Heavy-Duty Fuels

Schematic of single-cylinder engine with optical access. Laser enters piston bowl through windows in cylinder wall (not shown) and piston bowl-rim. Light passes through window in top of piston and is reflected by a stationary mirror into a camera.

Experiments conducted in this laboratory support enhanced U.S. energy security and environmental quality by helping to displace petroleum imports through developing and deploying more-efficient, clean engines and domestically produced fuels. Research efforts are focused on quantifying the impacts of emerging bio-derived and renewable fuel blends on processes occurring within the combustion chamber. This information can be used to determine how unique properties of emerging fuels can be used synergistically with advanced combustion strategies to help enable a new generation of reciprocating internal-combustion engines that consume less fuel and produce lower emissions per unit of work output.

The laboratory is centered on a modern 1.7-liter, single-cylinder, diesel engine that has been modified to provide extensive optical access to the combustion chamber. Laser-based and advanced imaging diagnostics can be applied to gain a fundamental understanding of fuel effects on the detailed in-cylinder mixing and combustion processes that govern engine efficiency and emissions. These data are critical for enabling engine manufacturers and fuel suppliers to learn how they can work together to achieve legislated targets in the most cost-effective manner possible.