Sandia Natl Labs develops a simple modification that greatly reduces soot emissions

Lightflyer1

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I sent Sandia National Labs and Paul Miles a letter asking about what it would take to make something like this to retrofit the dieselagte involved cars with this technology. The government should take some of the billions they collected in fines and pursue this. Huge PR and some environmental gain to be had here.
 
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gulfcoastguy

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The problem is that a majority of the world will no longer trust the operators to continue the nitrogen compound control process when no one is looking.
 

turbobrick240

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Sounds promising. If it works out, the tech will appear in new vehicles, ships etc. quite awhile before any significant retrofits happen.
 

TDIMeister

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An engine innovation first conceived and tested by Sandia National Laboratories has attracted the attention of big business because of its potential to cost-effectively reduce emissions of soot and nitrogen oxides, encourage the use of renewable fuels, and maintain or improve engine performance.


Ducted fuel injection, developed by Charles Mueller at Sandia's Combustion Research Facility, is able to fine-tune the fuel-air mixture in an engine to the point of eliminating between 50 percent-100 percent of the soot depending on the engine's instantaneous speed and power level.
https://youtu.be/1dijtRUZeLw
 
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TDIMeister

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I've been a proponent of cylinder deactivation for Diesels for a long time now, but the mechanisms for fuel savings and emissions benefits are different than for SI engines. As noted in the above article, the main benefit is by deactivating some cylinders, the remaining ones operate at relatively higher load; this much is in common with SI engines, but without an intake throttle, Diesels don't get the fuel economy increases of reduced pumping losses. Rather, the main benefit is that the EGT of the harder working firing cylinders is higher, therefore keeping aftertreatment systems at the temperatures needed for effective function. CDA by itself doesn't do too much for fuel economy, but small improvements can be realized when implemented with variable valve actuation/timing. Fewer DPF and SCR regens are other benefits.

http://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread.php?p=3505792#post3505792
 
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Lightflyer1

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Cylinder deactivation sounds way more complicated and involves more moving parts than the ducted fuel injection, which seems to have no moving parts and is fairly simple once developed and installed. There were some gas engines a ways back that did this (CDA) and IIRC they suffered a miserable end.
 

Powder Hound

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Don't write CDA off so quickly. Just because it failed earlier doesn't mean that improved implementation won't realize more of the theoretical gains. There are lots of things that didn't work so well the first time it was tried, but later efforts worked very well.

Cheers,

PH
 

Matt-98AHU

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Wow, the ducted fuel injection principles are awesome. Just a simple physical item placed around the injector more or less (and the injector itself I'm sure is altered to have a spray pattern that better lines up with the ducts).

The challenge with retrofits is there typically is very minimal room to anything else in the combustion chamber as it is. Valve reliefs are machined into the top of pistons because if they weren't, pistons would hammer the valves while the valves are closed... I found this out the hard way when I was attempting to figure out what was going on with this odd merging of two engines. Someone put a BEW bottom half with an ALH top half. BEW pistons do not have valve reliefs machined into them because the valves in the BEW head are designed to recess into the head a little. ALH and non-BEW PD heads have the valves protrude ever so slightly from the bottom of the head.

That engine was in fact hitting the valves with the valves closed... That's how little room there is.

Now, there's a smidge more room in commonrails with the wider combustion bowl and compression down to 16:1 instead of 18 or 19.5:1, but still, that ducting would have to almost be partly recessed back up into the head a little and require a different injector who's tip might not protrude into as far into the chamber as they currently do for many road-going diesels.

Where there's a will, there's a way I'm sure.

I'm not too worried about retrofits, but always good to see signs of relatively simple solutions that could kick diesel technology to the next level and maybe even simplify emissions aftertreatment systems.

Much more integrated-into-the-casting designs will eventually result, I'm sure. Just looking at the video of the flame fronts and seeing the chart of normal diesels, A/F ratio and the curve between soot and NOx generation and the much lower and nearly flat line of the ducted setup, hugely, hugely impressive difference this makes, especially for how simple a device it appears to be.

I suspect this may also have a very noticeable increase in efficiency too. I would not be surprised to see astounding differences in how little fuel a diesel uses with such a system.

