Diesel low temperature combustion (LTC) is capable of producing diesel-like efficiency while emitting ultra-low nitrogen oxides (NOx) and soot emissions. Previous work indicates that well controlled single-shot injection with exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) is an operative way of achieving diesel LTC from low to mid engine loads. However, as the engine load is increased, demanding intake boost and injection pressure are necessary to suppress high soot emissions during the transition to LTC. The use of volatile fuels such as ethanol are deemed capable of promoting the cylinder charge homogeneity, which helps to overcome the high soot challenge and thus potentially expand the engine LTC load range.

In this work, LTC investigations have been carried out on a high compression ratio (18.2:1) engine. The engine was firstly fuelled with diesel, and LTC operation at 8 bar indicated mean effective pressure (IMEP) was enabled by sophisticated control of the injection pressure, injection timing, intake boost and EGR application. The engine performance was characterized as the baseline, and the challenges were identified. Further tests were aimed to improve the engine performance against these baseline results.

Experiments were hence conducted on the same engine with secondary ethanol port injection (PI). Single-shot diesel direct injection (DI) was applied close to top dead center (TDC) to ignite the ethanol and control the combustion phasing. The control sensitivity has been studied through injection timing sweeps and EGR sweeps. Additional tests were performed to investigate the ethanol-to-diesel ratio effects on the mixture reactivity and the engine emissions. Engine load was also raised to 10 bar IMEP while keeping the simultaneously low NOx and soot emissions. Significant improvement of engine control and emissions was achieved by the DI+PI strategy.

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