Low Temperature Combustion in a Heavy Duty Diesel Engine
Doctoral thesis, 2012
In recent years, there have been major efforts to reduce engine emissions and fuel consumption. The studies described in this thesis were conducted with the aim of identifying methods for reducing harmful engine-out emissions of soot and nitrogen oxides (NOx) under high load without increasing fuel consumption. The first part of the project focused on low temperature combustion using very high levels of EGR. It was found that very low soot and NOx emissions could be achieved at low loads. Unfortunately, these conditions resulted in high fuel consumption as well as high emissions of HC and CO. The increased emissions could be mitigated by optimising the timing of the SOI and increasing the injection pressure, but the high fuel consumption remained problematic.
Intermediate levels of EGR can be used to increase the ignition delay and thereby achieve partially premixed combustion. When soot and NOx emissions are plotted against the amount of EGR, there is an intersection point at which the soot emissions are just beginning to increase but the recirculated exhaust gas has greatly reduced the NOx emissions. At this point, the HC and CO emissions and the fuel consumption remain acceptably low. If the onset of the increased soot emissions could be shifted to a higher EGR level or if the peak soot emissions could be reduced in magnitude, the tradeoff between soot and NOx emissions at intermediate EGR levels could be improved. By increasing the charge air pressure, the size of the soot bump is reduced and the point of intersection between the soot and NOx curves is shifted to a higher EGR percentage. The soot-NOx tradeoff can also be improved by increasing the injection pressure to reduce the soot peak while using EGR levels that are high enough to suppress NOx formation.
To further investigate the potential of partially premixed combustion, the effects of varying the timing of late inlet valve closure were investigated. The results show that reducing the effective compression ratio increased the ignition delay and thus increased premixing for both late and early intake valve closing (IVC). In the absence of EGR, this reduced NOx emissions without increasing soot emissions as long as the combustion phasing and equivalence ratio remained unchanged. When EGR was used, this approach reduced soot emissions while maintaining low NOx emissions. These emissions reductions were achieved without associated increases in unburned hydrocarbon emissions or fuel consumption.