A novel in-cylinder fuel reformation approach to control HCCI engine combustion on-set
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Publication date: 2009-07-01
Combustion Engines 2009,138(3)
Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) engines have the potential to deliver high thermal efficiencies (when compared to spark ignition engines) coupled with ultra-low NOx emissions and Particulate Matter (PM) for partial-load operating regions. However, the inherent absence of Start of Combustion (SOC) or combustion on-set control has been a major obstacle for implementing this technology into production engines. In the present work, a new in-cylinder reformation strategy to control the on-set of combustion has been incorporated into a HCCI engine fuelled with lean ethanol/air mixtures. The objective of the in-cylinder reformation process is to generate hydrogen enriched gas (which includes other intermediate species) from ethanol reformation, which is then used to control the subsequent HCCI cycle combustion on-set. The experimental engine used for the study is a four-stroke, three cylinder In-Direct Injection (IDI) type compression ignition engine which was converted to single cylinder operation for HCCI combustion. A proto-type reformation chamber has been designed and fabricated with direct injection capabilities to examine the proposed in-cylinder reformation process. In order to clarify the effects of reformation products on HCCI combustion on-set, experiments were conducted with constant engine speed, initial charge temperature, and engine coolant temperature. The engine performance was evaluated based on cycle-resolved in-cylinder pressure measurements and regulated engine-out emissions. The experimental results demonstrate that the proposed in-cylinder reformation strategy is an effective method for controlling HCCI combustion on-set (SOC) and reduces the regulated engine-out emissions. Furthermore, the experimental results indicate that there is an optimal in-cylinder reformation fuelling percentage which will have a positive impact on regular HCCI combustion at given operating conditions.