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Oxygen Enriched Internal Steam Compression Ignition Engine (OEISCIE)

  1. Nov 21, 2014 #1
    Hello PF members and guests,

    I have been working on this concept for 2 years and I wanted to get some input from this forum. I have done a lot of research on oxygen enriched combustion and water injection. Both of these concepts have been tested and proven in experiments and the real world. My idea is to combine the two since both of their qualities would work together and enhance each other. I also realized in my research that the idea could be used to make a new type of internal combustion engine.

    The basic idea works like this:

    For a compression ignition engine (diesel)

    1. Air is pulled into the engine, this intake air is enriched with oxygen up to the desired level (raising the O2 content in the air from 22% ambient up to 23-24% or higher like 30% or more)

    2. The intake air enters the cylinder through the intake valve, the valve closes and the mixture is compressed
    waterinjectors.jpg
    3. Around TDC the fuel oil is injected and combustion is initiated, driving the piston down on the power stroke

    4. About half way through the power stroke the fuel oil will nearly be completely combusted because of the much faster burn rate due to the oxygen enriched air. It is at this point that a high pressure injector injects water as a fine mist spray directly into the cylinder. The water injectors are built into the cylinder head in the spaces between the intake and exhaust valves. The water has been preheated to 200-210* Fahrenheit by a heat exchanger in the exhaust manifold; this heated water is stored in a insulated tank on-board the vehicle

    5. When the heated water is injected at high pressure directly into the cylinder it flash vaporizes into steam; the expansion energy continues to push the piston down to complete the power stroke. By the time the piston reaches BDC the steam has absorbed much of the thermal energy and turned into dry steam at temperatures from 500*-2000* Fahrenheit

    6. The exhaust valve is opened, the piston rises and pushes out the remaining gases. As the gases leave the cylinder they pass through the heat exchanger and transfer some of the remaining thermal energy to preheat the injection water

    7. Optional: A turbocharger is used to collect the remaining energy from the exhaust gases. I'm not sure how this turbocharger would be designed since it would be running on two gases; steam and other gases (mainly CO2) I don't know if it would be a conventional turbocharger or more like a steam turbine, this is where I could use some advice

    That's the basic idea. It's possible to modify a conventional four-stroke direct injected diesel engine into this design.

    A couple points to consider:

    1. There are multiple reasons to use this engine. For starters it is possible to use cheaper, lower quality oils as fuel. I have read research papers where they successfully ran 100% vegetable oil with none of the common problems when running SVO. They achieved this by increasing the O2 content of the intake air by only 1-2% (23-24% O2) there was no smoke or soot and the engine ran perfectly well

    2. Emissions are greatly reduced by O2 enrichment; HC and soot emissions fall drastically. When O2 concentrations are raised above 27% cylinder temperatures and NOx emissions begin to rise sharply. This is where the water injection fits in. Water injection also helps reduce soot, but the beauty is that it can drastically reduce NOx emissions (by keeping the temperature in check) The combination of O2 enrichment and water injection work together to greatly reduce emissions

    3. The thermal efficiency of the engine will be raised. I can't say for certain but I don't think it would be unreasonable to reach 60% or higher. Basically the engine will be generating more power for a given amount of fuel. The efficiency will also be raised because of more complete combustion of the fuel.

    4. Fuel is expensive, oxygen is not. While it is possible to use liquid oxygen as an oxygen source, it is not practical. The answer is oxygen separation membranes. I have read papers where the researchers were successfully able to enrich the intake air by 1-8% of a large diesel engine with O2 membranes on-board the vehicle. The device consumed less power than was generated because of the increased efficiency of the engine. The device was actually pretty small and could easily fit under the hood of the vehicle. The O2 membrane materials are actually very light so weight is not an issue. While slight increases in O2 result in major improvements, I also envision the benefits of running much higher levels of O2. This wasn't possible without water injection because the cylinder temps and NOx levels go through the roof; but in this system it's not only possible it's beneficial. Increased temperature means more steam can be generated, from the same amount of fuel! I believe it could be possible to run O2 at levels above 90% without melting the engine, more oxygen, more water is injected. This is how I think the efficiency can be pushed past 60%

    5. When oxygen enrichment is used, the power to weight ratio is also increased, because more fuel can be burned. Which makes engine downsizing possible, which further increases the overall efficiency (MPG) of the vehicle the engine is driving

