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Journal Article

Using Hythane as a Fuel in a 6-Cylinder Stoichiometric Natural-gas Engine

Combination of right EGR rates with turbocharging has been identified as a promising way to increase the maximum load and efficiency of heavy duty spark-ignited natural gas engines. With stoichiometric conditions a three way catalyst can be used which means that regulated emissions can be kept at very low levels. However dilution limit is limited in these types of engines because of the lower burnings rate of natural gas with higher EGR rates. One way to extend the dilution limit of a natural gas engine is to run the engine with Hythane (natural gas+ some percentage hydrogen). Previously benefits of hydrogen addition to a Lean Burn natural-gas fueled engine was investigated [1] however a complete study for stoichiometric operation was not performed. This paper presents measurements made on a heavy duty 6-cylinder natural gas engine.
Technical Paper

The Potential of Using the Ion-Current Signal for Optimizing Engine Stability - Comparisons of Lean and EGR (Stoichiometric) Operation

Ion current measurements can give information useful for controlling the combustion stability in a multi-cylinder engine. Operation near the dilution limit (air or EGR) can be achieved and it can be optimized individually for the cylinders, resulting in a system with better engine stability for highly diluted mixtures. This method will also compensate for engine wear, e.g. changes in volumetric efficiency and fuel injector characteristics. Especially in a port injected engine, changes in fuel injector characteristics can lead to increased emissions and deteriorated engine performance when operating with a closed-loop lambda control system. One problem using the ion-current signal to control engine stability near the lean limit is the weak signal resulting in low signal to noise ratio. Measurements presented in this paper were made on a turbocharged 9.6 liter six cylinder natural gas engine with port injection.
Technical Paper

The Importance of High-Frequency, Small-Eddy Turbulence in Spark Ignited, Premixed Engine Combustion

The different roles played by small and large eddies in engine combustion were studied. Experiments compared natural gas combustion in a converted, single cylinder Volvo TD 102 engine and in a 125 mm cubical cell. Turbulence is used to enhance flame growth, ideally giving better efficiency and reduced cyclic variation. Both engine and test cell results showed that flame growth rate correlated best with the level of high frequency, small eddy turbulence. The more effective, small eddy turbulence also tended to lower cyclic variations. Large scales and bulk flows convected the flame relative to cool surfaces and were most important to the initial flame kernel.
Technical Paper

The Effect of Valve Strategy on In-Cylinder Flow and Combustion

This study is focused on the effect of different valve strategies on the in-cylinder flow and combustion A conventional four-valve pentroof engine was modified to enable optical access to the combustion chamber To get information on the flow, a two-component LDV system was applied The combustion was monitored by the use of cylinder pressure in a one-zone heat release model The results show that the flow in the cylinder with the valves operating in the standard configuration has an expected tumble characteristic In this case the high frequency turbulence is homogeneous and has a peak approximately 20 CAD BTDC With one valve deactivated, the flow shows a swirling pattern The turbulence is then less homogeneous but the level of turbulence is increased When the single inlet valve was phased late against the crankshaft dramatic effects on the flow resulted The late inlet valve opening introduced a low cylinder pressure before the valve opened The high pressure difference across the valve introduced a high-velocity jet into the cylinder Turbulence was increased by a factor of two by this operational mode When two inlet valves were used, a reduction of turbulence resulted from a very late inlet cam phase
Technical Paper

The Effect of Transfer Port Geometry on Scavenge Flow Velocities at High Engine Speed

2-D LDV measurements were performed on two different cylinder designs in a fired two-stroke engine running with wide-open throttle at 9000 rpm. The cylinders examined were one with open transfer channels and one with cup handle transfer channels. Optical access to the cylinder was achieved by removing the silencer and thereby gain optical access through the exhaust port. No addition of seeding was made, since the fuel droplets were not entirely vaporized as they entered the cylinder and thus served as seeding. Results show that the loop-scavenging effect was poor with open transfer channels, but clearly detectable with cup handle channels. The RMS-value, “turbulence”, was low close to the transfer ports in both cylinders, but increased rapidly in the middle of the cylinder. The seeding density was used to obtain information about the fuel concentration in the cylinder during scavenging.
Technical Paper

