Investigation of a Multi-Cylinder, High-Efficiency, High-BMEP, Heavy-Duty Gasoline Engine Concept, 03-9386

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Principal Investigators
Terry Alger
Charles E. Roberts

Inclusive Dates: 04/01/03 - Current

Background - The motivation behind the development of a heavy-duty gasoline engine is the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) development of ever more stringent emissions standards for heavy-duty diesel engines. These new standards are not achievable through engine tuning alone and necessitate the use of expensive aftertreatment systems. In addition, the presence of the aftertreatment systems and the engine tuning required to make them function serve to reduce the diesel engine efficiency to the point where a high-efficiency gasoline engine may be competitive. Preliminary work on a single-cylinder, heavy-duty gasoline engine indicated that, when equipped with a three-way catalyst, a gasoline engine could compete with a diesel in terms of emissions, efficiency and cost.

Approach - The proposed approach is to convert an existing diesel engine (Isuzu Duramax) to run on gasoline. The engine will be retrofitted with a port fuel injection system and a high-energy ignition system. Testing will be conducted at three compression ratios (17.5, 15, and 12.5:1) and two fuel octane numbers (91 and 103) to investigate the load range and sensitivity of the engine to Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR), ignition timing and fuel type. At each compression ratio, a series of constant load sweeps of each variable (EGR percent, ignition timing) will be performed. High-speed in-cylinder pressure data will be acquired along with other engine performance data. The engine will be evaluated for brake thermal efficiency and emissions. The high-speed data will be used to investigate the nature of the combustion process through heat release and percent mass burn curves.

The study will also serve as a feasibility study for the high-efficiency gasoline engine concept. Unknown areas concern the appropriate type of ignition system and the sensitivity of the engine to EGR composition and exhaust backpressure. With the insight gained through this investigation, further work in this area can be planned more efficiently. The lessons learned through this investigation will also constitute a rudimentary design guide for future work in constructing a prototype high-efficiency gasoline engine.

Accomplishments - To date, all initial setup, instrumentation, and baseline (stock diesel) testing has been completed. In addition, the tests at the 17.5:1 compression ratio have been completed. The engine has been disassembled to install the 12.5:1 compression ratio pistons. Testing will recommence once the engine is re-assembled.

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