    6. Since direct water injection is used, a water-cooling system for the engine is not required. I read an army research paper from the 1970's where they successfully cooled a diesel engine with direct water injection. It raised the power and efficiency of the engine. Without all the weight from the cooling system, the extra weight from the oxygen enrichment and water injection systems can be made up for

    7. There are modifications on the engine that would need to be made to optimize the system. Timing may need to be adjusted. The stroke of the engine may need to be lengthened to utilize the expanding steam. There are obviously more things that would need to be modified or added as well

    8. When the vehicle is not in operation it can simply be plugged in; an electric coil in the water tank keeps the water hot. If it cannot be plugged in; a battery bank can power the coil for short periods. For longer periods, the battery bank can power the O2 enrichment system and a small amount of fuel is burned, the heat from this goes through the center of the tank just like a natural gas water heater. It could be programmable by the user to select different heating options. It is also possible to use the fuel only to keep the water hot if there was not enough battery power to run the O2 enrichment system. Another option is to let the water cool down, and run the engine injecting cold water until the water heats up; it would be important to inject less water so that all of it is still turned into steam but enough to still provide cooling

    9. The water that is injected into the engine needs to be free of dissolved solids that could leave deposits in the engine. This is accomplished by having a water filter that removes these impurities; or by using distilled water. The filter would need to be changed at certain intervals when the vehicle is serviced; if distilled water was always used the filter would never need to be changed, but for convenience and safety regular tap water could be used. The water would need to be refilled when the vehicle refuels

    Those are just some of the points I have discovered. I think this idea has a lot of potential. I took the sketch to Ed Pink's Racing Engines (one of the top racing engine builders in the world, which happens to be down the street from my house) and the head manager there, Frank, with whom I chat and share my ideas; laughed at the idea and said it would never work. I had a counter point for all of the potential flaws he identified, but he was unconvinced; and why does he need to be convinced when they are already doing just fine selling four stroke spark ignited engines? I thought they believed in true innovation, creativity and efficiency; but like most brilliant engineers I talk to, they unfortunately do not.

    What do you think? There are more details that I will share but I think this is good for now. I appreciate any input and I'm happy to answer any questions you may have. I was apprehensive to share this information publicly since this concept is something I've worked hard on for years and I had hoped to make my career with; but since nobody's giving me any funding or even a chance to build it I figured why not. All I ask is that if you do take this idea and use it, please include me, I have much to offer and I'm not asking for a lot; it's very difficult for me to get a job doing what I'm passionate about (building hybrid electric vehicles and more efficient engines) and I was hoping if I came up with something important I could finally get a way in.

    Thank You,
    Jordan Lee Brandt
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2014
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  3. Nov 21, 2014 #2

    jack action

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    Your idea looks a lot like the six-stroke engines ... combined into 4 strokes.

    Lately, Bruce Crower revived that idea but it sounds like it was abandoned. One of the big problem - I think - was the fact that the steam was washing away the needed thin oil film on the cylinder walls.

    You might be able to contact him directly via his company and have a more attentive ear to your idea.
     
  4. Nov 21, 2014 #3

    NTW

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    Modern internal combustion engines, as used in most present-day cars, are very efficient, burn the fuel completely, don't pollute much (thanks to computerized control/fuel injection and catalyzers) and need very little maintenance. There is no need (nor a market) for radically new engines... The present designs may be conventional, but have been (and are) continually improved by the automakers, reaching better and better efficiencies and lower and lower pollution levels.
     
  5. Nov 21, 2014 #4
    While modern engines have come a long way there is still much room to improve. Modern engines may have high efficiencies in the lab but in the real world they do not. I believe extended range electric vehicles are the solution and offer a way for us to progress to fully electric vehicles. The engine I have designed would make the most sense in an application like this. I am a professional semi truck driver and I can tell u the name of the game is fuel. Companies are willing to pay thousands of dollars for things that save fuel, even if it only increases the mpg by a few percent. The other big issue is emissions; we spend a lot of money on diesel particular filters and diesel exhaust fluid. My engine would require neither of those. It is not cheap to replace the diesel particulate filter when its no good. When combined with an electric drive train my engine could double or even triple the mpg that our trucks are currently getting 8 mpg max)

    Yes my design does resemble the six stroke design but I think it has advantages; it makes better use of the thermal energy by utilizing it before it has a chance to soak into the engine block and cylinder heads. Also since the steam only pushes the piston for half of the stroke instead of a full stroke the oil film issue should be less of a problem, although it is a good point and definitely something I would need to take into consideration

    Also, not only does my engine use less fuel, it can use cheaper fuel which makes it an even more attractive option for fleets.
     
