Natural gas is a promising alternative fuel for internal combustion engine application due to its low carbon content and high knock resistance. Performance of natural gas engines is further improved if direct injection, high turbocharger boost level, and variable valve actuation (VVA) are adopted. Also, relevant efficiency benefits can be obtained through downsizing. However, mixture quality resulting from direct gas injection has proven to be problematic. This work aims at developing a mono-fuel small-displacement turbocharged compressed natural gas engine with side-mounted direct injector and advanced VVA system. An injector configuration was designed in order to enhance the overall engine tumble and thus overcome low penetration.
Direct injection (DI) of natural gas (NG) at high pressure conditions has emerged as a high-potential strategy for improving SI engine performance. Besides, DI allows an increase in the fuel economy, due to the possibility of a significant engine dethrottling at partial load. The high-pressure gas injection can also increase the turbulence level of mixture and thus the overall fuel-air mixing. Since direct NG injection is an emerging technology, there is a lack of experience on the optimum configuration of the injection system and the associated combustion chamber design. In the last few years, some numerical investigations of gas injection have been made, mainly oriented at the development of reliable numerical investigation tools. The present paper is concerned with the development and application of a numerical Star-CD based model for the investigation of the direct NG injection process from a poppet-valve injector into a bowl-piston engine combustion chamber.
This paper presents the results of part of the research activity carried out by the Politecnico di Torino and AVL List GmbH as part of the European Community InGAS Collaborative Project. The work was aimed at developing a combustion system for a mono-fuel turbocharged CNG engine, with specific focus on performance, fuel economy and emissions. A numerical and experimental analysis of the jet development and mixture formation in an optically accessible, single cylinder engine is presented in the paper. The experimental investigations were performed at the AVL laboratories by means of the planar laser-induced fluorescence technique, and revealed a cycle-to-cycle jet shape variability that depended, amongst others, on the injector characteristics and in-cylinder backpressure. Moreover, the mixing mechanism had to be optimized over a wide range of operating conditions, under both stratified lean and homogeneous stoichiometric modes.
An innovative 0D predictive combustion model for the simulation of the HRR (heat release rate) in DI diesel engines was assessed and implemented in a 1D fluid-dynamic commercial code for the simulation of a Fiat heavy duty diesel engine equipped with a Variable Geometry Turbocharger system, in the frame of the CORE (CO2 reduction for long distance transport) Collaborative Project of the European Community, VII FP. The 0D combustion approach starts from the calculation of the injection rate profile on the basis of the injected fuel quantities and on the injection parameters, such as the start of injection and the energizing time, taking the injector opening and closure delays into account. The injection rate profile in turn allows the released chemical energy to be estimated. The approach assumes that HRR is proportional to the energy associated with the accumulated fuel mass in the combustion chamber.