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Research Abstracts Online
January 2009 - March 2010

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University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Institute of Technology
Department of Mechanical Engineering

PI: David B. Kittelson
Co-PI: Lanny D. Schmidt, Associate Fellow

Hydrogen-enhanced Low-temperature Engine Combustion

Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) offers the promise of the very high thermal efficiency characteristic of the diesel engine without significant soot or NOx emissions. No single strategy has been successful in operating an HCCI engine over a wide range of conditions because of difficulty in controlling the start of combustion. This project’s objective is to demonstrate that controlled HCCI combustion of ethanol may be achieved by modulated injection of hydrogen-rich gases made by onboard reforming of a small quantity of ethanol. Ethanol blends used in gasoline engines are consumed at relatively low thermal efficiencies and there is no significant used of ethanol more efficient diesel engines. The researchers’ approach will expand the use of ethanol by providing ethanol HCCI combustion engines as an alternative to heavy-duty diesel engines. It will also make possible more efficient use of ethanol in the light-duty fleet. If successful, this approach would make it possible to use ethanol (as well as second-generation fuels like butanol and methanol) in engines that are 20 to 30% more efficient than today’s flexible fuel engines.

Group Members

Helmer Acevedo, Graduate Student
Anil Bika, Graduate Student
Luke Franklin, Graduate Student
Lei Tian, Graduate Student