  6. Nov 21, 2014 #5

    SteamKing

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    I don't think you can necssarily assume that vegetable oil is cheaper, volume by volume, than diesel oil. It's also not clear how the energy content of a gallon of vegetable versus a gallon of diesel also compares, although I tend to think the latter has a higher heating value.
     
  7. Nov 21, 2014 #6
    Yes that is true currently, but that may change eventually. The main point is that vegetable oil is a renewable fuel; unlike biodiesel which requires huge amounts of energy, methanol and sodium hydroxide to be produced. With new technologies like algae oil production coming into play it is possible to produce vegetable oils sustainability and eventually become price competitive with diesel. Also, lower grade petroleum based fuels like bunker oil could be used without the high emissions. Lastly, vegetable oil is much more environmentally friendly as it is non toxic and is carbon neutral. I know that Palm oil production destroys land but this is certainly not the only way to make vegetable oil.
     
  8. Nov 21, 2014 #7

    mfb

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    Hydrocarbons typically need about 1.5 times their mass as oxygen to combust. If you want to increase the oxygen fraction in air by 2%, this means ~10% of your oxygen comes from an internal storage - which has to store 15% the mass of the fuel tank. While oxygen is cheaper than hydrocarbons, the storage will cost something and I don't see the infrastructure for the oxygen supply. Also, storing something flammable next to an oxygen tank is usually a problematic idea.
     
  9. Nov 21, 2014 #8

    SteamKing

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    Burning bunker oil in regular diesel engines raises problems all its own. First, the bunker oil must be heated in order to pump it, typically to at least 200 F. Second, bunker oil contains all sorts of undesirable compounds which will deposit inside the engine. Third, without refining, bunker oil can potentially contain a relatively large amount of sulfur, which, after the bunker oil is burned, will deposit inside the engine and lead to corrosion of the metal parts of the engine and contamination of the lube oil.

    Trying to use farm land to raise fuel crops has not been without problems. Just look at ethanol. Diverting a significant amount of a staple food crop (corn) to fuel production produces higher prices for food. Fuel production from food crops also doesn't save that much energy, and the energy content of the fuel produced isn't all that great, either.
     
  10. Nov 22, 2014 #9
    Ok so maybe bunker oil wouldn't be the fuel of choice but i'm sure there are many other choices; i'll have to look through some of the research papers i read, i will try to post a few links. Here's some: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/78107/ , http://www.google.com/patents/US5117800 , http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2014/03/f8/deer09_yelvington.pdf Either way, i was merely pointing out that oxygen enrichment opens up the possibility to use different types of fuel; however it is certainly not required, it's just an added benefit. The main attraction is saving fuel, whichever fuel that may be; and reducing emissions without using diesel exhaust fluid. Speaking of emissions, the EPA has set requirements that are only getting stricter for diesel vehicles; and manufacturers are looking for new solutions.

    Using prime farmland to produce low grade or non human consumable vegetable oils certainly doesn't make sense. Algae oil production is making leaps and bounds. Take one example http://www.algenol.com/ This company uses a direct to ethanol technique by using genetically modified algae. The best places to build these production facilities is on coastal desert land, which is definitely not prime agriculture land. It only needs access to sea water and sunshine, which we have plenty of here in California. Now this company is focusing on ethanol currently but they have plans to produce diesel and even jet fuels eventually. They are also not alone, there are numerous other companies that are already producing diesel fuels from algae oil; and the process is efficient. It's easy to knock these technologies and say that just because they're not super efficient right now they never will be; these technologies are only in their infancy and there is a lot of room to grow (literally) Why else would these companies be pouring millions of dollars into research and development if they believed it wasn't possible?

    The fact is that petro based fuels are a non renewable resource and will run out eventually so we need to start working on solutions now and keep an open mind. Experts in this field all agree on one thing; while it is important to develop new sources of energy the first step we must take is to make our current systems more energy efficient, an engine like mine does both of these. Our current engines only got to where they are because they were the lowest hanging fruit, they are not the only option, and we've spent the last one hundred years refining and perfecting the technology. The first internal combustion engines were massive, smokey, incredibly inefficient machines; if designers simply gave up because of this we would still all be riding horses.

    Also, when it comes to farm equipment, there's no reason all of it could not be converted into pure electric vehicles right now. This would dramatically improve the overall efficiency of producing biofuels. However, it is not possible to convert all semi tractor trailers into pure electric vehicles; because at this moment we do not have powerful enough batteries to drive a truck for 600 miles in one day before recharging. Not to mention we don't even have the charging infrastructure in place.

