Medium Speed Diesel Engines
With more than 38 years of medium-speed locomotive engine research experience, the Medium Speed Diesel Engines Section in the Engine, Emissions and Vehicle Research Division at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) conducts alternative fuel such as natural gas, LPG, hydrogen and more, and diesel engine development programs on all types of engines for production and research. Engine development programs range from small two-stroke engines to large bore two- and four-stroke engines used in combined heat and power, distributed generation, vehicular, off-road, locomotive and gas compression applications. High BMEP low emissions engines are currently being developed for a variety of fuels and applications.
SwRI maintains a locomotive emissions test center near downtown San Antonio. The facility was established in 1990 for the Association of American Railroads, and to date, more than 150 locomotives have been tested at this site. Included in these tests have been projects for EPA, CARB, the California DOT (CaDOT), DOE, AAR, railroads, and original equipment manufacturers, with much of the resulting data in the public domain.
SwRI owns four EMD-567 test engines. One is used exclusively for lubricating oil qualification and the others are for various research and development projects.
Steven G. Fritz, Manager
Medium Speed Diesel Engines Technical Strengths
- Development of exhaust emissions test procedures
- Baseline exhaust emissions studies
- Effects of injection timing and aftercooling
- Field testing of in-use locomotives
- The California Air Resources Board (CARB) fuel effects study
- National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) biodiesel studies
Current projects are focused on testing to support EPA certification and developmental support to meet EPA Tier 0 and Tier I requirements.
Support facilities are in place to conduct alternative and diesel fueled engine research and development programs proficiently. All test cells have high-pressure natural gas availability. Two 130 CFM compressors are installed for engine testing and vehicle refueling where high-pressure natural gas is required. A 13,000-gallon cryogenic storage facility provides 99 percent pure liquefied methane. Liquid petroleum gas farms are in place, as well as diesel supply storage systems. Hydrogen fuel has been provided with the aid of electrolysis systems and on-site gas compression equipment. Gas blending facilities are maintained to blend fuels of specific compositions per client specifications for emissions certification and knock-tolerance testing. Gas composition is checked and/or monitored continuously using an on-line gas chromatograph to ensure accurate accounting of fuel speciation, heating value and molecular weight. SwRI also maintains two single-cylinder 4-stroke engines for on-site test rental.
Current R&D Testing
- Tier I development to minimize fuel consumption
- Locomotive certification testing
- Production line testing
- In-use compliance testing
- IMO marine engine certification
- Demonstrating component emissions equivalency
- Lubricating oil consumption
- Exhaust aftertreatment
- Revenue service field testing: aftertreatment components, remote data logging
EMD Engine Test Platform
- EMD SD45 locomotive
- Suitable for EMD 645 and 710 (8, 12, 16, 20-cylinder; 1000 hp to 4600 hp)
- EPA locomotive procedures
- EPA/IMO marine certification; using marine governor, D@ and E2 cycles (constant speed), E3 variable speed cycle, ABS observer; EMD 12-645-E3B engine
Fuel Injector Characterization
- Fuel injector test stand for flow studies: mechanical and electronic injectors, cam-driven at engine speeds, CC measurements, Needle-life, internal injection pressure, 10us sampling frequency; injection flow visualization: up to 230 mm bore diameter, constant volume pressure vessel charged with N2 or CO2; evaluate spray penetration, hole size, number of holes, machining process, 8000 frames/second
- Cylinder pressure measurements: Kiene peak pressures, in-cylinder, flush-mount for combustion and heat-release analysis
- Rocker arm strain equal to or greater than (≥) fuel injection timing
- Turbocharger speed
- Intake air temperature control
- Heat balance measurements
- TemPlug® and component strain gauge
- In-use data logging