The exhaust gas from an internal combustion engine contains approximately 30% of the thermal energy of combustion. The exhaust-gas heat-recovery systems aim to reclaim a proportion of this energy in a bottoming thermodynamic cycle to raise the overall system thermal efficiency. The inverted Brayton cycle (IBC) considered as a potential exhaust-gas heat-recovery system is a little-studied approach, especially when applied to small automotive power-plants. Hence, a model of the inverted Brayton cycle using finite-time thermodynamics (FTT) is presented to study heat recovery applied to a highly downsizing automotive internal combustion engine. IBC system consists of a turbine, a heat exchanger (HE), and compressors in sequence. The use of IBC turbine is to fully expand the exhaust gas available from the upper cycle. The remaining heat in the exhaust after expansion is rejected by the downstream heat exchanger. Then, the cooled exhaust gases are compressed back up to the ambient pressure by one or more compressors. In this paper, the exhaust conditions available from the engine test bench data were introduced as the inlet conditions of the IBC thermodynamic model to quantify the power recovered by IBC, thereby revealing the benefits of IBC to this particular engine. It should be noted that the test bench data of the baseline engine were collected by the worldwide harmonized light vehicles test procedures (WLTP). WLTP define a global harmonized standard for determining the levels of pollutants and CO2 emissions, fuel consumption. The IBC thermodynamic model was simulated with the following variables: IBC inlet pressure, turbine pressure ratio, heat exchanger effectiveness, turbomachinery efficiencies, and the IBC compression stage. The aim of this paper is to analysis the performance of IBC system when it is applied to a light-duty automotive engine operating in a real-world driving cycle.

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