Chemical Energy Converters

Capacity Area A2 works towards shifting conventional fossil fuel operated powertrains to more efficient internal combustion engines, renewable fuels and fuel cell technologies. The focus is on long-range and heavy-duty applications, as electric propulsion is not expected to meet the demands of these sectors. Research on internal combustion engines focuses on increasing energy efficiency, reducing greenhouse gas and pollutant emissions as well as utilizing renewable synthetic fuels. Investigated synthetic fuel options are based on renewable surplus electricity and biogenic or solar-chemical processes. In the area of fuel cells, projects concentrate on cost reduction and improved operating conditions as well as hydrogen production from excess electricity (from fluctuating renewable energy sources).


Christian Bach
Head Automotive Powertrain Technologies Laboratory at Empa
christian.bach@empa.ch
058 765 41 37

Empa
Automotive Powertrain Technologies Laboratory, APTL
Christian Bach, Coordinator

Paul Scherrer Institute PSI
Electrochemistry Laboratory, LEC
Fuel Cell Systems and Diagnostics
Dr. Felix Büchi, Deputy Coordinator

ETH Zürich
Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control, IDSC
Prof. Dr. Christopher Onder

ETH Zürich
Aerothermochemistry and Combustion Systems Laboratory, LAV
Prof. Dr. Konstantinos Boulouchos

Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz FHNW
Institut für Thermo- und Fluid-Engineering, ITFE
Prof. Dr. Kai Herrmann

Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften ZHAW
Institute of Computational Physics, ICP
Prof. Dr. Jürgen Schumacher

 

Paul Scherrer Institute PSI (phase I, 2014-2016)
Combustion Research Laboratory, CRL
PD Dr. Ioannis Mantzaras

  • Two phase flow thermal LB model developed for Material characterization (Dec 2014)
  • Proof of concept of spark-ignition spectroscopy in test rig. Identification of basic mechanisms for ignition, combustion and emissions. Task A2.2.1 (Dec 2014)
  • Control investigations for best input-output behavior with respect to achieving a quick and robust light off of the exhaust after treatment system. Task A2.2.2 (Dec 2014)
  • Evaluation of 2-3 most promising combustion process concepts, including a detailed TRL- and development demand, Task A2.2.3 (Dec 2014)
  • Validation of predictions for combustion system behavior on the basis of targeted experiments in the dedicated test-rigs, Task A2.2.1 (Dec 2015).
  • Demonstration of prototype technologies (e.g., fully variable gas-exchange valve train, pilot-injection combustion concept,
    thermoelectric converter) at least on a TRL 3-5, Task A2.2.2 (Dec 2015).
  • Proof-of-concept demonstration of highly-efficient minimal emission in prototype engine for each of the fuels considered above (e.g., for a passenger car and a truck engine), Tasks A2.2.1-3 (Dec 2016).

Cost efficient fuel cell systems

  • Full size thermo-neutral single cell, suited for neutron imaging [6, 2018]
  • Virtual porous material models finished. Macro-homogeneous model of the thermo-neutral cells is ready [12, 2018]
  • Thermo-neutral short stack demonstrator (ca. 10 cells) [12,2020]

IC engine powertrain efficiency increase

  • Establishment and demonstration of operation of new optical engine facility [9, 2017]
  • Detailed experimental and modelling understanding of dual-fuel combustion strategies with different liquid-gas fuel shares and premixed or diffusion combustion mode [12, 2018]
  • Successful identification of measures to minimize CH4-slip from gas engines [9, 2020]
  • Optimized thermal management operating strategy for a dual-fuel (diesel-ignited natural gas) engine [12, 2018] and emission optimized strategy [12, 2020]
  • HESS SwissTrolley+ demonstrator concept vehicle fully operational at VBZ including energy optimal operating strategy [12, 2018] and peak shaving strategy [12, 2020]
  • Advanced CNG passenger car (EU project GasOn) and utility vehicle (Iveco 3.0 l F1C engine) engine concept realized with 15-20% improved fuel consumption [12, 2020]