I will be very, very curious to see the first OEM that goes into production with this and see how well it performs not only in terms of emissions, but power and economy as well.
 

Lightflyer1

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Wow, the ducted fuel injection principles are awesome. Just a simple physical item placed around the injector more or less (and the injector itself I'm sure is altered to have a spray pattern that better lines up with the ducts).
The challenge with retrofits is there typically is very minimal room to anything else in the combustion chamber as it is. Valve reliefs are machined into the top of pistons because if they weren't, pistons would hammer the valves while the valves are closed... I found this out the hard way when I was attempting to figure out what was going on with this odd merging of two engines. Someone put a BEW bottom half with an ALH top half. BEW pistons do not have valve reliefs machined into them because the valves in the BEW head are designed to recess into the head a little. ALH and non-BEW PD heads have the valves protrude ever so slightly from the bottom of the head.
That engine was in fact hitting the valves with the valves closed... That's how little room there is.
Now, there's a smidge more room in commonrails with the wider combustion bowl and compression down to 16:1 instead of 18 or 19.5:1, but still, that ducting would have to almost be partly recessed back up into the head a little and require a different injector who's tip might not protrude into as far into the chamber as they currently do for many road-going diesels.
Where there's a will, there's a way I'm sure.
I'm not too worried about retrofits, but always good to see signs of relatively simple solutions that could kick diesel technology to the next level and maybe even simplify emissions aftertreatment systems.
Much more integrated-into-the-casting designs will eventually result, I'm sure. Just looking at the video of the flame fronts and seeing the chart of normal diesels, A/F ratio and the curve between soot and NOx generation and the much lower and nearly flat line of the ducted setup, hugely, hugely impressive difference this makes, especially for how simple a device it appears to be.
I suspect this may also have a very noticeable increase in efficiency too. I would not be surprised to see astounding differences in how little fuel a diesel uses with such a system.
I will be very, very curious to see the first OEM that goes into production with this and see how well it performs not only in terms of emissions, but power and economy as well.
Just imagine no more regens and getting rid of most of the exhaust after treatment system. A huge cost savings on these cars and lower emissions more than likely plus a boost in power maybe. Sounds like a win/win. Only problem is we will probably never see it.
 

GoFaster

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It's rather unlikely that a modification like this would reduce regulated emissions enough to eliminate aftertreatment, but it can give the aftertreatment an easier job.

Now, where to put such a physical gadget into an automotive-scale cylinder head surrounded by valves and glow plug ... I have my doubts. Still, even if this only works on engines the scale of locomotives or ocean-going vessels, it's a good thing.
 

kjclow

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Not saying it won't work but it almost sounds like the hype of the 100 mpg carbs.
 

Lightflyer1

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Did that hype come from Sandia National Labs?

It should give the emissions a much much easier job. With soot being reduced 50-100% and NOx dropping a lot as well, they would have to work a lot less. DPF regens at 1k mile increments instead of 200 miles?
 

woofie2

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With Sandia's research aimed at larger diesel engines, I suspect applications in shipping, generators and locomotive systems as their money point. it will take Bosio or someone to build a smaller engine injector on this design.

Likely 2-3 years until anyone goes to mass production on the new injectors, my guess is that there will need to be some redesign on engines from CAT, GE, Bosch, etc to incorporate this new injector.
 

alext91

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Wow, Drummond Biles was one of my TAs in college! Really cool to see his name on this!

Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
 

SilverGhost

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Well, the piston bowl is mainly there to work with injector spray to promote fuel/air mixing. The ducted injector removes this need. Without the bowl the piston can stop further from head or head can have a pocket.

Not an easy retrofit, but 'simple' change during design stage.

Jason
 

casioqv

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I think the TDI or other small direct injection engines should be simple to retrofit in this manner, by putting the ducts inside the existing piston bowl. It would essentially be just a new injector nozzle with an extra part, that will require removal of the head. The new nozzles will have six machined jets instead of a circular spray, and exposed threads on the bottom. After installing the injectors with the head removed, you could screw on a fan shaped six-way duct designed to fit neatly into the stock bowl.