The Effect of Swirl on Spark Assisted Compression Ignition (SACI)

Auto ignition with SI compression ratio can be achieved by retaining hot residuals, replacing some of the fresh charge. In this experimental work it is achieved by running with a negative valve overlap (NVO) trapping hot residuals. The experimental engine is equipped with a pneumatic valve train making it possible to change valve lift, phasing and duration, as well as running with valve deactivation. This makes it possible to start in SI mode, and then by increasing the NVO, thus raising the initial charge temperature it is possible to investigate the intermediate domain between SI and HCCI. The engine is then running in spark assisted HCCI mode, or spark assisted compression ignition (SACI) mode that is an acronym that describes the combustion on the borderline between SI and HCCI. In this study the effect of changing the in-cylinder flow pattern by increased swirl is studied. This is achieved by deactivating one of the two intake valves.
Technical Paper

The Effect of In-Cylinder Flow and Turbulence on HCCI Operation

The effect of in-cylinder flow and turbulence on HCCI operation has been experimentally studied by changing the combustion chamber geometry and the swirl ratio. Four different levels of turbulence were achieved, by altering the swirl ratio both for a high turbulent square bowl-in-piston combustion chamber and for a low turbulent disc combustion chamber. The swirl ratio was altered by using different inlet port designs. The results showed that the combustion chamber geometry plays a large role in HCCI combustion. With the same operating conditions, the combustion duration for the square bowl-in-piston combustion chamber was much longer compared to the disc combustion chamber. On the other hand, a moderate change in swirl ratio proved to have only modest effect on the combustion process. With early combustion timing, the gross indicated efficiency was higher when the square bowl-in-piston combustion chamber.
Technical Paper

Supercharged Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) with Exhaust Gas Recirculation and Pilot Fuel

In an attempt to extend the upper load limit for Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI), supercharging in combination with Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) have been applied. Two different boost pressures were used, 1.1 bar and 1.5 bar. High EGR rates were used in order to reduce the combustion rate. The highest obtained IMEP was 16 bar. This was achieved with the higher boost pressure, at close to stoichiometric conditions and with approximately 50 % EGR. Natural gas was used as the main fuel. In the case with the higher boost pressure, iso-octane was used as pilot fuel, to improve the ignition properties of the mixture. This made it possible to use a lower compression ratio and thereby reducing the maximum cylinder pressure. The tests were performed on a single cylinder engine operated at low speed (1000 rpm). The test engine was equipped with a modified cylinder head, having a Variable Compression Ratio (VCR) mechanism.
Technical Paper

Supercharged Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition

The Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) is the third alternative for combustion in the reciprocating engine. Here, a homogeneous charge is used as in a spark ignited engine, but the charge is compressed to auto-ignition as in a diesel. The main difference compared with the Spark Ignition (SI) engine is the lack of flame propagation and hence the independence from turbulence. Compared with the diesel engine, HCCI has a homogeneous charge and hence no problems associated with soot and NOX formation. Earlier research on HCCI showed high efficiency and very low amounts of NOX, but HC and CO were higher than in SI mode. It was not possible to achieve high IMEP values with HCCI, the limit being 5 bar. Supercharging is one way to dramatically increase IMEP. The influence of supercharging on HCCI was therefore experimentally investigated. Three different fuels were used during the experiments: iso-octane, ethanol and natural gas.
Technical Paper

Study on Combustion Chamber Geometry Effects in an HCCI Engine Using High-Speed Cycle-Resolved Chemiluminescence Imaging

The aim of this study is to see how geometry generated turbulence affects the Rate of Heat Release (ROHR) in an HCCI engine. HCCI combustion is limited in load due to high peak pressures and too fast combustion. If the speed of combustion can be decreased the load range can be extended. Therefore two different combustion chamber geometries were investigated, one with a disc shape and one with a square bowl in piston. The later one provokes squish-generated gas flow into the bowl causing turbulence. The disc shaped combustion chamber was used as a reference case. Combustion duration and ROHR were studied using heat release analysis. A Scania D12 Diesel engine, converted to port injected HCCI with ethanol was used for the experiments. An engine speed of 1200 rpm was applied throughout the tests. The effect of air/fuel ratio and combustion phasing was also studied.
Journal Article

