EFFICIENCY IMPROVEMENT ANALYSIS FOR COMMERCIAL VEHICLES BY (I) POWERTRAIN HYBRIDIZATION AND (II) CYLINDER DEACTIVATION FOR NATURAL GAS ENGINES
thesisposted on 30.07.2021, 15:54 authored by Shubham Pradeep AgnihotriShubham Pradeep Agnihotri
The commercial vehicle sector is an important enabler of the economy and is heavily dependent on fossil fuels. In the fight against climate change, reduction of emissions by improving fuel economy is a key step for the commercial vehicle sector. Improving fuel economy deals with reducing energy losses from fuel to the wheels. This study aims to analyze efficiency improvements for two systems that are important in reducing CO2 emissions - hybrid powertrains and natural gas engines. At first, a prototype series hybrid powertrain was analyzed based on on-highway data collected from its powertrain components. Work done per mile by the electrical components of the powertrain showed inefficient battery operation. The net energy delivery of the battery was close to zero at the end of the runs. This indicated battery was majorly used as an energy storage device. Roughly 15% of losses were observed in the power electronics to supply power from battery and generator to the motor. Ability of the hybrid system to capture regenerative energy and utilize it to propel the vehicle is a primary cause for fuel savings. The ability of this system to capture the regenerative energy was studied by modeling the system. The vehicle model demonstrated that the system was capturing most of the theoretically available regenerative energy. The thesis also demonstrates the possibility of reduction of vehicular level losses for the prototype truck. Drag and rolling resistance coefficients were estimated based on two coast down tests conducted. The ratio of captured regenerative to the drive energy energy for estimated drag and rolling resistant coefficients showed that the current system utilizes 4%-9% of its drive energy from the captured regenerative energy. Whereas a low mileage Peterbilt 579 truck could increase the energy capture ratio to 8%-18% for the same drive profile and route. Decrease in the truck’s aerodynamic drag and rolling resistance can potentially improve the fuel benefits.
The second study aimed to reduce the engine level pumping losses for a natural gas spark ignition engine by cylinder deactivation (CDA). Spark ignited stoichiometric engines with an intake throttle valve encounter pumping/throttling losses at low speed, low loads due to the restriction of intake air by the throttle body. A simulation study for CDA on a six cylinder natural gas engine model was performed in GT- Power. The simulations were ran for steady state operating points with a torque range 25-560 ftlbs and 1600 rpm. Two , three and four cylinders were deactivated in the simulation study. CDA showed significant fuel benefits with increase in brake thermal efficiency and reduction in brake specific fuel consumption depending on the number of deactivated cylinders. The fuel benefits tend to decrease with increase in torque. Engine cycle efficiencies were analyzed to investigate the efficiency improvements. The open cycle efficiency is the main contributor to the overall increase in the brake thermal efficiency. The work done by the engine to overcome the gas exchange during the intake and exhaust stroke is referred to the pumping losses. The reduction in pumping losses cause an improvement in the open cycle efficiency. By deactivating cylinders, the engine meets its low torque requirements by increase in the intake manifold pressure. Increased intake manifold pressure also resulted in reduction of the pumping loop indicating reduced pumping losses. A major limitation of the CDA strategy was ability to meet EGR fraction requirements. The increase in intake manifold pressure also caused a reduction in the delta pressure across the EGR valve. At higher torques with high EGR requirements CDA strategy was unable to meet the required EGR fraction targets. This limited the benefits of CDA to a specific torque range based on the number of deactivated cylinders. Some variable valve actuation strategies were suggested to overcome this challenge and extend the benefits of CDA for a greater torque range.