Research on energy conversion in engines in the last decade in Europe, Japan and the USA has shown the great potential of advanced combustion modes like CAI (Controlled Auto-Ignition), HCCI (Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition) or CCS (Combined Combustion System), in terms of efficiency gain and reduction of pollutant emissions. They allow for a dramatic reduction in the emissions of NOx from combustion engines, to often less than 1% of those from engines running in standard modes. The complex deNOx after-treatment systems typical of today's cars could therefore largely be simplified, while at the same time complying with the most stringent emission standards.
To a lesser extent this is also the case for the soot particle emissions from diesel engines running HCCI (Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition) modes, which can be reduced by some 20-30% as compared with standard engines.
The advantage is that these emission reductions are achieved while maintaining or even further increasing the high levels of efficiency of the most developed engines. This leads to good perspectives for further reducing the CO2 emissions from engines, achieving the ambitious goals set by the EC and other organisations like EUCAR.
These widely recognised advantages of advanced combustion modes has led to intense research in Europe, Japan and the USA aimed at making them usable in real engine applications.
HCCI or CCS, and other emerging high potential techniques. This shall contribute to the EC objective of developing and promoting future generations of more environmentally friendly powertrains and vehicle concepts for road transport, using cleaner and renewable energy sources.
The network activities were organised around four Research Topics (RT), covering major aspects of research on advanced engine combustion:
- RT1: Experimental techniques - including research on optical diagnostics to explore flow and combustion inside the combustion chamber of engines, as well as research on experimental techniques for measuring ultra low pollutant emissions.
- RT2: Combustion simulation- including research on 3D numerical simulation of fuel injection, flow and combustion inside the combustion chamber of engines.
- RT3: Fuel/engine adequation- including research on fuel test methods, procedures to evaluate the performance of fuel/engine couples in terms of CO2 emissions/efficiency and pollutants, and methods to characterise fuels;
- RT4: Combustion control- including research on control and engine technology able to make advanced combustion modes usable in a wide range of engine operation.
Within the frame of these research topics, the main planned objectives were as follows:
- Realise and constantly update a state of the art survey of research in Europe and worldwide.
- Identify the need for best practice guidelines for research in the RTs, proposing concrete actions to realise them and promote them to the wider community.
- Identify research gaps and needs for further research in the RTs, which could be commonly addressed to advance pre-competitive knowledge in the domain.
- Create a database which references data and knowledge in the RTs, and that can help improve the dissemination of knowledge in Europe by making it accessible under conditions to non-partners.
- Organise a common integrated education and training programme in the field of advanced engine combustion, aimed at students, researchers and engineers in order to disseminate the knowledge acquired in the network and improve the impact of advanced engine combustion and alternative fuels in Europe.
- Propose, based on all network achievements and on contacts with major actors of the domain in Europe, a structure for a self-subsistent VRC, which would be of real interest in the framework of European research on
The project was structured into eight work packages (WP), as follows:
WP1: State-of-the-Art survey
The objective of this central work was to lay the basis ofr a common knowledge basis for the network, by performing an extensive state of the art survey of research in the four topics covered by the network. The outcomes of this WP served as starting point for the best practice work in WP3, WP4 and WP5, for the research gaps identification in WP6 as well as for the education and training programme of WP7.
WP2: Database & web
The main objective of work in WP2 was to define, set-up and maintain an ECO-ENGINES web site, to communicate results to the public, and serve as a central reference point for work in the NoE. The result is the official web site www. project.ifp.fr/ECO-ENGINES, that comprises two parts:
- a public access part, with general information on the NoE objectives, structure and partnership, and with links to other stakeholders of European road transport research;
- a restricted part, accessible only to NoE partners with a login and password, and which centrally stores all NoE documents and outcomes.
WP3: Standards in experimental techniques
The initial objective of this activity was to propose best practice guidelines for experimental techniques used in an engine environment, including optical diagnostics and exhaust gas measurements. The implicated partners agreed that the nature of the related research fields made it impossible to state standardized ways of performing measurements. Each specific measurement situation most often requires a highly specialised approach.
WP4: Standards in engine simulation
The original objective was to achieve a standardisation of procedures used by ECO-ENGINES partners and to promote them outside of the network. As this was felt too ambitious by the NoE partners with regard to available resources, it was decided to rather try identifying the need for standardisation, based on a collection and summary of current simulation practices used by the partners.
WP5: Standards in fuel/engine adequation
The objective of this work was to propose best practice guidelines for fuel and engine testing. Focus was put on defining concrete specific proposals for best practice, in order to prepare addressing them in future research. Four such topics were selected and were further worked out. Slides detailing these proposals were made available t
Three main network results were identified with a potential for further exploitation after the project end:
- State-of-the-Art survey on advanced combustion engines, covering mainly the experimental techniques, fuel/engine adequation and combustion simulation topics. The achieved knowledge consists of extensive literature reviews, suggestions for best practices and identification of research themes with a high potential to close important knowledge gaps. These results will be mainly exploited by advertising identified research gaps to stakeholders of the European road transport research community, in order that they could be addressed in future common research projects, and in particular in the frame of FP7. Furthermore, the partners decided to render the most mature documents public, possibly via the Ulysses CA website, in order to favour an as wide as possible usage and update after the end of the NoE;
- A survey on tertiary education in the domain of engine combustion, allowing a view at the places in Europe where courses in the domain are proposed, and with what topics, targeted audience and number of hours. It could be the basis of 'yellow pages' of higher education & training in the domain of engine combustion, useful both for students, to select the places they can study topics of interest, and for universities & schools, that can advertise their courses all over Europe. This list could be furnished to interested Universities for exploitation;
- Course materials created for the organisation of the first Summer School on advanced engine combustion. The materials consist of slides that allow a teacher to set up a course related to advanced engine combustion in his own context (experiments, simulation, engine technology etc). The exploitation will be realised by the network partners having generated the respective course material, either for own courses at their home institutions, or as contribution to future advanced engine combustion Summer Schools to be commonly organised by the partners. If successful, it could also be envisaged to publish parts of these materials in the form of a book in the future.