts, one in which the reformer uses water from an extra tank to produce hydrogen rich gas (syngas) and another that employs the water vapor in the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) stream to produce reformed-EGR (R-EGR). This work uses a one-dimensional (1D) flame simulation tool with a comprehensive chemical kinetic mechanism to predict the laminar burning velocities of methanol/syngas blends and correlate it. The syngas is a mixture of H2/CO/CO2 with a CO selectivity of 6.5% to simulate the methanol steam reforming products over a Cu-Mn/Al catalyst.