This paper describes the technical approach for converting a Caterpillar 3406 natural gas spark ignited engine into HCCI mode. The paper describes all stages of the process, starting with a preliminary analysis that determined that the engine can be operated by preheating the intake air with a heat exchanger that recovers energy from the exhaust gases. This heat exchanger plays a dual role, since it is also used for starting the engine. For start-up, the heat exchanger is preheated with a natural gas burner. The engine is therefore started in HCCI mode, avoiding the need to handle the potentially difficult transition from SI or diesel mode to HCCI. The fueling system was modified by replacing the natural gas carburetor with a liquid petroleum gas (LPG) carburetor. This modification sets an upper limit for the equivalence ratio at φ∼0.4, which is ideal for HCCI operation and guarantees that the engine will not fail due to knock. Equivalence ratio can be reduced below 0.4 for low load operation with an electronic control valve. Intake boosting has been a challenge, as commercially available turbochargers are not a good match for the engine, due to the low HCCI exhaust temperature. Commercial introduction of HCCI engines for stationary power will therefore require the development of turbochargers designed specifically for this mode of operation. Considering that no appropriate off-the-shelf turbocharger for HCCI engines exists at this time, we are investigating mechanical supercharging options, which will deliver the required boost pressure (3 bar absolute intake) at the expense of some reduction in the output power and efficiency. An appropriate turbocharger can later be installed for improved performance when it becomes available or when a custom turbocharger is developed. The engine is now running in HCCI mode and producing power in an essentially naturally aspirated mode. Current work focuses on developing an automatic controller for obtaining consistent combustion in the 6 cylinders. The engine will then be tested for 1000 hours to demonstrate durability. This paper presents intermediate progress towards development of an HCCI engine for stationary power generation and next steps towards achieving the project goals.

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