In the past decade automotive industries have focused on the development of new technologies to improve the overall engine efficiency and lower emissions in order to satisfy the always more stringent emission standards introduced all around the world. Technical progress has primarily focused on two aspects; the optimization of the air-fuel mixture in the combustion chamber as well as the combustion process itself, leading to simultaneous improvements in both, efficiency (lowering fuel consumption for same power output) and emissions levels which ultimately result from the optimized combustion process. Although engine technology has made significant progress, even modern Diesel combustion engines do not exceed a maximum efficiency of approximately 40%. Hence, around 60% of the available energy carried by the fuel and entering the combustion chamber is dissipated as heat to the environment. The next steps in engine optimization will see the integration of waste heat recovery systems (WHRS) to increase the overall energy efficiency of the propulsion system by means of recovering parts of the waste heat generated during normal engine operation. The presented was aimed at analyzing the availability as well as the quality of heat to be used in WHRS for the case of heavy-duty Diesel (HDD) engines employed in Class-8 tractors, which are suitable candidates for optimization via WHRS implementation as their engines spend most of their time operating at quasi steady state conditions, such as highway cruise. Three different primary energy sources have been considered: exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) cooling system, engine cooling system and exhaust gas stream. Experimental data has been gathered at West Virginia University’s Engine and Emissions Research Laboratory (EERL) facility in order to quantify individual heat flows in a model year (MY) 2004 Mack® MP7-355E HDD engine operated over the 13 modes of the European Stationary Cycle (ESC). Analysis based on second law efficiency underlined that not the whole amount of waste heat can be successfully used for recovery purposes and that heat sources which offer a large amount of waste energy reveal to be inappropriate for recovery purposes in case of low operating temperature. Time integral analysis revealed that engine modes which appear to offer high recovery potential in terms of waste power may not be suitable engine operating conditions when the analysis is performed in terms of waste energy, depending on the particular engine cycle. Finally a simple thermodynamic model of a micro power unit running on an Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) has been used to assess the theoretical improvement in engine efficiency during steady state operations based on a second law efficiency analysis approach.

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