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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

The Potential for Reducing CO and NOx Emissions from an HCCI Engine Using H2O2 Addition

The effects of hydrogen peroxide addition on iso-octane/air Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) combustion have been investigated analytically. Particular attention was focused on the predications involving homogeneous gas-phase kinetics. Use was made of Peters' iso-octane mechanism in CHEMKIN and convective heat transfer was included in the analyses. This enabled the influences that H2O2 addition has on species concentration and ignition promotion and hence exhaust emissions to be determined. It was found that both CO and NOx emission levels could be ameliorated. The former effect is considered to be a result of the decomposition of H2O2 into OH intermediate species and hence reducing the time to ignition and the onset of combustion.
Technical Paper

The Impact of Intake Dilution and Combustion Phasing on the Combustion Stability of a Diesel Engine

Abstract Conventionally, the diesel fuel ignites spontaneously following the injection event. The combustion and injection often overlap with a very short ignition delay. Diesel engines therefore offer superior combustion stability characterized by the low cycle-to-cycle variations. However, the enforcement of the stringent emission regulations necessitates the implementation of innovative diesel combustion concepts such as the low temperature combustion (LTC) to achieve ultra-low engine-out pollutants. In stark contrast to the conventional diesel combustion, the enabling of LTC requires enhanced air fuel mixing and hence a longer ignition delay is desired. Such a decoupling of the combustion events from the fuel injection can potentially cause ignition discrepancy and ultimately lead to combustion cyclic variations.
Technical Paper

The Effect of High-Power Capacitive Spark Discharge on the Ignition and Flame Propagation in a Lean and Diluted Cylinder Charge

Abstract Research studies have suggested that changes to the ignition system are required to generate a more robust flame kernel in order to secure the ignition process for the future advanced high efficiency spark-ignition (SI) engines. In a typical inductive ignition system, the spark discharge is initiated by a transient high-power electrical breakdown and sustained by a relatively low-power glow process. The electrical breakdown is characterized as a capacitive discharge process with a small quantity of energy coming mainly from the gap parasitic capacitor. Enhancement of the breakdown is a potential avenue effectively for extending the lean limit of SI engine. In this work, the effect of high-power capacitive spark discharge on the early flame kernel growth of premixed methane-air mixtures is investigated through electrical probing and optical diagnosis.
Technical Paper

Suitability Study of n-Butanol for Enabling PCCI and HCCI and RCCI Combustion on a High Compression-ratio Diesel Engine

This work investigates the suitability of n-butanol for enabling PCCI, HCCI, and RCCI combustion modes to achieve clean and efficient combustion on a high compression ratio (18.2:1) diesel engine. Systematic engine tests are conducted at low and medium engine loads (6∼8 bar IMEP) and at a medium engine speed of 1500 rpm. Test results indicate that n-butanol is more suitable than diesel to enable PCCI and HCCI combustion with the same engine hardware. However, the combustion phasing control for n-butanol is demanding due to the high combustion sensitivity to variations in engine operating conditions where engine safety concerns (e.g. excessive pressure rise rates) potentially arise. While EGR is the primary measure to control the combustion phasing of n-butanol HCCI, the timing control of n-butanol direct injection in PCCI provides an additional leverage to properly phase the n-butanol combustion.
Technical Paper

Study of Low Temperature Combustion with Neat n-Butanol on a Common-rail Diesel Engine

Abstract This study investigates neat n-butanol, as a cleaner power source, to directly replace conventional diesel fuels for enabling low temperature combustion on a modern common-rail diesel engine. Engine tests are performed at medium engine loads (6∼8 bar IMEP) with the single-shot injection strategy for both n-butanol and diesel fuels. As indicated by the experimental results, the combustion of neat n-butanol offers comparable engine efficiency to that of diesel while producing substantially lower NOx emissions even without the use of exhaust gas recirculation. The greater resistance to auto-ignition allows n-butanol to undergo a prolonged ignition delay for air-fuel mixing; the high volatility helps to enhance the cylinder charge homogeneity; the fuel-borne oxygen contributes to smoke reduction and, as a result, the smoke emissions of n-butanol combustion are generally at a near-zero level under the tested engine operating conditions.
Technical Paper