Further improvements could be had with an entirely new piston, machined in a 'starburst' pattern to have a spot for each duct.



Overall it's pretty shocking that something this simple works so much better than the highly optimized current approach.
 

GoFaster

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For sure any proposed modification like this would have to be designed in tandem with revising the shape of the piston top. The trouble on smaller engines is that the injector is surrounded by valves (and a glow plug tip) and there is not much real estate to work with.

The photo in the opening shot of the article shows this device in somebody's fingertips ... the whole deal looks to be (guess) 20mm across, and looks really intricate ... those socket-head screws are really really small. But there isn't that much real estate available on an automotive cylinder head. It would have to be even smaller.

Unless ... you re-think the way the injector sprays, and build something that achieves this function directly into the cylinder head itself.
 

DPM

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I'm wondering if you could build it into the injector- instead of minimising the tip of the nozzle, give it lots of mass then "core" a ring out axially and drill a larger outer hole and then the smaller EDM'd injection hole concentrically for each hole..
 

Dannyboy

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I remember seeing the paper on this back in 2017, interesting read but like what Go-faster said it's going to be difficult to engineer a duct into a relatively small area that will effectively work, going to have to completely redesign the head and piston bowl to accommodate it. With electrification rolling out at VW , no point spending money on something that's going to be obsolete in the near future. If VW wasn't caught with their pants down back in 2015 , they very well may have had the time and money to develop this. They are beginning to distance themselves from diesel now
 

QuickTD

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Unless ... you re-think the way the injector sprays, and build something that achieves this function directly into the cylinder head itself.
Anybody remember pre-chambers? For something like this to survive in the severe heat and oxidising environment of a modern diesel, it will require cooling and need to be made from inconel. The whole thing will need to be buried in the head, like a pre-chamber, to properly cool. As a result, it will suffer the same high surface area heat loss (efficiency and starting problems) as a pre-chamber. Nice idea and probably works well in a low specific output test engine. I just can't see it working out in real life.
 

woofie2

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I'm wondering if you could build it into the injector- instead of minimising the tip of the nozzle, give it lots of mass then "core" a ring out axially and drill a larger outer hole and then the smaller EDM'd injection hole concentrically for each hole..
Refashioning the injector nozzle for smaller engines will be tough, pictured looks like it would be for a very large engine, (power plant, shipping boat, something large!) places where a retrofit would be a better idea than replacement of the head.

Second phase would be motors for truck freight, likely a head redesign with multiple injectors? a place where it is easier to test and redesign.
Then maybe they look at smaller than 5L engines....

If you look at in dollars, the bigger engines need more improvements, they flat burn more fuel.
https://www.worldmaritimeaffairs.com/worlds-largest-diesel-engine-wartsila-sulzer/
Where a 10% gain means 1000's of dollars a month or in a semi truck is $300 a month vs a 10% gain in a half ton, 3/4 ton or 1 ton pickup is $20
 

nicklockard

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I can definitely see this retrofittable to cargo ship diesel engines, trains, and large generators. A second generation could possibly retrofit to HD diesel OTR engines and if the specific application warranted the investment and trials.
 

woofie2

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I can definitely see this retrofittable to cargo ship diesel engines, trains, and large generators. A second generation could possibly retrofit to HD diesel OTR engines and if the specific application warranted the investment and trials.
Someone like Bosio would need to view and tweak their design to be closer to the larger nozzle, but making micron sized holes is a very small process.
 

nicklockard

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Someone like Bosio would need to view and tweak their design to be closer to the larger nozzle, but making micron sized holes is a very small process.
Perhaps they can, but I suspect that there are at least these two critical design criteria:

1. Minimum annular gap size needed to support sufficient air mass and velocity, paired with

2. Annular gap width (AGW) to Orifice size ratio (AGW/OS)

And it's probable dependent on shape of discharge cone, pressure drops, and maybe a few other things. There are probably 625 ways to get it wrong and 2 ways to get it right.

The only way I see an aftermarket supplier succeeding at it is by partnering with SNL and buying rights to the IP.

But it would be insanely cool if they were up for the challenge! Imagine the tuning possibilities it would open up.
 
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