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Technical Paper

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Low Temperature Combustion of Neat Biodiesel Fuel on a Common-rail Diesel Engine

The fatty acid alkyl esters derived from plants, rendered fats/oils and waste restaurant greases, commonly known as biodiesel, are renewable alternative fuels that may fulfill the demand gap caused by the depleting fossil diesel fuels. The combustion and emission characteristics of neat biodiesel fuels were investigated on a single cylinder of a 4-cylinder Ford common-rail direct injection diesel engine, which cylinder has been configured to have independent exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), boost and back pressures and exhaust gas sampling. The fatty acid methyl esters derived from Canola oil, soybean oil, tallow and yellow grease were first blended. Biodiesel engine tests were then conducted under the independent control of the fuel injection, EGR, boost and back pressure to achieve the low temperature combustion mode. Multi-pulse early-injections were employed to modulate the homogeneity history of the cylinder charge.
Journal Article

Impact of Fuelling Techniques on Neat n-Butanol Combustion and Emissions in a Compression Ignition Engine

This study investigated neat n-butanol combustion, emissions and thermal efficiency characteristics in a compression ignition (CI) engine by using two fuelling techniques - port fuel injection (PFI) and direct injection (DI). Diesel fuel was used in this research for reference. The engine tests were conducted on a single-cylinder four-stroke DI diesel engine with a compression ratio of 18.2 : 1. An n-Butanol PFI system was installed to study the combustion characteristics of Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI). A common-rail fuel injection system was used to conduct the DI tests with n-butanol and diesel. 90 MPa injection pressure was used for the DI tests. The engine was run at 1500 rpm. The intake boost pressure, engine load, exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) ratio, and DI timing were independently controlled to investigate the engine performance.
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.
Technical Paper

Ignition Control of Gasoline-Diesel Dual Fuel Combustion

The use of gasoline fuels in compression ignition engines, with or without diesel pilots, has shown encouraging progress in engine efficiency and emissions. The dual fuel combustion of gasoline-diesel offers the flexibility of modulating the cylinder charge reactivity, but an accurate and reliable control over the ignition in the dual fuel applications is more challenging than in classical engines. In this work, the gasoline-diesel dual fuel operation is investigated on a single cylinder research engine. The effects of the intake boost, exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) rates, diesel/gasoline ratio, and diesel injection timing are studied in regard to the ignition control. The results indicate that at low load, a diesel pilot can improve the cylinder charge reactivity and reduce emissions of incomplete combustion products.
Journal Article

Fuel Injection Strategies to Improve Emissions and Efficiency of High Compression Ratio Diesel Engines

Simultaneous low NOx (< 0.15 g/kWh) & soot (< 0.01 g/kWh) are attainable for enhanced premixed combustion that may lead to higher levels of hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide emissions as the engine cycles move to low temperature combustion, which is a departure from the ultra low hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions, typical of the high compression ratio diesel engines. As a result, the fuel efficiency of such modes of combustion is also compromised (up to 5%). In this paper, advanced strategies for fuel injection are devised on a modern 4-cylinder common rail diesel engine modified for single cylinder research. Thermal efficiency comparisons are made between the low temperature combustion and the conventional diesel cycles. The fuel injection strategies include single injection with heavy EGR, and early multi-pulse fuel injection under low or medium engine loads respectively.
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.
Technical Paper

Exhaust Hydrocarbon Speciation from a Single-Cylinder Compression Ignition Engine Operating with In-Cylinder Blending of Gasoline and Diesel Fuels

Diesel aided by gasoline low temperature combustion offers low NOx and low soot emissions, and further provides the potential to expand engine load range and improve engine efficiency. The diesel-gasoline operation however yields high unburned hydrocarbons (UHC) and carbon monoxide (CO) emissions. This study aims to correlate the chemical origins of the key hydrocarbon species detected in the engine exhaust under diesel-gasoline operation. It further aims to help develop strategies to lower the hydrocarbon emissions while retaining the low NOx, low soot, and efficiency benefits. A single-cylinder research engine was used to conduct the engine experiments at a constant engine load of 10 bar nIMEP with a fixed engine speed of 1600 rpm. Engine exhaust was sampled with a FTIR analyzer for speciation investigation.
Technical Paper

