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Clemson research developing integrated modeling and control systems to reduce particulates from GDI engines

21 April 2017

Simona Onori, an assistant professor at Clemson University, has received a $500,000 Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) award from the National Science Foundation to advance her work to develop integrated modeling and control for aftertreatment systems to reduce fine-particle emissions from gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines.

GDI engines now account for about 60% of the US market, and their use worldwide is forecast to grow. GDI engines have better fuel economy and lower carbon-dioxide emissions than more conventional port fuel injection engines; however, the technology results in higher fine-particle emissions. The research Onori and her team are doing focuses on gasoline particulate filters (GPF). While the dynamics of diesel engine particulate filters (DPF) are well understood, particulates produced in GDI engines have substantially different characteristics.

Onori notes that an integrated approach to reduce gasoline particulates is necessary because engine operating conditions determine oxygen and fuel content and temperature of the exhaust gas, which influence the output of the catalytic converter, which in turn governs soot accumulation and oxidation in particulate filters.

Onori’s project is intended to enable new exhaust gas aftertreatment technologies for GDI engines based on a modeling framework at the intersection of macroscale modeling, numerical simulations and optimization theory.

System-level models of the engine, catalytic converter, and gasoline particulate filter will be integrated across length scales, incorporating effects ranging from clogging and regeneration of the filter pores, to continuum gas flow in the exhaust manifold.

The framework will enable formulation of low-order models of aftertreatment systems suitable for real-time optimization-based control, based on systematic and rigorous reduction of continuum models while maintaining accuracy and fidelity. The project is intended to improve substantially macro-scale representations of soot-layer physical properties and pore-scale loading and regeneration phenomena in particulate filters. The results will be used to design physics-based estimators for robust control of advanced aftertreatment systems.

The resulting engine-control strategies would be programmed into the engine control unit. Onori and her team also plan to develop a control program that would enable three complex systems—the filter, exhaust and three-way catalyst—to work together.

Onori will present aspects of her work on emissions controls at the upcoming 2017 American Control Conference in Seattle in May. Among her papers will be a discussion of the development of a two-dimensional (2-D), multi-channel, GPF system model and a multi-scale modeling framework to resolve mass, energy, and momentum transport equations of the exhaust gases in a GPF.

Onori started working on emission control problems right after joining the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) in 2014. She was the principal investigator of an industry-sponsored project aimed at developing model-based control strategies for the new advanced aftertreatment systems.

Since the CU-ICAR team and I started, it was clear that ‘good’ models for gasoline particulate filters were not available, nor for the three-way catalyst. That was the incipit of this CAREER award.

—Simona Onori

April 21, 2017 in Controls and controllers, Emissions, Engines | Permalink | Comments (2)


I don't think the PM in GDI is as big of an issue in the states as it is in Europe. Different calibrations being the main difference.

With GDI you can run rich for a much higher torque number at lower rpms, or use it to prime turbochargers.

There is some very interesting things you can do with DI to change the engines characteristics, but certain things lead to partially burnt fuel. If tuned to avoid the PM i don't think it will be an issue, at least not any worse than port injection.

Surabu and Toyota have both direct and port injection on the FA20 flat four boxer engine. This allows proper use of both under certain conditions.
It is obvious engine designers would like as much computer control over fuel, ignition timing and valve timing as they can get. Running bio synthetic fuels may help as well.

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