Fractional Oxidation State Control of Three-Way Catalyst with Stoichiometric Spark-Ignition Natural Gas Engines incorporating Cylinder Deactivation
A novel two-loop estimation and control strategy is proposed to reduce the natural gas (NG) spark-ignition (SI) engine tail pipe emissions, with focus on the outer loop development. In the outer loop, an fractional oxidation state (FOS) estimator consisting of a three-way catalyst (TWC) model and an extended Kalman-filter is used to estimate the real-time TWC's FOS, and a robust controller is used to control the first-half TWC's FOS by manipulating the desired engine lambda (i.e., air–fuel equivalence ratio; lambda=1 at stoichiometry). The outer loop estimator and controller are combined with an industry-production baseline inner loop controller, which controls the engine $\lambda$ based on the desired lambda value. This novel two-loop control strategy reduces more CH4 and NOx emissions over no-outer-loop control strategy and the conventional two-loop control strategies through simulation.
Engine with and without fuel cut-off are both investigated. Although fuel cut-off brings better fuel economy, it also over-oxidizes the TWC during fuel cut events, which makes the FOS-based controller's competence in NOx reduction over non-FOS-based controllers less significant. By comparing simulation results with and without fuel cut-off, it shows huge potential for much better emission result if fuel cut-off's side effect can be alleviated. Considering that fuel cut-off generally being cutting engine fueling during zero load periods and introducing unreacted oxygen into the after-treatment system, the best way of dealing with the issue is to cut off or reduce the oxygen input to the TWC during those events. Several advanced engine technologies such as cylinder deactivation and exhaust gas re-circulation are good candidates to approach this issue.
An industry-production Cummins B6.7N natural gas SI engine was installed in the Ray W. Herrick Laboratories for study of variable valve actuation (VVA) technology, for the purpose of evaluating/improving SI engine's fuel efficiency, emission reduction, and engine knock resistance. A one-dimensional, physics-based natural gas SI engine model was investigated and calibrated in GT-Power software. To calculate the burn rates in the cylinder, three different pressure analysis methods were investigated and implemented. It is observed that all six cylinders' pressure curves are different, which in turn render different burn rates cylinder-to-cylinder. Cylinder with a higher peak cylinder pressure has a faster burn rate. Each operating condition has its unique pressure curve, and their burn rates are different under different operating conditions. Considering that the burn rate profile can vary cylinder-to-cylinder and operation-to-operation, to make the GT combustion model work for a larger range of loads, a fixed burn rate model may help in the preliminary research phase, but a predictive combustion model is more preferable.
The GT-Power model's VVA capability is investigated, where intake valve closure (IVC) modulation and cylinder de-activation (CDA) are built and analyzed. To mitigate TWC's over-oxidation issue during engine's fuel cut-off events, the CDA is implemented and simulated to demonstrate its benefit on further emission and fuel consumption reductions.