Research Papers: Fuel Combustion

Hydrous Ethanol Steam Reforming and Thermochemical Recuperation to Improve Dual-Fuel Diesel Engine Emissions and Efficiency

[+] Author and Article Information
Jeffrey T. Hwang

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Minnesota,
2811 Weeks Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
e-mail: hwang183@umn.edu

Seamus P. Kane

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Minnesota,
2811 Weeks Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414,
e-mail: kane0308@umn.edu

William F. Northrop

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Minnesota,
2811 Weeks Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
e-mail: wnorthro@umn.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Internal Combustion Engine Division of ASME for publication in the Journal of Energy Resources Technology. Manuscript received March 5, 2019; final manuscript received May 1, 2019; published online May 17, 2019. Assoc. Editor: Sundar Rajan Krishnan.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 141(11), 112203 (May 17, 2019) (8 pages) Paper No: JERT-19-1122; doi: 10.1115/1.4043711 History: Received March 05, 2019; Accepted May 02, 2019

Dual-fuel strategies can enable replacement of diesel fuel with low reactivity biofuels like hydrous ethanol. Previous work has shown that dual-fuel strategies using port injection of hydrous ethanol can replace up to 60% of diesel fuel on an energy basis. However, they yield negligible benefits in NOX emissions, soot emissions, and brake thermal efficiency (BTE) over conventional single fuel diesel operation. Pretreatment of hydrous ethanol through steam reforming before mixing with intake air offers the potential to both increase BTE and decrease soot and NOX emissions. Steam reforming can upgrade the heating value of the secondary fuel through thermochemical recuperation (TCR) and produces inert gases to act as a diluent similar to exhaust gas recirculation. This study experimentally investigated a novel thermally integrated steam reforming TCR reactor that uses sensible and chemical energy in the exhaust to provide the necessary heat for hydrous ethanol steam reforming. An off-highway diesel engine was operated at three speed and load settings with varying hydrous ethanol flow rates reaching fumigant energy fractions of up to 70%. The engine achieved soot reductions of close to 90% and minor NOX reductions; however, carbon monoxide and unburned hydrocarbon emissions increased. A first law energy balance using the experimental data shows that the developed TCR system effectively upgraded the heating value of the secondary fuel. Overall, hydrous ethanol steam reforming using TCR can lead to 23% increase in fuel heating value at 100% conversion, a limit approached in the conducted experiments.

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Fig. 1

Schematic of the hydrous ethanol ISR reactor showing flow paths

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Fig. 2

Isometric views of the ISR reactor: (a) overall manifold, (b) inner reactor tube, and (c) oxidation catalyst section (annulus) and reforming catalyst section (center)

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Fig. 3

Schematic of the ISR experimental setup. Dotted lines represent gas sampling lines.

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Fig. 4

In-cylinder pressure traces and apparent RoHR for mode 1 (1500 rpm, 4 bar)

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Fig. 5

Brake specific CO emissions from pre- and post-DOC as a function of FEF

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Fig. 6

Brake specific THC and CH4 emissions as measured by the FID sampled from pre- and post-DOC as a function of FEF

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Fig. 7

Brake specific post-DOC soot emissions as a function of FEF. Horizontal line represents EPA Tier 4 Standard for nonroad diesel engines.

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Fig. 8

Brake specific NO and NO2 emissions for pre- and post-DOC as a function of FEF

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Fig. 9

Brake specific NOX emissions for pre- and post-DOC as a function of FEF

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Fig. 10

DOC inlet and outlet temperatures as a function of FEF

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Fig. 11

Reformer outlet H2, CO, and HC concentration, reformer inlet temperature, reforming efficiency, and vaporizer power usage as a function of FEF

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Fig. 12

First law energy balance flow chart for the CDC 2000 rpm, 6 bar operating condition

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Fig. 13

First law energy balance flow chart for the ISR 2000 rpm, 6 bar operating condition at 45.8% FEF



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