Renewable fuels

  • FOEN PtX feasibility study finished [12, 2017]
  • Validation of complete chain of hierarchical simulation models for IC engines running on renewable fuels [12, 2018]
  • Finalization of a power-to-350bar-CH4 for mobility demonstrator [12, 2019]

to follow soon

2017

Barro, C., Lucjan, A., Li, Z., Kyrtatos, P., Pandurangi, S., Wright, Y. M., & Boulouchos, K. (2017). Development and Experimental Validation of a Fast Spray Ignition Model for Diesel Engines Using Insights from CFD Spray Calculations. SAE International Journal of Fuels and Lubricants, 10(2), 2017-01–0812. https://doi.org/10.4271/2017-01-0812

Brückner, C., Kyrtatos, P., & Boulouchos, K. (2017). NOx emissions in direct injection diesel engines: Part 2: model performance for conventional, prolonged ignition delay, and premixed charge compression ignition operating conditions. International Journal of Engine Research, 146808741772155. https://doi.org/10.1177/1468087417721558

Brückner, C., Pandurangi, S. S., Kyrtatos, P., Bolla, M., Wright, Y. M., & Boulouchos, K. (2017). NOx emissions in direct injection diesel engines – part 1: Development of a phenomenological NOx model using experiments and three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics. International Journal of Engine Research, 146808741770431. https://doi.org/10.1177/1468087417704312

Dujc, J., Forner-Cuenca, A., Marmet, P., Cochet, M., Vetter, R., Schumacher, J., & Pierre, B. (2017). Modelling the Effects of using Gas Diffusion Layers with Patterned Wettability for Advanced Water Management in Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells. Journal of Electrochemical Energy Conversion and Storage. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4038626

Eller, J., Roth, J., Marone, F., Stampanoni, M., & Büchi, F. N. (2017). Operando Properties of Gas Diffusion Layers: Saturation and Liquid Permeability. Journal of The Electrochemical Society, 164(2), F115–F126. https://doi.org/10.1149/2.0881702jes

Farrace, D., Chung, K., Pandurangi, S. S., Wright, Y. M., Boulouchos, K., & Swaminathan, N. (2017). Unstructured LES-CMC modelling of turbulent premixed bluff body flames close to blow-off. Proceedings of the Combustion Institute, 36(2), 1977–1985. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.PROCI.2016.07.028

Forner-Cuenca, A., Manzi-Orezzoli, V., Kristiansen, P. M., Gubler, L., Schmidt, T. J., & Boillat, P. (2017). Mask-assisted electron radiation grafting for localized through-volume modification of porous substrates: influence of electron energy on spatial resolution. Radiation Physics and Chemistry, 135, 133–141. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.RADPHYSCHEM.2017.01.036

Gschwend, D., Soltic, P., Edinger, P., Wokaun, A., & Vogel, F. (2017). Performance evaluation of gasoline alternatives using a thermodynamic spark-ignition engine model. Sustainable Energy Fuels, 1(9), 1991–2005. https://doi.org/10.1039/C7SE00276A

Holzer, L., Pecho, O., Schumacher, J., Marmet, P., Büchi, F. N., Lamibrac, A., & Münch, B. (2017). Microstructure-property relationships in a gas diffusion layer (GDL) for Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells, Part II: pressure-induced water injection and liquid permeability. Electrochimica Acta, 241, 414–432. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.ELECTACTA.2017.04.141

Holzer, L., Pecho, O., Schumacher, J., Marmet, P., Stenzel, O., Büchi, F. N., … Münch, B. (2017). Microstructure-property relationships in a gas diffusion layer (GDL) for Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells, Part I: effect of compression and anisotropy of dry GDL. Electrochimica Acta, 227, 419–434. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.ELECTACTA.2017.01.030

Iannuzzi, S. E., Barro, C., Boulouchos, K., & Burger, J. (2017). POMDME-diesel blends: Evaluation of performance and exhaust emissions in a single cylinder heavy-duty diesel engine. Fuel, 203, 57–67. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.FUEL.2017.04.089

Keskinen, K., Nuutinen, M., Kaario, O., Vuorinen, V., Koch, J., Wright, Y. M., … Boulouchos, K. (2017). Hybrid LES/RANS with wall treatment in tangential and impinging flow configurations. International Journal of Heat and Fluid Flow, 65, 141–158. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.IJHEATFLUIDFLOW.2017.04.001

Kyrtatos, P., Zivolic, A., Brückner, C., & Boulouchos, K. (2017). Cycle-to-cycle variations of NO emissions in diesel engines under long ignition delay conditions. Combustion and Flame, 178, 82–96. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.COMBUSTFLAME.2016.12.025

