Reactivity Controlled Compression Ignition (RCCI) is an engine combustion strategy that utilizes in-cylinder fuel blending to produce low NOx and PM emissions while maintaining high thermal efficiency. The current study investigates RCCI and conventional diesel combustion (CDC) operation in a light-duty multi-cylinder engine using a transient capable engine test cell.

The main focus of the work uses engine experiments to investigate methods which can improve low-load RCCI operation. The first set of experiments investigated RCCI operation during cold start conditions. The next set of tests investigated combustion mode switching between RCCI and CDC.

During the cold start tests, RCCI performance and emissions were measured over a range of engine coolant temperatures from 48 to 85°C. A combination of open and closed loop controls enabled RCCI to operate at a 1,500 rpm, 1 bar BMEP operating point over this range of coolant temperatures.

At a similar operating condition, i.e. 1,500 rpm, 2 bar BMEP, the engine was instantaneously switched between CDC and RCCI combustion using the same open and closed loop controls as the cold start testing. During the mode switch tests, emissions and performance were measured with high speed sampling equipment. The tests revealed that it was possible to operate RCCI down to 48°C with simple open and closed loop controls with emissions and efficiency similar to the warm steady-state values. Next, the mode switching tests were successful in switching combustion modes with minimal deviations in emissions and performance in either mode at steady-state.

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