Empirical Study of Energy in Diesel Combustion Emissions with EGR Application

Modern diesel engines were known for producing ultra-low levels of hydrogen and hydrocarbons. However, as emission control techniques such as exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) are implemented to meet stringent NOx standards, the resulting increase in partial-combustion products can be significant in quantity both as pollutants and sources of lost engine efficiency. In this work, a modern common-rail diesel engine was configured to investigate the EGR threshold for elevated carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon, and hydrogen emissions at fixed loads and fixed heat-release phasing. It is noted that increase in hydrocarbons, in particular light hydrocarbons (such as methane, ethylene, and acetylene) was concurrent with ultra-low NOx emissions. Hydrogen gas can be emitted in significant quantities with the application of very high EGR. Under ultra-low NOx production conditions for medium and high load conditions, the light hydrocarbon species can account for the majority of hydrocarbon emissions.
Technical Paper

Early Pilot Injection Strategies for Reactivity Control in Diesel-ethanol Dual Fuel Combustion

This paper examines the diesel-ethanol dual fuel combustion at medium engine loads on a single-cylinder research diesel engine with a compression ratio of 16.5:1. The effect of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and ethanol energy ratio was investigated for the dual fuel combustion to achieve simultaneously ultra-low NOx and soot emissions. A medium ethanol ratio of about 0.6 was found suitable to meet the requirements for mixing enhancement and ignition control, which resulted in the lowest NOx and soot emissions among the tested ethanol ratios. A double-pilot injection strategy was found competent to lower the pressure rise rate owing to the reduced fuel quantity in the close-to-TDC injection. The advancement of pilot injection timing tended to reduce the CO and THC emissions, which is deemed beneficial for high EGR operations. The reactivity mutual-modulation between the diesel pilot and the background ethanol mixture was identified.
Technical Paper

Clean Combustion in a Diesel Engine Using Direct Injection of Neat n-Butanol

The study investigated the characteristics of the combustion, the emissions and the thermal efficiency of a direct injection diesel engine fuelled with neat n-butanol. Engine tests were conducted on a single cylinder four-stroke direct injection diesel engine. The engine ran at 6.5 bar IMEP and 1500 rpm engine speed. The intake pressure was boosted to 1.0 bar (gauge), and the injection pressure was controlled at 60 or 90 MPa. The injection timing and the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) rate were adjusted to investigate the engine performance. The effect of the engine load on the engine performance was also investigated. The test results showed that the n-butanol fuel had significantly longer ignition delay than that of diesel fuel. n-Butanol generally led to a rapid heat release pattern in a short period, which resulted in an excessively high pressure rise rate. The pressure rise rate could be moderated by retarding the injection timing and lowering the injection pressure.
Technical Paper

An Enabling Study of Neat n-Butanol HCCI Combustion on a High Compression-ratio Diesel Engine

This work investigates the benefits and challenges of enabling neat n-butanol HCCI combustion on a high compression ratio (18.2:1) diesel engine. Minor engine modifications are made to implement n-butanol port injection while other engine components are kept intact. The impacts of the fuel change, from diesel to n-butanol, are examined through steady-state engine tests with independent control of the intake boost and exhaust gas recirculation. As demonstrated by the test results, the HCCI combustion of a thoroughly premixed n-butanol/air lean mixture offers near-zero smoke and ultralow NOx emissions even without the use of exhaust gas recirculation and produces comparable engine efficiencies to those of conventional diesel high temperature combustion. The test results also manifest the control challenges of running a neat alcohol fuel in the HCCI combustion mode.
Journal Article

An Enabling Study of Diesel Low Temperature Combustion via Adaptive Control

Low temperature combustion (LTC), though effective to reduce soot and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) simultaneously from diesel engines, operates in narrowly close to unstable regions. Adaptive control strategies are developed to expand the stable operations and to improve the fuel efficiency that was commonly compromised by LTC. Engine cycle simulations were performed to better design the combustion control models. The research platform consists of an advanced common-rail diesel engine modified for the intensified single cylinder research and a set of embedded real-time (RT) controllers, field programmable gate array (FPGA) devices, and a synchronized personal computer (PC) control and measurement system.