Study of the Early Flame Development in a Spark-Ignited Lean Burn Four-Stroke Large Bore Gas Engine by Fuel Tracer PLIF

In this work the pre- to main chamber ignition process is studied in a Wärtsilä 34SG spark-ignited lean burn four-stroke large bore optical engine (bore 340 mm) operating on natural gas. Unburnt and burnt gas regions in planar cross-sections of the combustion chamber are identified by means of planar laser induced fluorescence (PLIF) from acetone seeded to the fuel. The emerging jets from the pre-chamber, the ignition process and early flame propagation are studied. Measurements reveal the presence of a significant temporal delay between the occurrence of a pressure difference across the pre-chamber holes and the appearance of hot burnt/burning gases at the nozzle exit. Variations in the delay affect the combustion timing and duration. The combustion rate in the pre-chamber does not influence the jet propagation speed, although it still has an effect on the overall combustion duration.
Technical Paper

Simulation of HCCI – Addressing Compression Ratio and Turbo Charging

This paper focuses on the performance and efficiency of an HCCI (Homogenous Charge Compression Ignition) engine system running on natural gas or landfill gas for stationary applications. Zero dimensional modeling and simulation of the engine, turbo, inlet and exhaust manifolds and inlet air conditioner (intercooler/heater) are used to study the effect of compression ratio and exhaust turbine size on maximum mean effective pressure and efficiency. The extended Zeldovich mechanism is used to estimate NO-formation in order to determine operation limits. Detailed chemical kinetics is used to predict ignition timing. Simulation of the in-cylinder process gives a minimum λ-value of 2.4 for natural gas, regardless of compression ratio. This is restricted by the NO formation for richer mixtures. Lower compression ratios allow higher inlet pressure and hence higher load, but it also reduces indicated efficiency.
Journal Article

Sensitivity Analysis Study on Ethanol Partially Premixed Combustion

Partially Premixed Combustion (PPC) is a combustion concept which aims to provide combustion with low smoke and NOx with high thermal efficiency. Extending the ignition delay to enhance the premixing, avoiding spray-driven combustion and controlling the combustion temperature at an optimum level through use of suitable lambda and EGR levels have been recognized as key factors to achieve such a combustion. Fuels with high ignitability resistance have been proven to be a useful to extend the ignition delay. In this work pure ethanol has been used as a PPC fuel. The objective of this research was initially to investigate the required operating conditions for PPC with ethanol. Additionally, a sensitivity analysis was performed to understand how the required parameters for ethanol PPC such as lambda, EGR rate, injection pressure and inlet temperature influence the combustion in terms of controllability, stability, emissions (i.e.
Technical Paper

Scalability Aspects of Pre-Chamber Ignition in Heavy Duty Natural Gas Engines

This article presents a study related to application of pre-chamber ignition system in heavy duty natural gas engine which, as previously shown by the authors, can extend the limit of fuel-lean combustion and hence improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. A previous study about the effect of pre-chamber volume and nozzle diameter on a single cylinder 2 liter truck-size engine resulted in recommendations for optimal pre-chamber geometry settings. The current study is to determine the dependency of those settings on the engine size. For this study, experiments are performed on a single cylinder 9 liter large bore marine engine with similar pre-chamber geometry and a test matrix of similar and scaled pre-chamber volume and nozzle diameter settings. The effect of these variations on main chamber ignition and the following combustion is studied to understand the scalability aspects of pre-chamber ignition. Indicated efficiency and engine-out emission data is also presented.
Journal Article

SI Gas Engine: Evaluation of Engine Performance, Efficiency and Emissions Comparing Producer Gas and Natural Gas

The Technical University of Denmark, DTU, has designed, built and tested a gasifier [1, 8] that is fuelled with wood chips and achieves a 93% conversion efficiency from wood to producer gas. By combining the gasifier with an ICE and an electric generator a co-generative system can be realized that produces electricity and heat. The gasifier uses the waste heat from the engine for drying and pyrolysis of the wood chips while the gas produced is used to fuel the engine. To achieve high efficiency in converting biomass to electricity an engine is needed that is adapted to high efficiency operation using the specific producer gas from the DTU gasifier. So far the majority of gas engines have been designed and optimized for operation on natural gas. The presented work uses a modern and highly efficient truck sized natural gas engine to investigate efficiency, emissions and general performance while operating on producer gas compared to natural gas operation.
Technical Paper

