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Experimental and Computational Tools for Combustion Optimization in Marine and Automotive Engines

Final Report Summary - ECCO-MATE (Experimental and Computational Tools for Combustion Optimization in Marine and Automotive Engines)

The inter- and intra-sectorial ECCO-MATE ITN aims to create a research and training platform on fuel injection technologies and strategies for both marine and light-duty automotive diesel engines. The project investigates and generates new knowledge and establishes relevant synergies between the two sectors. The marine (slow speed, large-sized, two-stroke engines) and land-transport (high speed, small-to-medium-sized, four-stroke engines) sectors share essentially the same strategic challenges, namely the implementation of efficient and fuel flexible combustion technologies in order to improve engine efficiency and meet stringent emission standards. However, there is little established training and academic communication between the two sectors, despite the common problems relating to the fuel injection, ignition and combustion methodologies and potentialities of new – more environmentally friendly – fuels. ECCO-MATE bridges this gap by creating a platform for research output exchange between the two sectors on diesel engine combustion by coupling state-of-the-art flow physics and combustion chemistry with CFD tools and advanced optical diagnostics. The research undertaken in the frame of the project focuses on the development and implementation of novel fuel mixture preparation, injection profiling, air management and staged/low temperature combustion technologies. A multitude of interlinked state-of-the-art experimental and computational approaches are implemented to investigate the complex physical-chemical processes occurring in the engine cylinder (local fuel/air mixing, ignition, pollutant formation). The car engine paradigm and the ECCO-MATE contribution are shown in Figure 1. Furthermore, ECCO-MATE investigates the interactions between modern marine and automotive propulsion systems and Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) technologies for Waste Heat Recovery (WHR) applications and develops tools that allow the engine emission and environmental impact assessment.
The consortium comprises 16 key partners - 6 Universities, 5 major key-stakeholders from the marine and automotive engine industries and 5 associate partners - from 8 EU countries and Japan. They closely interact based on their expertise (Figure 2). The network trained 12 ESRs and 7 ERs (Figure 3).

ECCO-MATE implemented a multi-parameter approach to address future engine needs coupling physically and chemically driven phenomena to engine operation (Figure 4). Highlights of project developments are shown in Figure 5. More specifically the ECCO-MATE scientific achievements are:
- Combustion Diagnostics: Development of Chemical kinetic models for transportation relevant branched alkanes: New ignition delay data for five hexane isomers and nine heptane isomers in high-pressure shock tube (HPST) and rapid compression machine (RCM) at conditions relevant to diesel engine combustion (ESR6). Development of new C6 and C7 mechanisms and validation with ignition delay data (ER6). Development of new method for gas Chromatography and mass spectrometry measurements in plug flow reactor (ESR3)
- Optical Engine Diagnostics: New experimental data for characterization of combustion process in optical engines (ESR4, ESR5, ESR7, ER4, ER5) using a variety of techniques and optical engine diagnostics (e.g. droplet sizing, chemiluminescence imaging, LIF) aiming to detailed mapping of combustion process. The outcome of the joint research is a comprehensive in-cylinder data set.
- Combustion Chemistry: NTUA-HMCS (ESR1), NUIG (ESR6) and BTU (ESR3) focused on the validation and further development of their mechanisms both individually as well as through joint efforts in order to produce a kinetic scheme able to emulate the behavior of an actual commercial fuel all over the temperature regime, capturing the fuels’ sensitivity and auto ignition properties as well as the high temperature oxidation behavior responsible for NOx and soot formation. The NTUA mechanism is revalidated against key intermediate species that affect the performance of the mechanism on soot and PAH formation and is also enhanced with oxygenated species. The NUIG mechanism is validated against novel experimental ignition delay time data obtained in the Shock Tube and the Rapid Compression Machine configurations, developed and optimized at NUIG. BTU has done a thorough literature research on PFR data comparing these results with simulations with several mechanisms Research towards engine operation optimization and emission reduction has proved the beneficial aspects of oxygenated species in engine applications.
- Spray characterization: Simulation models of fuel-air mixing in spray combustion systems (spray and droplet breakup, fuel evaporation and fuel-air mixing, flame lift-off). Implementation in 2-stroke marine diesel engine injectors (ESR2, ESR8, ESR12)
- Interactions between modern marine and automotive propulsion systems and Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) technologies for Waste Heat Recovery (WHR) applications: The undertaken research targets marine propulsion systems and marine/stationary power generation units, as well as on-/off-road Heavy Duty (HD) engines. Results include: Engine level modelling of advanced turbocharging systems for the purpose of combined system performance optimisation. Flow and combustion simulations in large two-stroke marine Diesel engines (ESR2). Utilization of possible heat sources, working fluids, cycle layouts and heat sink management (e.g. engine cooling circuit potential assessment), possible interactions between an exhaust gas driven ORC system and state-of-the-art exhaust gas architectures and devices. ORC system performance modelling with the simulation tool ‘Engineering Equation Solver (EES) (ESR11). Development and implementation of steady-state system simulation models for engine heat source, cycle layout and working fluid evaluation studies Simulations in 1-D engine code and ORC –EES code (ER7). Characterisation of pollutants and quantification of exhaust species from burning marine fuels, based on simulation studies (ER3).
- Review of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) techniques for marine propulsion technologies (ESR9) and implementation in specific cases (Figure 6). The LCA studies (ER1 and ESR9) a) quantified the environmental impact of different fuels beyond mere combustion and demonstrated the influence of the supply chains (up to 10%) on the overall environmental performance of ship propulsion systems, b) evaluated the environmental impacts for realistic operational profiles of different vessel types in terms of power demand. This level of inventory detail is missing from existing literature and leads to more accurate environmental impact assessments, c) provided the scientific basis for systematic environmental target setting in the transport sector and facilitate comprehensive eco-design of internal combustion engines.

ECCO-MATE yielded now knowledge based on experimental results and advanced computational tools, directly serving the engine research needs of the marine and light-duty automotive industries together with a substantial number of highly qualified researchers capable of further supporting research in the field. The project created a platform of research exchange and transfer between the lightweight automotive and heavy duty marine diesel engine sectors on mixture preparation, injection profiling, air management and staged/low temperature injection. It assessed the impact of the adoption of the novel engine technologies on the overall vessel and vehicle efficiency and GHG emissions. It created new foreground in models, experimental results and computational methods applicable in engine research.

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