Study of Heat Release Shaping via Dual-Chamber Piston Bowl Design to Improve Ethanol-Diesel Combustion Performance

Abstract In this work, an innovative piston bowl design that physically divides the combustion chamber into a central zone and a peripheral zone is employed to assist the control of the ethanol-diesel combustion process via heat release shaping. The spatial combustion zone partition divides the premixed ethanol-air mixture into two portions, and the combustion event (timing and extent) of each portion can be controlled by the temporal diesel injection scheduling. As a result, the heat release profile of ethanol-diesel dual-fuel combustion is properly shaped to avoid excessive pressure rise rates and thus to improve the engine performance. The investigation is carried out through theoretical simulation study and empirical engine tests. Parametric simulation is first performed to evaluate the effects of heat release shaping on combustion noise and engine efficiency and to provide boundary conditions for subsequent engine tests.
Technical Paper

Spark Ignition Circuit Energy Characterization based on a Simplified Model and Measurement Analysis

Abstract The spark ignition circuit inside an internal combustion engine system is the source which provides the initiation energy required for triggering combustion in a spark ignition (SI) engine in-cylinder air/fuel mixture. Proper spark phasing and adequate spark energy release in spark ignited combustion would yield significant combustion efficiency improvement and affect the in-cylinder production species composition. In this work a simplified spark ignition circuit model constructed based on circuit theorems is proposed. Measurements on how ignition pressure, secondary circuit series resistance and dwell duration would affect the ignition energy migration are presented. Simulations using the proposed model have also demonstrated similar energy migration trends to measurement results which show the influences caused by different secondary series resistance and dwell durations.
Technical Paper

Simultaneous Reductions of Smoke and NOx from a DI Diesel Engine with EGR and Dimethyl Carbonate

Extensive experiments were conducted on a low emission DI diesel engine by using Dimethyl Carbonate (DMC) as an oxygenate fuel additive. The results indicated that smoke reduced almost linearly with fuel oxygen content. Accompanying noticeable reductions of HC and CO were attained, while a small increase in NOx was encountered. The effective reduction in smoke with DMC was maintained with intake charge CO2, which led to low NOx and smoke emissions by the combined use of oxygenated fuel and exhaust gas recirculation (EGR). Further experiments were conducted on an optically accessible combustion bomb and a thermal cracking set-up to study the mechanisms of DMC addition on smoke reduction.
Technical Paper

Renewable Ethanol Use for Enabling High Load Clean Combustion in a Diesel Engine

As a renewable energy source, the ethanol fuel was employed with a diesel fuel in this study to improve the cylinder charge homogeneity for high load operations, targeting on ultra-low nitrogen oxides (NOx) and smoke emissions. A light-duty diesel engine is configured to adapt intake port fuelling of the ethanol fuel while keeping all other original engine components intact. High load experiments are performed to investigate the combustion control and low emission enabling without sacrificing the high compression ratio (18.2:1). The intake boost, exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and injection pressure are independently controlled, and thus their effects on combustion and emission characteristics of the high load operation are investigated individually. The low temperature combustion is accomplished at high engine load (16~17 bar IMEP) with regulation compatible NOx and soot emissions.
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.
Journal Article

Preliminary Investigation of Exhaust Pressure Waves in a Single Cylinder Diesel Engine and the Impacts on Aftertreatment Sprays

Abstract The pressure wave actions were investigated in the exhaust system of a single cylinder diesel engine through both experimental and simulation methods. The characteristics of the exhaust pressure waves under different engine operating conditions, such as engine load and exhaust backpressure, were examined. The results showed that the strength of the exhaust pressure wave was affected by both the in-cylinder pressure and the exhaust backpressure in the exhaust system during the period when the exhaust valves were open. The exhaust gas flow velocity was also estimated by the one dimensional simulation tool AVL BOOST™. The results suggested that the velocity of the exhaust gas fluctuated during the engine cycle, and followed trends similar to the exhaust pressure wave. The transient gas flow velocity was high when there was a strong compression wave, and it was reduced when the pressure fluctuations in the exhaust manifold were small.
Technical Paper

