Loughborough University
Thesis-2012-Wijewardane.pdf (16.73 MB)

Exhaust system energy management of internal combustion engines

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posted on 2012-05-22, 14:09 authored by M. Anusha Wijewardane
Today, the investigation of fuel economy improvements in internal combustion engines (ICEs) has become the most significant research interest among the automobile manufacturers and researchers. The scarcity of natural resources, progressively increasing oil prices, carbon dioxide taxation and stringent emission regulations all make fuel economy research relevant and compelling. The enhancement of engine performance solely using incylinder techniques is proving increasingly difficult and as a consequence the concept of exhaust energy recovery has emerged as an area of considerable interest. Three main energy recovery systems have been identified that are at various stages of investigation. Vapour power bottoming cycles and turbo-compounding devices have already been applied in commercially available marine engines and automobiles. Although the fuel economy benefits are substantial, system design implications have limited their adaptation due to the additional components and the complexity of the resulting system. In this context, thermo-electric (TE) generation systems, though still in their infancy for vehicle applications have been identified as attractive, promising and solid state candidates of low complexity. The performance of these devices is limited to the relative infancy of materials investigations and module architectures. There is great potential to be explored. The initial modelling work reported in this study shows that with current materials and construction technology, thermo-electric devices could be produced to displace the alternator of the light duty vehicles, providing the fuel economy benefits of 3.9%-4.7% for passenger cars and 7.4% for passenger buses. More efficient thermo-electric materials could increase the fuel economy significantly resulting in a substantially improved business case. The dynamic behaviour of the thermo-electric generator (TEG) applied in both, main exhaust gas stream and exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) path of light duty and heavy duty engines were studied through a series of experimental and modelling programs. The analyses of the thermo-electric generation systems have highlighted the need for advanced heat exchanger design as well as the improved materials to enhance the performance of these systems. These research requirements led to the need for a systems evaluation technique typified by hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) testing method to evaluate heat exchange and materials options. HIL methods have been used during this study to estimate both the output power and the exhaust back pressure created by the device. The work has established the feasibility of a new approach to heat exchange devices for thermo-electric systems. Based on design projections and the predicted performance of new materials, the potential to match the performance of established heat recovery methods has been demonstrated.



  • Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering


  • Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering


© M. Anusha Wijewardane

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

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  • en