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Michigan Tech new Test Lab for basic research of IC engine-

 

How many times do we hear from Engineer types that everything is known about the internal combustion engine and very little improvement possible. This Mechanical Engineer professor doesn't agree. The college is setting up a state of art lab for basic research in ICE process.

 

-start- some tidbits of article

 

"We have been able to harness that process, but we don't fully understand what's happening," says Jeff Naber, an associate professor of mechanical engineering–engineering mechanics.

“Naber expects to apply that understanding to another project: developing engines that continuously adapt to changing fuels, environmental conditions, and engine variability and wear.

 

"It's pretty exciting," he says. "It would transform how engines operate."

 

Combustion control systems are now calibrated according to what Naber calls "the worst case scenario," which works OK on nearly all engines, but not perfectly on any. An adaptable engine would sense those difference and respond throughout the life of the engine. "We could continuously monitor and control combustion to maximize efficiency and minimize emissions" he says. "The goal is to sense what an engine is doing and adjust to it continuously, even as it fires fifty times a second in each cylinder."

 

Naber leads another project on a different kind of internal combustion engine: a hybrid that runs on flex fuel and meets the world's most stringent emissions standards. "There is no ethanol flex-fuel hybrid available because it's a big challenge to meet these emissions standards," he says.

 

That work is being funded by a $1.5 million grant from the Michigan Public Service Commission and over $1 million in support from General Motors, Sensors Inc. of Saline, Argonne National Laboratory's Transportation Technology R&D Center, and Michigan Tech.

 

Flex-fuel engines can burn anything from pure gasoline to E85—a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gas. Ethanol contains only 63 percent of the stored energy of gasoline and requires about three times the energy to vaporize. Straight gasoline, however, can cause engine knock in a high-performance engine that would run smoothly on ethanol.

 

The researchers are addressing ethanol's benefits and rough spots. "Under most conditions, gasoline and ethanol behave similarly," says Naber. "But there are differences under high load—when you put the pedal to the metal—where the ethanol provides a significant benefit—and during cold start, when emissions go up significantly with ethanol blended fuels.

 

http://www.mtu.edu/research/archives/magazine/2010/stories/major-overhaul/

 

 

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Note:

 

I think auto companies get hammered with EPA certification requirements and legal liability of their pollution control equipment and control.

 

"There is no ethanol flex-fuel hybrid available because it's a big challenge to meet these emissions standards," he says.

 

It must be multiple times more expensive to comply to regs with a flex type engine. Two fuels, at varying ratio's of mix and each fuel has different chemistry alone and react with each other to form new fuels.

 

For instance, vapor pressure of pure ethanol or pure gasoline is lower separately, but higher when combined. 

 

 

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"Naber leads another project on a different kind of internal combustion engine: a hybrid that runs on flex fuel and meets the world's most stringent emissions standards. "There is no ethanol flex-fuel hybrid available because it's a big challenge to meet these emissions standards," he says."

Since when?  :o

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For instance, vapor pressure of pure ethanol or pure gasoline is lower separately, but higher when combined. 

 

 

 

This is only the case in low ethanol blends- E10 is the worst with the RVP dropping at approx E20 depending on the base gas used. And with CBOB or RBOB for base gas it is not a factor at all- only with conventional NL (as far as exceeding EPA allowances anyway).

 

As far as vapor pressures affecting cold start- straight gas is almost gone in the market, E10-E15 would be the highest vapor pressure with the pressure only seeing gradual decline up thru about E75, then a greater drop rate to E85, and a sharp drop to E98. Similar for evap emissions thru hoses are used that are low permeablility for ethanol (another good reason to just make them all FFV's)

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These E85 hybrid vehicles have been and are undergoing real world field testing:

 

RFAE85EscaoeHbyridLargee-mailview.jpg

maybe someone can ask the RFA about this 2008 model.

 

 

 

       

 

              e85escapeatpump.jpg                         

 

 

                                         

versasune85escapehybrid.jpg

 

The above two were in the hands of Verasun

 

 

width=500 height=375http://i241.photobucket.com/albums/ff26/Billyk24/phevescapehybrid.jpg[/img]

 

This is one of the twenty two PHEV E85 Ford Escape's currently undergoing field testing--the first was created in September 2007!

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Did see that Ford had some prototype testing '07/'08 years but not much news since then. Must be the complexity of emissions per the article?

