KLK752: Compression Ratio and Catalyst Aging Effects on Aqueous
Steven Beyerlein and
This project primarily addresses NIATT goal 2—strategy 2.4
(develop new automotive and energy storage sub-systems and
components for cleaner, safer, and lighter vehicles). It seeks
to advance catalytic plasma torch (CPT) technology through
coordinated reactor studies, engine design, modeling, and engine
testing activities. This project secondarily address NIATT
goal 2—strategy 2.2 (significantly expand vehicle research
infrastructure and capabilities) by maintaining and expanding
laboratories dedicated to combustion studies (in Boise) and
small engine testing (in Moscow) developed over the past ten
years through NIATT projects.
I. Small Engine Lab Projects
I.1 CFR Engine Work: Conduct experiments in the
variable-compression ratio (CR) CRF engine to determine the
effect of CR on the catalytic ignition of ethanol-water fuel
blends. This requires measuring the indicated mean effective
pressure (IMEP) by installing an in-cylinder pressure sensor
and automating data acquisition and analysis. Investigate
optical in-cylinder temperature sensor technology and
install if feasible.
I.2 Demonstration Van: Install an exhaust oxidation
catalytic converter and conduct chassis dynamometer tests
with the ethanol-water van.
I.3 Exhaust Gas Analysis:Upgrade the FTIR gas analyzer to
provided heated sample lines, eliminate internal leaks, and
improve transportability. Devise equipment and methodology
to remove water from emissions before they are introduced to
the FTIR cell. Seek funding to install a dilution tunnel and
means of quantifying particulate emissions.
I.4 Infrastructure: Seek funding to obtain an eddy current
II. Combustion Laboratory Projects
II.1 Catalytic Wire Work: Install a liquid fuel
evaporator. Conduct an experimental study of the ignition
temperatures of reacting flows exposed to a heated Pt wire
over a wide range of fuel-oxygen equivalence ratios and
fuel-water blends. Measure the heat release rate due to
catalytic surface reactions. Study the effect of water on Pt
II.2 Modeling: Conduct CFD and FEA modeling to predict wire
temperatures. Use experimental data and CDF/FEA to extend
and verify a 1-step global surface reaction heat release
rate model for use in an ignition timing model.
II.3 Infrastructure: Complete a quenching probe, design a
catalytic bed support and prepare to analyze fuel conversion
efficiency and exhaust emissions with GCMS
III. Technology Transfer
Presentations: Present research at regional, national and
international combustion institute conferences.
Papers: Submit papers on fundamental work to Combustion &
Flame as well as work on engine testing to SAE conferences
with referred publications.
Theses: Prepare and defend MSME theses.
Reports Prepare annual NIATT reports.
Proposals: Respond to RFPs from state and federal agencies.
Outreach: Demonstrate catalytic plasma torch technology at
the Design Expo and other community and regional events as
UTC funds committed to this project: $139,000
Two graduate students; 1 undergraduate
student and one intern.
Technology Transfer Activities
We participate in meetings and conferences of the Combustion
Institute (CI), an international organization of researchers,
educators, and engineers devoted to enhancing the understanding
of combustion phenomena. CI publishes the leading journals in
the discipline. CI encourages the participation of students by
providing modest travel awards to those who present their mature
research or work-in-progress.
We participate in conferences of the Society of Automotive
Engineers (SAE). SAE meetings are attended by major manufactures
of engines, government agencies, researchers and engineers
focused on exchanging information about cutting-edge
transportation vehicle technology.
We will continue to submit peer-reviewed papers for
publication by the Combustion Institute and SAE. We will respond
to state and federal agency request-for-proposals related to our
catalytic engine work. We will also continue to prepare
informative and timely annual reports for NIATT.
Potential Benefits of the Project
The specter of global warming caused by CO2 emissions warns
us that business-as-usual reliance of transportation on fossil
fuels cannot continue. However, current levels of biofuels
production are too small to satisfy the nation”s needs. CPT and
aqueous ethanol offers an ignition-fuel system that stretches
biofuel use in vehicles while maintaining engine power and can
be implemented now via retrofit. Our support of CPT development
chips away at the mountain of “biofuels are not feasible”
objections raised by the business-as-usual vehicle and fuel
industries. Hence this project benefits the general public by
developing a technology that reduces fossil fuel combustion. Our
project also benefits agriculture and ethanol producers by
providing another way to immediately use ethanol.
The public will become more aware of the potential for
alternative fuels due outreach activities with our demonstration
vehicle. CPT advancements will be documented on the NIATT
website in our annual reports and through our participation in
combustion researcher communities surrounding SAE and the
Combustion Institute. For Automotive Resources Incorporated, the
inventor of CPT and our industry collaborator, this project will
provide engineering data and modeling insights that will impact
next generation products including catalytic fuel reformers that
improve engine cold starting on biofuels.