Edwards, K., Wagner, R., and Briggs, T., "Investigating Potential Light-duty Efficiency Improvements through Simulation of Turbo-compounding and Waste-heat Recovery Systems," SAE Technical Paper 2010-01-2209, 2010, doi:10.4271/2010-01-2209.
Modern diesel engines used in light-duty transportation applications have peak brake thermal efficiencies in the range of 40-42% for high-load operation with substantially lower efficiencies at realistic road-load conditions. Thermodynamic energy and exergy analysis reveals that the largest losses from these engines are due to combustion irreversibility and heat loss to the coolant, through the exhaust, and by direct convection and radiation to the environment. Substantial improvement in overall engine efficiency requires reducing or recovering these losses. Unfortunately, much of the heat transfer either occurs at relatively low temperatures resulting in large entropy generation (such as in the air-charge cooler), is transferred to low-exergy flow streams (such as the oil and engine coolant), or is radiated or convected directly to the environment. While there are significant opportunities for recovery from the exhaust and EGR cooler for heavy-duty applications, achieving similar benefits for light-duty diesel applications is complicated by transient, low-load operation at typical driving conditions and competition with the turbocharger and aftertreatment system for the limited thermal resources. We have developed an organic Rankine cycle (ORC) model using GT-Suite® to investigate the potential for efficiency improvement through waste-heat recovery from the exhaust and EGR cooler of a light-duty diesel engine. The model is used to examine the effects of efficiency-improvement strategies such as cylinder deactivation, use of advanced materials and improved insulation to limit ambient heat loss, and turbo-compounding on the steady-state performance of the ORC system and the availability of thermal energy for downstream aftertreatment systems. Results from transient drive-cycle simulations are also presented, and we discuss strategies to address operational difficulties associated with transient drive cycles and balancing the thermal requirements of waste-heat recovery, turbocharging or turbo-compounding, and exhaust aftertreatment.