Low-pressure exhaust gas recirculation (LP-EGR) is an EGR configuration in which clean exhaust gas is taken downstream of the turbine and aftertreatment, and then reintroduced upstream of the compressor (1). Employing LP-EGR on Diesel engines can improve fuel economy by reducing pumping losses, lowering intake manifold temperature and facilitating advanced combustion phasing (2, 3). The LP-EGR can also improve compressor and turbine performance by moving their operating points towards higher flow rate and higher efficiency points, which is reflected as a net reduction in pumping losses of the engine. In this study, we focus on effects of introducing LP-EGR on the compressor pressure ratio, and isentropic total-to-total efficiency.

The flow field of LP-EGR and air mixing upstream of the compressor as well as the entire compressor stage were studied using a CFD RANS model. The model was validated against turbocharger gas stand measurements. A T-junction mixer was chosen as the design baseline, and various configurations of this mixer were evaluated. The impact of the geometric configuration of the mixer was studied by varying mixing length, EGR jet introduction angle, and EGR-to-air cross section area ratio over a wide range of relevant engine operating conditions.

The flow field upstream of the compressor is strongly affected by the dimensionless quantity EGR-to-air momentum ratio. At intermediate momentum ratios, stream-wise counter-rotating vortex pairs (4) are induced in the flow. These vortices can reach the impeller inlet, and depending on vorticity and length scale, perturb the local velocity triangle. At low and high momentum ratios, creeping or impinging jets respectively are formed. In addition prewhirl can be induced by eccentric introduction of EGR. The EGR-induced prewhirl acts similar to an inlet guide vane and can alter the incidence angle at the impeller inlet.

The performance of the compressor is altered by the EGR-induced flow field. Compressor pressure ratio is either increased or decreased depending on the direction of EGR-induced prewhirl with eccentric EGR introduction. The compressor efficiency decreases at low flow rates by introduction of concentric EGR due to perturbation of the velocity triangle at the impeller inlet. On the other hand, at low flow rates compressor efficiency can be improved by eccentric EGR introduction, which generates prewhirl in the direction of rotation of the impeller leading to improved incidence angle. The extent to which the compressor is influenced by the EGR-induced flow field is generally reduced by increasing the EGR mixing length, due to viscous damping and breakdown of large-scale EGR-induced vortices.

The LP-EGR configuration provides a potential pathway towards improvement of compressor performance, not only by increasing compressor flow rate, but also by manipulation of the flow field. Given that the engine pumping losses are strongly dependent on compressor performance, specifically the compressor efficiency, this study indicates that LP-EGR provides an important path towards reducing pumping loss and improving fuel conversion efficiency.

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