UAV Engine Testing

The Energy Systems Lab's UAV team is investigating Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) with hybrid powertrain. Their work includes dynamometer engine testing, engine development, UAS aircraft development, and hybrid powertrain development.

Advanced Internal Combustion Engines

Low-temperature combustion (LTC) engine concepts such as homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) offer the potential of improved efficiency and reduced emissions of NOx and particulates. In this study, a new index for ranking fuel suitability for LTC engines was defined, using data from both light-duty driving cycle simulations and naturally-aspirated HCCI engine simulations.

Sensor Development

In an effort to learn more about distillate fuels injected into small internal combustion engines, we are devising a method that may be useful in calibrating fuel evaporation models. An FTIR is being used to measure the evaporation rate of a suspended binary mixture droplet.

Home Generator Benchmarking

Oregon State University - Cascades received a $500,000 award to benchmark three premium home generators, providing unique insights into the current state of commercially available generator performance in the United States. The OSU-Cascades team will report data on engine brake thermal efficiency, exergy efficiency (2nd law analysis), endurance, emissions, and levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) for each generator. Testing will be conducted both with the engine and electric motor coupled, and with the engine running separately on a dynamometer for the purpose of characterizing electric motor performance.

Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Engine Research 

Natural Gas Compressing Engine

This in-cylinder technology has been funded to date through a Department of Energy’s (DOE) ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy) award of $1 million total granted to Dr. Chris Hagen of Oregon State University (OSU), starting in October, 2012. The technology is based on incorporating the natural gas compression function into one of the engine’s cylinders by designing it to be a dual purpose cylinder – compression and combustion. The OSU-Cascades team completed the proof-of-concept stage with this project, building a test engine that successfully met critical project milestones and was operated on the road in September 2014.

Unconventional Fuels

One of the challenges of the dual-function CNG engine mentioned above is determining the sequence of events for switching from combustion mode to compression mode. The work here describes approaches to mitigate undesirable in-tank fuel air mixing during mode switching.