Electrical efficiency is an important factor for most of the owners of gas engines. To reach a high electrical efficiency, engine manufacturers use four valve cylinder head technology on new designed engines. The change from two valve to four valve technology, in combination with optimized charge motion, can achieve an increase of electrical efficiency up to 2.5%. A significant number of engines in the market are only equipped with two valve cylinder heads, thus leaving potential to reduce carbon emissions and fuel consumption.

The scope of the paper applies to the modernization of an already well established gas engine series available on the market with a power range of 500–1100kW [1].

In the first step, the potentials were considered purely in the context of a change in configuration of the spark plug, to pre-chamber spark plug. As second step an optimization of the ports was examined. Due to the pre-existing high level of development of the combustion stage, combined with an adaption of the boost charging system, an improvement of almost 2.5% was achieved. According to data sheets, modern gas engines within this power range have efficiencies in the range of ηe ∼ 44%. The project team therefore proceeded to develop a new cylinder head along with new design leading to a better combustion. Minimizing changes around the periphery of the engine was a prerequisite in order to complete these on site as part of the 30.000-hour service. Intake- as well as exhaustport geometries were optimized with the aid of CFD tools, such that swirl and flow capacity values achieved their specified objectives. The geometries of the water jacket and valve train were also optimized through a similar methodology. These changes led to a 7% reduction in gas exchange work, which directly reflect within improved efficiency levels. Altogether, the various measures (including combustion optimization) resulted in an efficiency improvement of about 2.5% leading to an electric efficiency of 42.9%. The first endurance run shows that the mechanics match the expected technical requirements. Very low wear rates despite the increased masses of the valve train could be reached due to higher qualities in terms of materials.

The paper focuses particularly on the flow optimization in conjunction with the variables surrounding the mechanic design. Finally, the test results of the pilot engines are presented alongside an economic analysis.

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