 

The quick drop in vapor pressure with more ethanol a good thing. As I understand the petrol base stock RBOB per EPA limit on vapor pressure. The reason conventional/formulated gasoline for oxygenates, reformulated.

 

Blending requirement of petrol appears to be half alchemy. Have the myriad boutique blends decrease per the ethanol blend agent? It's amazing how complicated gasoline is, such as all the -tanes in the brew.  Variability and quality control must be challenge.  Ethanol sure should be a cake walk upon purity and quality control for repeatability. Probably no need to be concerned with vapor pressure once hitting that E98 blend. 

 

All of this should be a large motivation upon environmental concerns to push ethanol to high blends.  Environmental concerns should propel high ethanol fuel to forefront. Good to move engine technology to ethanol fuel concerns like This Mich Tech prof doing-

 

"The researchers are addressing ethanol's benefits and rough spots. "Under most conditions, gasoline and ethanol behave similarly," says Naber. "But there are differences under high load—when you put the pedal to the metal—where the ethanol provides a significant benefit—and during cold start, when emissions go up significantly with ethanol blended fuels."

 

With petrol how can we possibly know the entire spectrum of pollutants coming out of tailpipes, especially upon startup with such a varying brew of hydrocarbons in the tank? EPA really only checking a few. How easy for them to focus all danger to CO2. How about cancer pollutants that harm us? Makes me think better to just increase ethanol instead and keep traditional gasoline as it is. Keep gasoline a standard and increase ethanol to solve emissions problems with technology addressing needs of ethanol.  Meaning we have fallen in a rut to adapt pollution technology to petrol and look to see if ethanol will screw it up. Then we go on to condemn ethanol as the problem. This is backward pollution technology development. We should look to the fuel with simpler requirement and push that solution with technology condemning gasoline as the problem.

 

Hardening off fuel components per ethanol's higher  permeation emissions good and offers fuel lines with stainless corrosion resistance.

 

Was reading a Power Point presentation from Grad student in Quebec.  Some interesting points:

 

-Engine technology will adapt to fuel supply with improving popularity of higher ethanol blends. (this isn't happening)

 

- Ethanol has an anti-oxidant that reduces gum formation in stored gasoline. Remember all the gum deposit problems of past from overwintering gas? Thank you ethanol.

 

- Ethanol is an anti-icer

 

- Removes soluble deposit impurities in fuel system and placing them in fuel filter. (this is a good thing often portrayed as bad)

 

- Ethanol promotes more complete combustion of gasoline. (ethanol makes gasoline look better)

 

- Aldehyde pollution compared to gas

 

    - Before converter E22  +20%    E100  +350%

    - After converter E22  0%    E100  +120%

 

- Air pollution with out cat

 

    -E6 CO  -27%, and the rest lowered VOC, HC, PM, SOx

 

- Air pollution with cat

 

    E6  No difference as compared to gasoline   

 

 

 

 

-

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That point of Montreal grad student of claiming ethanol has anti-oxidants that prevent gasoline from forming gums. If true, that would mean not only does ethanol dissolve gum and varnish, but it also prevents the formation. What a perfect injector fuel.

 

Also, air pollution control equipment has at its biggest threat to faulty operation; that’s right petrol gum, varnish, sulfur, carbon build up, particulate, etc. These are primarily problems of petrol, so ethanol will promote long term operation of air pollution equipment, something the EPA should be all concerned with. We’re spending fortunes to make petrol behave upon ICE, and little to make engines run ethanol more efficiently. The latter being a lower cost solution. What gives? To much political power within the petrol industry to support central control? Better to push larger petrol corps around per central control as this is political expedient and popular. Not so with small business of ethanol. Makes you think.

 

Also, haven’t we all read of ethanol promoting short self life of gasoline. Well, if ethanol has antioxidants that statement would be false. The opponents of ethanol blends claim ethanol not only absorbs water from gas tanks, but pulls water magically from air. No way. Air may condense upon inside of metal fuel tanks vented to atmosphere upon weather changes and humidity, but that’s a normal concern and ethanol or not this phenomenon will stall an engine. Quicker if no ethanol around to pull the water into fuel mix for engine combustion. Granted something called phase change of the ethanol gas mix may occur upon lots of water and low concentration of ethanol. This will precipitate some acids and problem fuel based on long storage life, stale gasoline, and lots of water. Gasoline alone will precipitate some nasty chemicals upon long storage and water. The solution to this is not to be PO’d about ethanol, but to put more ethanol in the mix. If you have such problems…..don’t take the ethanol out put more in. 

 

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