At the Tokyo Motor Show, Mazda is introducing the KAI CONCEPT compact hatchback (earlier post), powered by the next-generation SKYACTIV-X spark-controlled compression-ignition (SPCCI) gasoline engine (earlier post), SKYACTIV-Vehicle Architecture and a more mature expression of the KODO design language. The company is using the opportunity of the event to provide... Read more →

Sandia National Laboratories mechanical engineer Jackie Chen and colleagues Alex Krisman and Giulio Borghesi recently identified novel behavior of a key, temperature-dependent feature of the ignition process called a cool flame in the fuel dimethyl ether. The researchers used a two-dimensional direct numerical simulation (DNS) to provide a fully resolved... Read more →

U. Houston-led project looking for new exhaust treatment catalysts for low-temperature lean-burn combustion engines

A chemical engineer from the University of Houston is leading a $2.1-million project to find new catalytic materials that work at lower exhaust temperatures, allowing automakers to build vehicles that operate more efficiently while retaining the ability to clean emissions before they leave the tailpipe. Michael Harold, chairman of the... Read more →

Gasoline HCCI (homogenous charge compression ignition) has been of interest to automakers for years, as the low-temperature combustion mode offers significant improvements in thermal efficiency and fuel consumption along with a reduction in NOx emissions compared to conventional spark ignition gasoline engines. However, traditional HCCI combustion has been realized only... Read more →

Mazda announces SKYACTIV-X: gasoline Spark Controlled Compression Ignition

Mazda Motor Corporation announced “Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030,” a new long-term vision for technology development that looks ahead to the year 2030. As part of the new technology to achieve this vision, the company disclosed plans to introduce a next-generation gasoline engine called SKYACTIV-X in 2019. SKYACTIV-X—which Mazda believes will be... Read more →

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Co-Optima initiative—a broad, joint effort to co-optimize the development of efficient engines and low greenhouse-gas fuels for on-road vehicles with the goal of reducing petroleum consumption by 30% by 2030 beyond what is already targeted (earlier post)—has published a year-in-review report for FY 2016—the... Read more →

DOE awarding up to $7M to 8 universities for co-optimization of fuels and engines: Co-Optima

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award up to $7 million to projects at eight universities to accelerate the introduction of affordable, scalable, and sustainable high-performance fuels for use in high-efficiency, low-emission engines. Under the Co-Optimization of Fuels and Engines (Co-Optima) initiative (earlier post), DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office and... Read more →

DOE to award almost $20M to new research and development projects for advanced vehicle technologies

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is issuing a program-wide funding opportunity (DE-FOA-0001629) for the Vehicle Technologies Office of up to $19.7 million, subject to appropriations, to support research and development of advanced vehicle technologies, including batteries, lightweight materials, and advanced combustion engines, as well as innovative technologies for energy... Read more →

A multi-disciplinary team of researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has developed a new testing capability which integrates a driver model, full vehicle model, and hardware to explore the synergies of advanced combustion, new fuels, and emerging hybrid vehicle architectures over real-world drive cycles. This new facility is focused... Read more →

In October 2015, the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) launched a broad, joint effort to co-optimize the development of efficient engines and low greenhouse-gas fuels for on-road vehicles with the goal of reducing petroleum consumption by 30% by 2030 beyond what is already targeted. (Earlier post.) The intended application is... Read more →

Argonne study on optimizing gasoline compression ignition at idle and low loads

Gasoline compression ignition—i.e., igniting gasoline purely by compression, as with a diesel, rather by using a spark—is a promising, high-efficiency, low-temperature combustion mode that offers low engine-out NOx and soot. (Earlier post.) GCI, however, is challenged by stable idle- to low-load operation (i.e., 0-2 bar BMEP) because it is challenging... Read more →

SAE REX: PHEVs and REEVs could open door for advanced combustion regime engines

Increased market penetration of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and range-extended electric vehicles (REEVs) across vehicle segments could present an opportunity for emerging advanced combustion regime engines, such as those using various low-temperature combustion modes, according to a number of presentations at the SAE 2016 Range Extenders for Electric Vehicles... Read more →

