Low temperature and dilute Homogenous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) and Spark Assisted Compression Ignition (SACI) can improve fuel economy and reduce engine-out NOx emissions to very low values, often less than 30 ppm. However, these combustion modes are unable to achieve stringent future regulations such as SULEV 30 without the use of lean aftertreatment. Though active selective catalytic reduction (SCR) with urea injection and lean NOx traps (LNT) have been investigated as options for lean gasoline engines, a passive TWC-SCR system is investigated in this work because it avoids the urea storage and dosing hardware of a urea SCR system, and the high precious metal cost of an LNT. The TWC-SCR concept uses periodic rich operation to produce NH3 over a TWC to be stored on an SCR catalyst for subsequent NOx conversion during lean operation.

In this work a laboratory study was performed with a modified 2.0 L gasoline engine that was cycled between lean HCCI and rich SACI operation, or between lean and rich SI (spark ignited) combustion, to evaluate NOx conversion and reduced fuel consumption. Different lambda values during rich operation and different times held in rich operation were investigated. Results are compared to a baseline case in which the engine is always operated at stoichiometric conditions. SCR system simulations are also presented that compare system performance for different levels of stored NH3.

With the configuration used in this study, lean/rich HCCI/SACI operation showed a maximum NOx conversion efficiency of 10%, while lean/rich SI operation showed a maximum NOx conversion efficiency of 60%. However, if the low conversion efficiency of lean/rich HCCI/SACI operation could be improved through higher brick temperatures or additional SCR bricks, simulation results indicate TWC-SCR aftertreatment has the potential to provide near-zero SCR-out NOx concentration and increased system fuel efficiency. In these simulations, fuel efficiency improvement relative to stoichiometric SI were 7 to15% for lean/rich HCCI/SACI with zero tailpipe NOx and −1 to 5% for lean/rich SI with zero tailpipe NOx emissions. Although previous work indicated increased time for NH3 to start forming over the TWC during rich operation, less NH3 production over the TWC per fuel amount, and increased NH3 slip over the SCR catalyst for advanced combustion systems, if NOx conversion efficiency could be enhanced, improvements in fuel economy and low engine-out NOx from advanced combustion modes would more than make up for these disadvantages.

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