Residual Gas Visualization with Laser Induced Fluorescence

The influence of residual gases on the cycle-to-cycle variations in engine combustion was investigated. Two-photon planar laser-induced fluorescence was used for 2D-visualization of residual gas water. In order to avoid influence from fuel fluorescence and inhomogeneities premixed natural gas was used as fuel. Measurements were conducted at different load conditions with varying inlet manifold pressure. To find out how the residual gas distribution influences the combustion process the pressure development during combustion was monitored. From the pressure information a measure of the combustion rate at different phases of the flame development was calculated. The correlation between residual gas distribution and combustion rate was evaluated on a cycle to cycle basis. The results show that with an inlet manifold pressure of 0.3 bar the correlation between residual gas fraction and rate of combustion were 0.5-0.6. At full load though, lower correlation was found.
Technical Paper

Reducing the Cycle-Cycle Variability of a Natural Gas Engine Using Controlled Ignition Current

Running an internal combustion engine with diluted methane/air mixtures has a potential of reducing emissions and increasing efficiency. However, diluted mixtures need high ignition energy in a sufficiently large volume, which is difficult to accomplish. Increasing the spark duration has shown to be a promising way of delivering more energy into the diluted charge, but this requires a more sophisticated ignition system. This work focuses on evaluating the effects regarding enhancing early flame development, reducing cyclic variations and extending the lean limit using a new capacitive ignition system as compared to a conventional inductive ignition system. The new system offers the opportunity to customise the spark by altering the electric pulse train characteristics choosing the number of pulses, the length of the individual pulses as well as the time delay between them.
Technical Paper

Reducing Throttle Losses Using Variable Geometry Turbine (VGT) in a Heavy-Duty Spark-Ignited Natural Gas Engine

Stoichiometric operation of Spark Ignited (SI) Heavy Duty Natural Gas (HDNG) engines with a three way catalyst results in very low emissions however they suffer from bad gas-exchange efficiency due to use of throttle which results in high throttling losses. Variable Geometry Turbine (VGT) is a good practice to reduce throttling losses in a certain operating region of the engine. VTG technology is extensively used in diesel engines; it is very much ignored in gasoline engines however it is possible and advantageous to be used on HDNG engine due to their relatively low exhaust gas temperature. Exhaust gas temperatures in HDNG engines are low enough (lower than 760 degree Celsius) and tolerable for VGT material. Traditionally HDNG are equipped with a turbocharger with waste-gate but it is easy and simple to replace the by-pass turbocharger with a well-matched VGT.
Technical Paper

Quantitative Analysis of the Relation between Flame Structure and Turbulence in HCCI Combustion by Two-Dimensional Temperature Measurement

The structure of HCCI (homogeneous charge compression ignition) combustion flames was quantitatively analyzed by measuring the two-dimensional gas temperature distribution using phosphor thermometry. It was found from the relation between a turbulent Reynolds number and Karlovitz number that, when compared with the flame propagation in an S.I. engine, HCCI combustion has a wider flame structure with respect to the turbulence scale. As a result of our experimentation for the influence of low temperature reaction (LTR) using two types of fuel, it was also confirmed that different types of fuel produce different histories of flame kernel structure.
Technical Paper

Operation strategy of a Dual Fuel HCCI Engine with VGT

HCCI combustion is well known and much results regarding its special properties have been published. Publications comparing the performance of different HCCI engines and comparing HCCI engines to conventional engines have indicated special features of HCCI engines regarding, among other things, emissions, efficiency and special feedback-control requirements. This paper attempts to contribute to the common knowledge of HCCI engines by describing an operational strategy suitable for a dual-fuel port-injected Heavy Duty HCCI engine equipped with a variable geometry turbo charger. Due to the special properties of HCCI combustion a specific operational strategy has to be adopted for the engine operation parameters (in this case combustion phasing and boost pressure). The low exhaust temperature of HCCI engines limits the benefits of turbo charging and causes pumping losses which means that “the more the merrier” principle does not apply to intake pressure for HCCI engines.