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Title: Envera Variable Compression Ratio Engine

Aggressive engine downsizing, variable compression ratio and use of the Atkinson cycle are being combined to improve fuel economy by up to 40 percent relative to port fuel injected gasoline engines, while maintaining full engine power. Approach Engine downsizing is viewed by US and foreign automobile manufacturers as one of the best options for improving fuel economy. While this strategy has already demonstrated a degree of success, downsizing and fuel economy gains are currently limited. With new variable compression ratio technology however, the degree of engine downsizing and fuel economy improvement can be greatly increased. A small variable compression ratio (VCR) engine has the potential to return significantly higher vehicle fuel economy while also providing high power. Affordability and potential for near term commercialization are key attributes of the Envera VCR engine. VCR Technology To meet torque and power requirements, a smaller engine needs to do more work per stroke. This is typically accomplished by boosting the incoming charge with either a turbo or supercharger so that more energy is present in the cylinder per stroke to do the work. With current production engines the degree of engine boosting (which correlates to downsizing) is limited by detonation (combustion knock) at more » high boost levels. Additionally, the turbo or supercharger needs to be responsive and efficient while providing the needed boost. VCR technology eliminates the limitation of engine knock at high load levels by reducing compression ratio to {approx}9:1 (or whatever level is appropriate) when high boost pressures are needed. By reducing the compression ratio during high load demand periods there is increased volume in the cylinder at top dead center (TDC) which allows more charge (or energy) to be present in the cylinder without increasing the peak pressure. Cylinder pressure is thus kept below the level at which the engine would begin to knock. When loads on the engine are low the compression ratio can be raised (to as much as 18:1) providing high engine efficiency. It is important to recognize that for a well designed VCR engine cylinder pressure does not need to be higher than found in current production turbocharged engines. As such, there is no need for a stronger crankcase, bearings and other load bearing parts within the VCR engine. The Envera VCR mechanism uses an eccentric carrier approach to adjust engine compression ratio. The crankshaft main bearings are mounted in this eccentric carrier or 'crankshaft cradle' and pivoting the eccentric carrier 30 degrees adjusts compression ratio from 9:1 to 18:1. The eccentric carrier is made up of a casting that provides rigid support for the main bearings, and removable upper bearing caps. Oil feed to the main bearings transits through the bearing cap fastener sockets. The eccentric carrier design was chosen for its low cost and rigid support of the main bearings. A control shaft and connecting links are used to pivot the eccentric carrier. The control shaft mechanism features compression ratio lock-up at minimum and maximum compression ratio settings. The control shaft method of pivoting the eccentric carrier was selected due to its lock-up capability. The control shaft can be rotated by a hydraulic actuator or an electric motor. The engine shown in Figures 3 and 4 has a hydraulic actuator that was developed under the current program. In-line 4-cylinder engines are significantly less expensive than V engines because an entire cylinder head can be eliminated. The cost savings from eliminating cylinders and an entire cylinder head will notably offset the added cost of the VCR and supercharging. Replacing V6 and V8 engines with in-line VCR 4-cylinder engines will provide high fuel economy at low cost. Numerous enabling technologies exist which have the potential to increase engine efficiency. The greatest efficiency gains are realized when the right combination of advanced and new technologies are packaged together to provide the greatest gains at the least cost. Aggressive engine downsizing with variable compression ratio and use of the extended Atkinson cycle can provide large fuel economy gains that are exceptionally cost effective. Analysis indicates that a 2.2L supercharged Envera VCR engine can match the torque of a larger V8 engine at 2000 rpm. The VCR engine's high torque value at low engine speed is beneficial for maintaining the driving feel and responsiveness of the larger V8 engine. The Envera VCR engine will attain high efficiency at {approx}100 Nm primarily due to the combination of engine down-sizing and use of the Atkinson cycle. Qualitatively the fuel economy gain realized from down-sizing from a V8 to an Atkinson-cycle I-4 is about twice as large as the benefits from down-sizing from a V8 to a Turbo V6 when evaluated at 100 Nm 2000 rpm. « less
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Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Envera Llc
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Country of Publication:
United States