Preliminary Energy Efficiency Analysis of an EGR Fuel-Reformer

Diesel engine exhausts commonly contain a high level of surplus oxygen and a significant amount of thermal energy. In this study the authors have theoretically investigated a way of utilizing the thermal energy and the surplus oxygen of exhaust gases to produce gaseous fuel in a rich combustor placed in an exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) loop. In the rich combustor, a small amount of diesel fuel will be catalytically reformed on a palladium/platinum based catalyst to produce hydrogen and carbon monoxide. Since the catalytic EGR reformer is incorporated in the EGR loop, it enables the partial recovery of exhaust heat. The gaseous fuel produced in the rich combustor can be brought back into the engine in a pre-mixed condition, potentially reducing soot formation. The preliminary energy efficiency analysis has been performed by using CHEMKIN and an in-house engine simulation software SAES.
Technical Paper

Preliminary Energy Efficiency Analyses of Diesel EGR Fuel Reforming with Flow Reversal and Central Fuelling

The diesel fuel reforming process in an exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) loop of a diesel engine is capable of utilizing the engine exhaust energy to support the endothermic process of hydrogen gas generation. However, the EGR stream commonly needs to be heated to enable the operation of the reformer and thus to sustain higher yield of hydrogen. A central-fuelling and flow-reversal embedment that is energy-efficient to raise the central temperatures of the catalytic flow-bed is therefore devised and tested to drastically reduce the supplemental heating to the EGR reformer. One-dimensional modeling analyses are conducted to evaluate the fuel delivery strategies and temperature profiles of the reformer at various reforming gas flow rates and engine-out exhaust temperatures and compositions. This research attempts to quantify the energy saving by the catalytic flow-reversal and central-fuelling embedment in comparison to a unidirectional flow EGR reformer.
Technical Paper

Parametric Analysis of Ignition Circuit Components on Spark Discharge Characteristics

Abstract The development of the present day spark ignition (SI) engines has imposed higher demands for on-board ignition systems. Proper design of the ignition system circuit is required to achieve certain spark performances. In this paper, the authors studied the relationship between spark discharge characteristics and different inductive spark ignition circuit parameters with the help of a simplified circuit model. The circuit model catches the principle behavior of the spark discharge process. Simulation results obtained from the model were compared with experimental data for model verification. Different circuit model parameters were then tuned to study the effect of those on spark discharge current and spark energy properties. The parameters studied include the ignition coil coupling coefficient, ignition coil primary and secondary inductances, secondary circuit series resistance and spark plug gap width.
Technical Paper

Novel Catalytic Converter for Natural Gas Powered Diesel Engines

A novel catalytic converter technology, employing periodical reversal of gas flow through the oxidation catalyst monolith, is being developed for treatment of exhaust gas from diesel engines fueled by natural gas in combination with diesel fuel. This technology allows to trap heat energy inside the monolith and thus efficiently destroy methane at converter inlet temperature as low as ambient. This paper describes the results of the initial stage of the converter development, including development of the mathematical model, computer simulation, and prototype testing. Simulation results indicate that dual fuel engine equipped with the reverse-flow converter could exceed the required destruction standards for hydrocarbons, including methane.
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

Model Predictive Control of Exhaust Gas Recirculation Valve

Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) valves have been used in diesel engine operation to reduce NOx emissions. In EGR valve operation, the amount of exhaust gas re-circulating back into the intake manifold is controlled through the open position of the valve plate to keep the combustion temperature lower for NOx emission reduction. Different methods have been proposed to control the EGR valve. However, most of the approaches do not have the desired accuracy and the response time, which is critical for the after-treatment performance in low temperature diesel combustion. In this paper, the model of a motor driven EGR valve is first identified through experiments and then the Generalized Predictive Control (GPC) method which is an effective Model Predictive Control (MPC) method is applied to control the plate position of the valve.
Technical Paper

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

Abstract 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.