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have been working for years to advance reactivity-controlled compression ignition (RCCI) technology (e.g., earlier post, earlier post). The work includes not only advancing the combustion technology itself, but also characterizing and analyzing the emissions from RCCI (earlier post). In a new open-access paper... Read more →

Researchers from Penn State and the University of Michigan have characterized the nanostructure and oxidative reactivity of soot generated by a light-duty turbodiesel engine operating under a dilute, low-temperature combustion process referred to as high-efficiency clean combustion (HECC). Their paper appears in the International Journal of Engine Research. Earlier work... Read more →

Researchers at Tsinghua University, along with Professor Rolf Reitz at the Engine Research Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, have investigated for the first time the the characteristics of homogenous charge compression ignition (HCCI) of polyoxymethylene dimethyl ether (PODE). PODE is a promising alternative fuel for diesel engines, and offers high volatility,... Read more →

New correlation between fuel octane index and HCCI combustion provides basis for more robust control strategies

A team of researchers in the US and Australia has developed a new correlation between the octane index (OI) of a range of refinery stream fuels and Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) combustion phasing. The behavior of the new model is much improved compared to the original OI model—particularly in... Read more →

A team at the University of Michigan has investigated the performance of three different fuels—ultralow sulfur diesel (ULSD), diesel fuel produced via a low temperature Fischer–Tropsch process (LTFT), and a renewable diesel (RD), which is a hydrotreated camelina oil under partially premixed compression ignition (PCCI) combustion. Their paper is published... Read more →

Argonne VERIFI team improves code to enable up to 10K simultaneous engine simulations; paradigm shift in engine design

A team of scientists and engineers with the Virtual Engine Research Institute and Fuels Initiative (VERIFI) (earlier post) at the US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory recently completed development of engineering simulation code and workflows that will allow as many as 10,000 engine simulations to be conducted simultaneously on... Read more →

Study shows viability of RCCI in a two-stroke engine; higher efficiency than direct-injection spark ignition

A team at the Engine Research Center (ERC), University of Wisconsin-Madison has demonstrated the viability of reactivity-controlled compression ignition (RCCI) in a two-stroke engine. (Earlier post.) A paper on their work is published in Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part D: Journal of Automobile Engineering. RCCI is a... Read more →

The potential for using low temperature combustion (LTC) in compression ignition engines (i.e., diesel) to reduce NOx and PM while maintaining high efficiency has attracted a great deal of research interest over the past several years. While achieving LTC with diesel fuel over a wide operating range has been shown... Read more →

The US Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) and Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) have released a request for information (RFI) (DE-FOA-0001460) titled “Co-Optimization of Fuels and Engines” (Optima). The Optima program is a key collaborative initiative being pursued by EERE, VTO,... Read more →

U Wisconsin team investigates RCCI and GCI in single engine using adaptive dual-fuel injector

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have investigated blending the benefits of reactivity controlled compression ignition (RCCI) and gasoline compression ignition (GCI) using QuantLogic’s novel adaptive dual-fuel injector which is capable of direct injecting both gasoline and diesel fuel in a single cycle. Working with Deyang Hou, the founder of... Read more →

An international team of researchers led by a group from the Combustion Research Facility (CRF) at Sandia National Laboratories recently provided experimental confirmation of the generally accepted low-temperature oxidation scheme of dimethyl ether (DME)—a lower soot and emissions alternative to diesel—at low temperatures (~540 K, 267˚C). Their paper was published... Read more →

New Argonne engine simulation project investigating effects of uncertainties on engine function; targeting gasoline compression ignition

Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory are launching a new simulation project from the Virtual Engine Research Institute and Fuels Initiative (VERIFI) (earlier post) to investigate how multiple variables—uncertainties—interact simultaneously to impact the functioning of an engine. A primary focus of the research will be enabling... Read more →

DOE to award $55.8M for advanced vehicle technologies; $35M for fuel cell and hydrogen

US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced a new Vehicle Technologie program-wide funding opportunity (DE-FOA-0001201) for $55.8 million. DOE also announced up to $35 million to advance fuel cell and hydrogen technologies, including enabling the early adoption of fuel cell applications, such as light duty fuel cell electric vehicles. This new... Read more →

