European and US emission legislation on diesel compression ignition engines has pushed for the development of new types of combustion concepts to reduce hazardous pollutants and increase fuel efficiency. Partially premixed combustion (PPC) has been proposed as one solution to future restrictions on emissions while providing high gross indicated efficiency. The conceptual idea is that the time for the mixing between fuel and air will be longer when ignition delay is increased by addition of high amounts of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR). Increased air-fuel mixing time will lead to lower soot emissions and the high EGR rates will reduce both NOx emissions and combustion flame temperature, which decreases the overall heat transfer.
Previous research in heavy-duty gasoline PPC has mostly focused on emissions and efficiency at low and medium load in single-cylinder engines. In this paper a Volvo D13 heavy-duty single-stage VGT engine with a newly developed Wave piston was run at medium and high engine load with a variation in fuel injection pressure. The Wave piston was specifically designed to enhance air-fuel mixing and increase combustion velocity. Two fuels were used in the experiments, PRF70 and Swedish MK1 diesel. Soot-NOx trade-off, combustion characteristics and efficiency were compared for both fuels at 1000 and 2000 Nm engine torque. The results show that at high load the combustion behavior with respect to rate of heat release and heat transfer is very similar between the fuels and no major difference in indicated efficiency could be observed. Peak gross indicated efficiencies were reported to be around 49 % for both fuels at 1000 Nm and slightly above 50 % at 2000 Nm. The new Wave piston made it possible to obtain 1 g/kWh engine-out NOx emissions while still complying with Euro VI legislation for particulate emissions. Soot emissions were generally lower for PRF70 compared to MK1 diesel. We could also conclude that gas exchange performance is a major issue when running high load PPC where high Λ and EGR is required. The single-stage VGT turbocharger could not provide sufficient boost to keep Λ above 1.3 at high EGR rates. This penalized combustion efficiency and soot emissions when reaching Euro VI NOx emission levels (0.3–0.5 g/kWh).