Engineers are working to improve the fuel efficiency of heavy-duty diesel engines while minimizing pollution to reduce energy consumption and ensure the sustainable development of these industries. To this end, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory in Leman, Illinois, collaborated with Caterpillar. Using Argonne’s high-performance computing resources, researchers have developed a potential piston design for Caterpillar engines that can reduce harmful emissions while improving fuel efficiency.
The team first used a 3D computational fluid dynamics tool called Converge developed by Convergent Science Inc. to create a framework to optimize the design of the combustion system. The model merged heat transfer and combustion data from the Converge model with environmental data from soot and nitrogen oxide (NOx) production. They then performed hundreds of high-fidelity simulations to develop a promising piston bowl design- The combustion chamber of a diesel engine.
Argonne researchers used a supercomputer to optimize the design of the piston bowl in a heavy-duty engine for Caterpillar Inc.. The top design reduces fuel consumption and soot formation, while other designs have the potential to reduce NOx.
Using this method, they were able to identify several designs that have the potential to reduce emissions while improving fuel efficiency. Caterpillar used additive manufacturing technology to create the highest performance design prototype to verify the model results.
“By using the supercomputing resources provided by Argonne, we performed very detailed simulations and obtained results faster, reducing the simulation time from months to weeks,” said Chao Chao, the postdoctoral appointee of Argonne, who leads the simulation work. .
A particularly promising piston bowl design improves the mixing process between fuel and air. Researchers have found that it can reduce fuel consumption by nearly 1%, which is a measurable improvement, while reducing soot by up to 20%.
“The workflow we have developed will benefit everyone.” said Sibendu Som, manager of the computational multiphysics research department of Argonne’s Energy Systems Division, who is responsible for the supervision of the team that carried out the project with Caterpillar. “We are publishing the methodology so that companies can use it to design new piston bowls for themselves. ”
In addition to the simulation innovations of the project, one of the main contributions of the team is the development of an industry-friendly method that allows the company to use its own internal computer system to optimize its engine design. Based on the results of hundreds of complex simulations, this simplified model provides similar accuracy while reducing computational requirements by as much as 40%.
“If we have a predictive model and optimize the design on a supercomputer, it will actually reduce the cost of testing. This also reduces the time required for the industry to develop products, which is a huge benefit.” Prithwish, a research scientist in charge of project management at Argonne Kundu said.
Jon Anders, chief researcher and senior engineering expert of Caterpillar’s Integrated Components and Solutions Division, said: “Our collaboration with Argonne on this project allows us to explore a huge design space.” “By working together, and using Argonne’s simulations With expertise and computing resources as well as Caterpillar’s manufacturing and testing expertise, we can optimize and test the piston in the shortest possible time. ”