Ricardo used an off-the-shelf electronic control unit loaded with new custom developed software to control the fuel system. The software is auto-coded from a controls modeling package and adds closed loop oxygen sensor control and knock control. The maximum benefit is attained when the new system is designed into the engine, but it can also be retrofitted to existing engines.
Ricardo assists Clean Air Power with low CO2 technology
Release date: 24 September 2007
Clean Air Power Ltd, the developer of Dual-FuelTM combustion technology, has acknowledged the assistance provided by Ricardo in the development of the company's new natural gas-diesel control system for trucks
Ricardo was contracted by Clean Air Power to modernise the previous product offering in this sector, which enables diesel engines to run on a mixture of natural gas and diesel fuel. As natural gas contains a lower proportion of carbon than diesel, Clean Air Power's patented technology is capable of providing significant CO2 reductions as well as fuel cost savings. The system is also capable of operating on a mixture of biogas and biodiesel, delivering an almost carbon-free powertrain solution. After researching the market, Ricardo identified an available third-party off-the-shelf ECU, which was suitable for heavy duty application as the basis of the new product. Ricardo provided a bespoke software solution using an advanced modelling package to translate the legacy system and auto-generate the production code for the new controller. Using this state-of-the-art software technology, Ricardo was also able to provide new functionality to the controller, including knock control and lambda feedback. This will provide further improvements in emissions and fuel economy, as well as providing new diagnostic capabilities, compatible with new on-board diagnostic (OBD) requirements.
The new control system and its associated Clean Air Power Dual-FuelTM hardware can be retro-fitted as an aftermarket device but its benefits are more significant when integrated to existing diesel powertrain or applied at the design stage of a new engine or vehicle. A key advantage of Clean Air Power's patented technology, which uses a small diesel injection to ignite the gas/air mixture, is that the diesel engine and efficiency is fundamentally un-changed and the vehicle can thus operate fully on diesel fuel if the supply of gas is exhausted. The system provides an optimal gas/diesel mix in real-time according to current conditions, ensuring both smooth and efficient combustion. Having developed this new control system, Ricardo is now ideally placed to assist heavy duty engine manufacturers and truck and off-highway equipment manufacturers wishing to integrate Clean Air Power's patented Dual-FuelTM low CO2 technology into their future products.
Stephen Montgomery, Ricardo director of control systems software, said:
"The challenge of developing state-of-the-art control systems and software is central to the effective implementation of the next generation of low emissions, fuel-efficient, combustion systems using both conventional as well as alternative fuels. Our work with Clean Air Power is an example of Ricardo's commitment in this area and demonstrates the value of applying the latest software and control systems technology in order both to enable and improve the operation of an advanced low CO2 combustion concept."