Honda Previews Next-Generation Engine and Power Technologies
25 September 2006
|The Tier 2 Bin 5 diesel engine and aftertreatment system.|
In May 2006, Honda CEO Takeo Fukui announced voluntary global CO2 reduction targets for its products and production activities—a 10% reduction by 2010 compared to 2000 levels—becoming the first automaker to do so. In the speech, he outlined a number of powertrain technology and product steps the company was taking to meet those and other targets. (Earlier post.)
On Monday, Honda previewed its progress in those areas noted by its CEO during the speech back in May: a Tier 2 Bin 5-compliant diesel engine for the US, the FCX Concept fuel cell vehicle, an E100 flex-fuel vehicle for Brazil, improvements in its VTEC gasoline engine, two new motorcycle engine developments, and two new power product developments.
|Tier 2 Bin 5 diesel engine research vehicle (European Accord) and Takeo Fukui.|
Next-Generation Diesel Engine. Honda’s new diesel, targeted for introduction in the US by 2009, will not use a urea-based SCR system to meet the US Tier 2 Bin 5 standards. (Earlier post.) Instead, it is using a combination of an advanced combustion management (PCCI) and a new NOx catalytic converter, about which it provided more details.
The new catalytic converter utilizes a two-layer structure: one layer adsorbs NOx from the exhaust gas and converts a portion of it into ammonia, while the other layer adsorbs the resulting ammonia, and uses it later in a reaction that converts the remaining NOx in the exhaust into nitrogen (N2).
Ammonia is a highly effective reagent for reducing NOx into N2 in an oxygen-rich, lean-burn atmosphere—urea-based SCR system derive ammonia from the urea.
Honda’s ability to generate and store ammonia within the catalytic converter enables the creation of a compact, lightweight NOx reduction system for diesel engines. The system also features enhanced NOx reduction performance at 200–300ºC, the main temperature range of diesel engines.
Honda designed the catalytic converter for use with its 2.2 i-CTDi diesel engine. Through the use of more advanced combustion control, 2.2 i-CTDi delivers cleaner exhaust to the NOx catalytic converter.
Honda achieved this by optimizing the combustion chamber configuration, reducing fuel injection time with a 2,000-bar common rail injection system and boosting the efficiency of the EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) system.
Along with developing its low-emissions engine and aftertreatment system, Honda plans to address other technical challenges in developing clean diesel engines, such as handling diesel fuels with different cetane numbers—a major challenge in the US compared to Europe—and meeting US On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) System requirements.
|Configuration of the emissions aftertreatment system.|
FCX Concept Fuel Cell Vehicle. Honda held a demonstration drive of the next-generation FCX Concept fuel cell vehicle, an earlier version of which was shown at the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show. A production vehicle under development for 2008 will incorporate the principle technologies in the current FCX Concept.
|FCX Concept Specifications|
|Motor Output||95 kW (127 hp)|
|Motor Torque||256 Nm (189 lb-ft)|
|FC Stack Output||100 kW|
|CH2 Tank Pressure||355 bar (5,144 psi)|
|Max speed||160 kph (99 mph)|
|Range||570 km (354 mi)|
The vertical-flow (V Flow) fuel cell stack is 20% smaller and 30% lighter than the current FCX FC Stack, yet its power output is 14kW greater. The drive motor has been positioned coaxially with the gearbox for a more compact design, with output increased by 15kW. Overall, the power plant is about 180kg lighter than that of the current FCX and about 40% smaller in volume. The result is improved energy efficiency and performance along with a more spacious interior.
The vertical-flow design enables improved water management, resulting in stable power generation under a broad range of conditions, and higher output from a smaller package. Low-temperature startup has also been significantly improved, enabling cold-weather starts at temperatures 10°C lower than the current FCX - as low as minus 30°C.
As an auxiliary power source, the FCX Concept carries a compact, high-efficiency lithium ion battery, contributing to increased power output and a more compact power plant. These efficiency improvements to major power plant components give the vehicle a travel range approximately 30% greater than the current FCX. The vehicle is also highly efficient, with an energy efficiency of around 60%—approximately three times that of a gasoline-engine vehicle, twice that of a hybrid vehicle, and 10% better than the current FCX.
|Fit FFV prototype.|
E100 Flexible-Fuel Vehicle. Honda has developed a new flexible fuel vehicle (FFV) system that enables gasoline engine-based power plants to operate on either 100% ethanol or a wide range of ethanol-gasoline fuel mixtures. In addition, a cold-start system utilizing a secondary fuel tank ensures reliable starts even at low ambient temperatures.
The company showed FFV prototypes of both the Civic and the Fit. In late 2006, Honda plans to begin sales of FFVs in Brazil.
Advanced VTEC Engine. Honda’s new version of its VTEC (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control System) engine combines continuously variable valve lift and timing control with the continuously variable phase control of VTC (Variable Timing Control) to achieve a 13% improvement in fuel efficiency, compared to a production 2.4-liter i-VTEC engine.
This new system permits optimum control over intake valve lift and phase in response to driving conditions, achieving improved charging efficiency for a significant increase in torque at all engine speeds. Under low to medium load levels, the valves are set for low lift and early closure to reduce pumping losses and improve fuel economy.
Exhaust emissions that meet both U.S. Environmental Protection Agency LEV2-ULEV regulations and Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport requirements for Low-Emission Vehicles, with emission levels 75% lower than those required by the 2005 standards (based on Honda calculations).
Motorcycles. In a new application of Hyper VTEC technology, Honda has developed a variable cylinder management system (VCM) for motorcycles. This new VCM allows control of the number of active cylinders in three stages from 2 cylinders to all 4 cylinders, for both superior performance and low fuel consumption.
Honda also displayed a new ultra-low friction motorcycle engine with dramatically reduced internal mechanical friction and twin-spark-plug ignition for increased combustion efficiency.
Power Products. Honda announced that it plans to expand its line-up of products featuring the electronic STR Governor technology first developed for the i-GX engine. All medium-to-large power product engines (GX160 and larger), generators, and snow blowers are to feature this technology by the end of 2010.
Honda also revealed the prototype of a revolutionary high-expansion-ratio engine featuring intake and expansion strokes of variable lengths.
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