Drive cycle fuel economy for PFI, CDC, and multi-mode RCCI operation. Credit: Curran et al. Click to enlarge. A team at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has added to the growing body of work exploring the applications and benefits of reactivity-controlled compression ignition (RCCI) by simulating the fuel economy and... Read more →

Tsinghua team devises in-cycle control method for diesel LTC using detection of Start of Combustion

Low temperature combustion (LTC) refers to a broad range of in-cylinder combustion strategies for the reduction of NOx emissions from diesel combustion; NOx is formed primarily by a thermal mechanism, which production rates increasing exponentially with temperature. LTC strategies reduce combustion temperatures by the dilution of the in-cylinder combustible mixtures,... Read more →

DOE to award more than $55M to 31 projects for plug-in and efficient vehicle technologies; Delphi receives $10M to further GDCI

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is awarding more than $55 million to 31 new projects to accelerate research and development of vehicle technologies that will improve fuel efficiency and reduce costs under a program-wide funding opportunity announced in January. (DE-FOA-0000991, earlier post.) These new projects are aimed at meeting... Read more →

Isolated droplet combustion experiments performed on the International Space Station (ISS) by a team of international researchers have revealed a new type of cool-burning flames. The long durations of microgravity provided in the ISS enable the measurement of droplet and flame histories over an unprecedented range of conditions, enabling the... Read more →

Caterpillar and Argonne’s VERIFI undertake cooperative virtual engine design, control project; first VERIFI CRADA

Low-temperature combustion regimes show great efficiency and emissions potential, but they present optimization and control challenges that must be addressed before they enter the engine mainstream. Caterpillar Inc. has entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with Argonne National Laboratory and its recently formed Virtual Engine Research Institute... Read more →

A new study by Dr. Gautam Kalghatgi and his colleagues at Saudi Aramco provides further support a pathway for significant improvements in the efficiency of a gasoline engine (i.e., spark ignited, SI) by running it in compression ignition mode with naphtha fuels. (Earlier post.) This latest work, presented at SAE... Read more →

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are pursuing investigations into the use of a non-catalytic in-cylinder reforming process—i.e., the conversion of liquid hydrocarbon fuel to a hydrogen- and CO-rich syngas—potentially for controlling combustion phasing in homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) and other forms of advanced combustion. When fuel is injected... Read more →

Researchers at Delphi Powertrain, in collaboration with colleagues at Hyundai Motor, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Wisconsin Engine Research Consultants (WERC), have developed a first-generation multi-cylinder Gasoline Direct Injection Compression Ignition (GDCI) engine, based on several years of extensive simulations and single-cylinder engine tests. (Earlier post, earlier post.) In a... Read more →

Operating range of 2-stroke CAI fueled with gasoline, E10 and E85. Zhang et al. (2013a) Click to enlarge. Researchers at Brunel University in the UK, led by Professor Hua Zhao, Head of Mechanical Engineering and Director, Centre for Advanced Powertrain and Fuels (CAPF), are investigating optimizing the performance of controlled... Read more →

Nissan Frontier Diesel Runner Powered by Cummins. Click to enlarge. At the Chicago Auto Show, Nissan debuted a concept diesel-powered mid-size pickup: the Frontier Diesel Runner Powered by Cummins. Based on a Frontier Desert Runner 4x2 model, was created to gauge the market reaction to a Nissan mid-size pickup with... Read more →

(Left) Thermal efficiency and (right) soot from different gasoline-butanol blends at different EGR rates. Yang et al. Click to enlarge. A study by a team at Tianjin University found that the addition of n-butanol to gasoline for use in a compression ignition engine (CI) under Low Temperature Combustion (LTC) conditions... Read more →

U Wisc.-Ford team develops more realistic multi-component surrogate diesel models for modeling of low temperature combustion

A team from the Engine Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Ford Motor, and Ford Forschungszentrum Aachen have developed new multi-component surrogate models for three different diesel fuels, and then examined their fidelity in capturing the characteristics of a diesel engine operated under various conditions, including conventional and low-temperature... Read more →

Exploring gasoline-range naphtha as a low-soot, low-NOx alternative compression ignition fuel

