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  • 15-Feb-2012 07:37 EST

Turbo-Discharging: Predicted Improvements in Engine Fuel Economy and Performance


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Engine Boosting Systems.

Andrew Williams, Loughborough Univ.

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One promising solution for increasing vehicle fuel economy, while still maintaining long-range driving capability, is the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). A PHEV is a hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) whose rechargeable energy source can be recharged from an external power source, making it a combination of an electric vehicle and a traditional hybrid vehicle. A PHEV is capable of operating as an electric vehicle until the battery is almost depleted, at which point the on-board internal combustion engine turns on, and generates power to meet the vehicle demands. When the vehicle is not in use, the battery can be recharged from an external energy source, once again allowing electric driving. A series of models is presented which simulate various powertrain architectures of PHEVs. To objectively evaluate the effect of powertrain architecture on fuel economy, the models were run according to the latest test procedures and all fuel economy values were utility factor weighted.
Historically, the opposed-piston, two-stroke (OP2S) diesel engine set combined records for fuel efficiency and power density that have yet to be met by any other engine type. However, with modern emissions standards, wide-spread development of this engine for on-highway use stopped. At Achates Power, state-of-the-art analytical tools and engineering methods have produced an OP2S engine that, when compared to a leading medium-duty engine, has demonstrated a 21% fuel efficiency gain and engine-out emissions levels meeting U.S. EPA10 with conventional after-treatment. Among the presentation topics covered are thermodynamic efficiency, demonstrated engine results, cost and weight advantages, and overcoming two-stroke engine challenges. Presenter David Johnson, Achates Power Inc.
In this paper we present the results of full-scale chassis dynamometer testing of two hybrid transit bus configurations, parallel and series and, in addition, quantify the impact of air conditioning. We also study the impact of using an electrically controlled cooling fan. The main trend that is noted, and perhaps expected, is that a significant fuel penalty is encountered during operation with air conditioning, ranging from 17-27% for the four buses considered. The testing shows that the series hybrid architecture is more efficient than the parallel hybrid in improving fuel economy during urban, low speed stop and go transit bus applications. In addition, smart cooling systems, such as the electrically controlled cooling fan can show a fuel economy benefit especially during high AC (or other increased engine load) conditions.
The first commercially available plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), the General Motors (GM) Volt, was introduced into the market in mid-December 2010. The Volt uses a series-split powertrain architecture, which provides benefits over the series architecture that typically has been considered for use in electric-range extended vehicles (EREVs). A specialized EREV powertrain, called the Voltec, drives the Volt through its entire range of speed and acceleration with battery power alone and within the limit of battery energy, thereby displacing more fuel with electricity than a PHEV, which characteristically blends electric and engine power together during driving. This paper assesses the benefits and drawbacks of these two different plug-in hybrid electric architectures (series versus series-split) by comparing component sizes, system efficiency, and fuel consumption over urban and highway drive cycles.

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