Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

GasOn Report Summary

Project ID: 652816
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.4.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - GasOn (Gas-Only internal combustion engines)

Reporting period: 2015-05-01 to 2016-10-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

In order to realize sustainable mobility in Europe, both urban and long distance vehicles for road transport will have to be significantly more efficient by 2020+. Most part of these targets will be achieved improving vehicle aerodynamics, through vehicle weight reduction and by influencing driving patterns. At the same time, a considerable contribution will have to come from the energy efficiency improvement of the powertrain.
Moreover, in 2030 more than 65% of all road transport vehicles will be still powered by Internal Combustion Engines - ICE - running on liquid fuels, and therefore engines have to become thermodynamically more efficient.
In the same timeframe, renewable fuels should cover 25% of the energy demand for the road transport while it is expected that until then, the mainstream fuels will resemble current fuels (Diesel oil and gasoline) and will consist of blends of fossil fuels with increasing amounts of biomass-derived components. This means that future engines will have to be able to cope with the resulting variation in fuel quality.
On the other hand, together with the progressive efficiency increase coming from the engine technology evolution, the use of Low-Carbon Alternative Fuels, such as Natural Gas, will play a fundamental role to accelerate the process of decarbonization of the transportation sector that in Europe is targeted for the 2050 time horizon.
The benefits of the Natural Gas Vehicles adoption in Europe can be summarized as follows:
• The only real alternative to conventional vehicles (both from fossil and renewable sources). A viable near/medium term option for energy diversification and to lessen the transportation system dependence on crude oil due to globally wider reserves and a better geopolitical distribution.
• Capability to provide a relevant contribution for CO2 targets with an intrinsically clean fuel with the lowest carbon content and tailpipe CO2 emissions among hydrocarbon fuels, able to heavily reduce transportation greenhouse gas emissions and to provide a significant contribution to the reduction of local pollution to the air quality improvement.
• A structurally cheaper solution due to less expensive production, transportation and distribution. Additionally the technology is proven, available, and at low cost compared to other alternatives.
• A strategic asset that supports progressive diversification from fossil fuels to bio-methane produced from renewable sources and biomasses and power-to-gas (PtG-) methane, produced with sustainably generated H2 (via electrolysis with renewable wind power) and CO2 out of the environment (closed CO2 circle).
• The already most relevant fleet of alternative fuel vehicles in Europe (close to 1 Mega units). Already demonstrated relevant contribution to lower gaseous and acoustical emissions than conventional fuels.
The consortium of the EU GasOn project strongly believes that Natural Gas / Methane has the potential to play a major role as automotive transportation fuel of the future passenger cars, trucks and buses, since methane is an environmentally friendly energy carrier which can easily be produced by different pathways:
• fossil exploration of natural gas (CNG / LNG) (already more than 25% CO2 reduction potential)
• bio mass digestion (bio-methane) (nearly CO2 free with one of the best land use efficiencies of all bio-fuels)
• by PtG (Power-to-Gas) technology (nearly CO2 free with much better land use efficiency than any bio-fuel)
This project aims to exploit the main benefits of gas-powered engines developing CNG-only, mono-fuel-engines able to comply with post Euro 6 noxious emissions and 2020+ CO2 emissions target according to the new homologation cycle and real driving conditions, and simultaneously improving engine efficiency and vehicle performance also with regard to its CNG driving range capability.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The following results have been achieved in the first 18 months of the project
• Stoichiometric & high structural integrity small TC VVA DI engine. Developed a small displacement CNG engine without any compromise with gasoline fuel needs (no bi-fuel version), which integrates turbocharger technology with an advanced VVA (Variable Valve Actuation) system combined with the Gaseous DI (Direct Injection) system and supported by optical engine investigations of air/gas mixing and specific knocking model development.
• Super downsized CNG engine with advanced boosting and variable compression ratio. To enable 20 % CO2 reduction vs. the best in class CNG vehicle 2014 a new extremely downsized dedicated CNG powertrain development has been started, to be installed in a dedicated CNG demonstrator vehicle.Instead of the reference 4-cylinder-1.6l port fuel injected (PFI) CNG engine a highly boosted 1.0l-3-cylinder engine was used as basis for the new dedicated CNG powertrain. A continuously variable valve lift (cVVL) system was introduced on the intake side, with the purpose to reduce gas exchange losses and thus to improve efficiency; a new designed CNG direct injection system was adapted to the GasOn engine. Torque and peak power enhancement was achieved by the application of an absolute new parallel-sequential charging system - consisting of two turbochargers
• Charge dilution and exhaust gas temperature management. Started the design of a dedicated CNG engine integrating advanced technologies like, direct injection, increased compression ratio and increased peak pressure capability, charge dilution and variable geometry turbocharger.
• Non-DI CNG lean burn combustion process. Developed a non-DI CNG lean burn combustion concept with a new ignition concept for lambda (λ) up to 2. Several measures and tests were used during these first 18 months to support the pre-chamber combustion and ignition development. From the first results, a lean mixture with λ = 1.8 and a compression ratio of 14 seems possible.
• On-board gas sensor concept. Developed a Gas Quality Sensor, able to detect gas quality at any operating condition.
• Dedicated after-treatment specification applied to CNG DI engine. Developed a low precious metal content of 3 way catalyst, while satisfying post Euro 6 emissions level tailored for CNG DI applications (stoichiometric & diluted combustion) mitigating cost compared to versions for gasoline engines. The target is to reduce precious metals by up to 40-50% compared to state of the art technology.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The technological improvements carried out in the GasOn project, not only in terms of engine efficiency and fuel consumption, but even in terms of performance and “fun to drive”, surely will increase the customer acceptance of CNG vehicles. With the support of government incentives and a gas station infrastructure sufficiently available, this type of improved vehicle is very likely to lead to further market penetration of CNG vehicles. Once an adequate CNG infrastructure and vehicle market are established, CNG can be simply replaced with sustainable fuel of the highest available land use and CO2 avoidance efficiency, as bio-methane and (even more effective), PtG- (Power-to-Gas) methane. Since form the technical standpoint all methane fuels an absolutely compatible to each other, this task has to be steered at political level. Blend walls do not exist.

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