Dr. Gautam Kalghatgi and his colleagues at Saudi Aramco and other organization such as FEV, RWTH Aachen University, and Shell Global Solutions, have been investigating the potential use of naphtha as an alternative compression-ignition (CI) fuel that offers a number of benefits, including efficient combustion; low soot and NOx emissions... Read more →

Schematic diagram of the plasma−catalyst reactor. Credit: ACS, Kang et al. Click to enlarge. Researchers at the Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials (KIMM) have developed a new hybrid reactor for automotive exhaust aftertreatment that combines plasma and a honeycomb-structured monolith catalyst resulting in an enhanced synergistic effect of low-temperature... Read more →

The diagram illustrates the newly-described reaction that transforms molecules of ketohydroperoxide into acids and carbonyl molecules, after going through intermediate stages. Credit: ACS, Jalan et al. Click to enlarge. Researchers at MIT, with colleagues at the University of Minnesota, have provided evidence and theoretical rate coefficients for new pathways in... Read more →

In-cylinder pressure (on the left) and heat release rate (on the right) as a function of the CAD and ozone concentration injected in the intake of the engine for PRF40. The results show that ozone seeding improves combustion and advances phasing. The same trends were observed for the other fuels... Read more →

The Sandia team has proposed extensions to John Dec’s 1997 model for diesel combustion, represented above. Credit: Musculus et al.; Dec. Click to enlarge. A team at Sandia National Laboratories recently proposed conceptual models for a specific subset of low-temperature combustion regimes: low-load, single-injection, partially premixed compression ignition (PPCI LTC)... Read more →

U Wisc. study explores effects of biodiesel-gasoline blend in diesel engine

One high-efficiency combustion concept under investigation is gasoline compression ignition (GCI)—the use of gasoline-like fuels to deliver very low NOx and PM emissions as well as high efficiency in a diesel compression ignition engine. (Earlier post.) A challenge to be overcome with this approach is the higher resistance to autoignition... Read more →

The LTC research project has three proposed components. Click to enlarge. The University of California Berkeley is partnering with MIT, Lawrence Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore and Sandia National Labs and Ricardo to investigate the the use of partial fuel stratification (PFS) in compression-ignition (CI) engines as well as the combination of... Read more →

Study finds moderate biofuel blends increase benefits of RCCI in light-duty engines

Preliminary results from a new study by a team from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the University of Wisconsin suggest that the fuel properties of moderate biofuel blends such as E20 and B20 increase the benefits of the use of Reactivity Controlled Compression Ignition (RCCI). RCCI is a Low... Read more →

U. Wisconsin team reports gross indicated thermal efficiency of RCCI operation near 60%

In a paper presented at the 2013 SAE World Congress, a team from the University of Wisconsin reported a gross indicated thermal efficiency of Reactivity Controlled Compression Ignition (RCCI) operation of near 60%, given optimized combustion management and thermodynamic conditions. That 60% gross engine efficiency provides a pathway to meet... Read more →

Simulated fuel economy for 1.8L GDCI Engine and 2.4L GDi baseline engine. GDCI showed a predicted fuel economy improvement of 65%, 28%, and 28% for the FTP City, Highway, and US06 cycles, respectively, for a combined FE improvement of 50%. Source: Sellnau et al. Click to enlarge. At SAE World... Read more →

The effects of gasoline ratio on indicated thermal efficiency of HCII and GDBF modes. Yu et al. Click to enlarge. Researchers at Tsinghua University have compared the combustion and emissions characteristics of two dual-fuel (diesel-gasoline) modes intended to integrate the advantages of both fuels to achieve high thermal efficiency and... Read more →

Diagram of direct injector placement used in the study; future work will use a more parallel alignment of the injectors. Wissink et al. Click to enlarge. By using a new strategy entailing the direct, separate injection of both low- and high-reactivity fuels, researchers at the University of Wisconsin have found... Read more →

KAIST team explores mode transition between low-temperature and conventional combustion in a light-duty diesel

A team at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) reports on the effect of operating parameters such as rate of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) change, residual gas, EGR path length, fuel injection pressure and engine speed on the mode transition between low-temperature combustion (LTC) and conventional combustion... Read more →