    So what makes the most sense to me is: Start converting all vehicles and equipment that do not travel long distances into electric. Use that equipment to produce and harvest biofuels. Convert long range commercial vehicles into hybrid and extended range electric vehicles; and make the internal combustion engines that burn the biofuels as efficient as is possible. Use those biofuels to extend the range of those long range vehicles; and utilize electricity whenever it is available to minimize the usage of these biofuels. As battery technology gets better and the electric only range of the vehicle is improved; and while the charging infrastructure is expanded, the usage of biofuels is further reduced until we get to the point where it is no longer required. This is a bridge to pure electric vehicles since we cannot make the jump directly to pure electric until the electric vehicles are built and the charging infrastructure is in place (like the chicken before the egg conundrum) That's why I favor extended range instead of hybrid electric vehicles. An extended range EV has a pure electric drivetrain, and given the long service life of these EV components it is possible to simply remove the ICE generator and replace it with more batteries. Extended range vehicles can also be more efficient because the sole purpose of the ICE is to turn an alternator which allows the engine to be designed, tuned and specialized for this purpose, running at it's most efficient power level. Also since the vehicle is propelled solely by an electric motor, the regenerative braking effect has a higher capacity to convert kinetic energy into electrical energy.

    Oh and also here's a paper on direct water injection for cooling a diesel engine (I couldn't find the link for the original document, so I hope this one works): http://www.pdfio.net/preview/63201662.html
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2014
  11. Nov 22, 2014 #10

    mfb

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    How do you produce all the electricity for those cars? If you burn fossil fuels, you do not gain anything.
     
  12. Nov 22, 2014 #11
    In colder climates, water can freeze when the air temperature is not above 0C. Unless you can provide a failsafe, so that breakdowns while in transit will not compromise the integrity of system components from frozen water, the engine might have difficulties being accepted above certain latitudes.
     
  13. Nov 22, 2014 #12

    NTW

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    In high-powered aircraft piston engines, a mixture of methanol (as antifreeze) and water at 50% was sometimes injected into the cylinders for a short time, to give a power boost in combat situations...
     
  14. Nov 22, 2014 #13
    Where does the electricity come from? The whole point is to generate the electricity from renewable sources like wind, solar, geothermal, ocean thermal etc. Even if you used petro fuels like natural gas the emissions would be less because of the higher efficiencies that combined cycle power plants can offer; also the emissions are localized and it is possible to scrub the exhaust gases or trap the carbon, things that are not possible to do on a vehicle because of weight and motion.

    I have thought of many failsafes to protect the engine in cold weather. In the event of a break down the water tank can simply be drained. Any water in the lines or injectors can also be drained or pumped out,. When the vehicle is running fine and shut down for the night (commercial truck drivers are required to take a ten hour off duty break following eleven hours of driving) battery power or fuel is used (if an electrical outlet is not available) to keep the water at the correct temperature, or at least above freezing. The operator can select how power or fuel use if for example the vehicle was left and parked for a week unexpectedly, if the vehicle was not restarted in let's say 48 hours the vehicle would begin purging the water injection system. With an efficient insulated water tank (like a Dewar vessel) it actually takes very little energy to keep the liquid hot or above freezing. Methanol could be used but that would raise the operating cost and change how the water injection system works (because of the difference in vapor expansion between water and methanol. Remember, ice won't damage components unless it does not have room to expand. Ice only damages things when it doesn't have somewhere to expand to.
     
  15. Dec 12, 2014 #14
    Hemp can be grown on marginal land. It also can detox land that has been overly poisoned. I think it was Charleston Heston drove a car from coast to coast on hemp oil in the '70's. We are living in the dark ages still.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 12, 2014
  16. Feb 26, 2015 #15
    Hi Jordan,

    Your idea is very interesting. This makes us shares the same belief in how a future combustion should be. The flame from the oxygen combustion is really hot and you need to cool the entire combustion volume ASAP the moment charge ignition starts. Failing to cool it will melt your piston. This necessitates you to inject heated water as the ignition occurs but not to the point where the injected water can compromise the flame propagation. Many papers have documented how the combustion quality is compromised and that's why I inject the water upward rather than downward. With the water injected upward, this gives me the opportunity to further stratify the oxygen and fuel inside the piston bowl. You can read all these details in SAE papers that i wrote years ago.

    Chinese researchers are going big in oxygen combustion and they are very well funded by their government. You should review great works done so far by researchers from Tongji University.
     
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