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Engine Research Facility

GM-Fiat 1.9 liter diesel engine test cell
GM-Fiat 1.9 Liter Diesel Engine Test Cell

Argonne's Engine Research Facility allows scientists and engineers to study in-cylinder combustion and emissions under realistic operating conditions.

The size of engines in the facility range from automobile- to locomotive-sized, as well as stationary electric power production engines. 

Improving Engine Performance, Emissions

Argonne researchers would like to find ways to improve engine performance and reliability, increase fuel efficiency, and reduce harmful exhaust emissions. Argonne's goal is to discover and evaluate new technologies to determine their technical feasibility and commercial viability. In addition, Argonne is conducting research on sustainable renewable fuels used in these engines.

Multiple Platforms, Varied Research

For automotive applications, primary research is conducted on three engine platforms: 

  • A 1.9-liter GM diesel engine for exploring the limits of low temperature combustion using visioscope imaging and direct combustion pressure measurements,
  • A GM Ecotec engine used to evaluate various ethanol fuel blends (this engine is also being used in a hardware-in-the-loop configuration), and
  • A Ford engine used in a hydrogen internal combustion engine project (with Ford Motor Company and Sandia National Laboratory).

A Caterpillar single cylinder engine is used for heavy-duty engine research.

A new test cell is being constructed for evaluating a full size Navistar 13-liter truck engine for performance and emissions with new fuels technologies and strategies.

Locomotive engine research is performed on both a four-stroke "H" engine and a two-stroke "710" engine. Argonne's work centers on evaluating and developing emissions control technologies which are then scaled up for a full locomotive by Electro-Motive Diesel, Inc.

Additional Facilities

The Engine Research Facility performs research in two additional facilities:

  • A Rapid Compression Machine (RCM) allows ignition and combustion studies of various fuels and ignition systems, and
  • A transportation beamline at the Advanced Photon Source (APS) is used for fuel spray studies.

Argonne has also pioneered the use of air separation membranes for varying the oxygen-to-nitrogen ratio of the combustion air to provide another powerful independent variable to the engine designer to improve fuel efficiency and reduce NOx emissions. Unique tools and techniques have been developed for studying the morphology and chemistry of particulate matter production and control.


Raj Sekar

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