Liao, Y., Dimopoulos Eggenschwiler, P., Rentsch, D., Curto, F., & Boulouchos, K. (2017). Characterization of the urea-water spray impingement in diesel selective catalytic reduction systems. Applied Energy, 205, 964–975. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.APENERGY.2017.08.088

Lucci, F., Della Torre, A., Montenegro, G., Kaufmann, R., & Dimopoulos Eggenschwiler, P. (2017). Comparison of geometrical, momentum and mass transfer characteristics of real foams to Kelvin cell lattices for catalyst applications. International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, 108, 341–350. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.IJHEATMASSTRANSFER.2016.11.073

Safi, M. A., Prasianakis, N. I., Mantzaras, J., Lamibrac, A., & Büchi, F. N. (2017). Experimental and pore-level numerical investigation of water evaporation in gas diffusion layers of polymer electrolyte fuel cells. International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, 115, 238–249. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.IJHEATMASSTRANSFER.2017.07.050


2016

Eberhardt, S. H., Marone, F., Stampanoni, M., Büchi, F. N., & Schmidt, T. J. (2016). Operando X-ray Tomographic Microscopy Imaging of HT-PEFC: A Comparative Study of Phosphoric Acid Electrolyte Migration. Journal of The Electrochemical Society, 163(8), F842–F847. https://doi.org/10.1149/2.0801608jes

Kyrtatos, P., Brückner, C., & Boulouchos, K. (2016). Cycle-to-cycle variations in diesel engines. Applied Energy, 171, 120–132. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.APENERGY.2016.03.015

Lamibrac, A., Roth, J., Toulec, M., Marone, F., Stampanoni, M., & Büchi, F. N. (2016). Characterization of Liquid Water Saturation in Gas Diffusion Layers by X-Ray Tomographic Microscopy. Journal of The Electrochemical Society, 163(3), F202–F209. https://doi.org/10.1149/2.0401603jes

Schlatter, S., Schneider, B., Wright, Y. M., & Boulouchos, K. (2016). N-heptane micro pilot assisted methane combustion in a Rapid Compression Expansion Machine. Fuel, 179, 339–352. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.FUEL.2016.03.006

Schmitt, M., Frouzakis, C. E., Wright, Y. M., Tomboulides, A., & Boulouchos, K. (2016a). Direct numerical simulation of the compression stroke under engine relevant conditions: Local wall heat flux distribution. International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, 92, 718–731. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.IJHEATMASSTRANSFER.2015.08.074

Schmitt, M., Frouzakis, C. E., Wright, Y. M., Tomboulides, A. G., & Boulouchos, K. (2016b). Investigation of wall heat transfer and thermal stratification under engine-relevant conditions using DNS. International Journal of Engine Research, 17(1), 63–75. https://doi.org/10.1177/1468087415588710

Soltic, P., Biffiger, H., Prêtre, P., & Kempe, A. (2016). Micro-thermal CMOS-based gas quality sensing for control of spark ignition engines. Measurement, 91, 661–679. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.MEASUREMENT.2016.05.098

Zurbriggen, F., Hutter, R., & Onder, C. (2016). Diesel-Minimal Combustion Control of a Natural Gas-Diesel Engine. Energies, 9(1), 58. https://doi.org/10.3390/en9010058


2015

Biesdorf, J., Forner-Cuenca, A., Schmidt, T. J., & Boillat, P. (2015). Impact of Hydrophobic Coating on Mass Transport Losses in PEFCs. Journal of The Electrochemical Society, 162(10), F1243–F1252. https://doi.org/10.1149/2.0861510jes

Biesdorf, J., Stahl, P., Siegwart, M., Schmidt, T. J., & Boillat, P. (2015). When Size Matters: Active Area Dependence of PEFC Cold Start Capability. Journal of The Electrochemical Society, 162(10), F1231–F1235. https://doi.org/10.1149/2.0871510jes

Boillat, P., Iranzo, A., & Biesdorf, J. (2015). Layer by Layer Segmentation of Water Distribution from Neutron Imaging of Large Scale Cells. Journal of the Electrochemical Society, 162(6), F531–F536. https://doi.org/10.1149/2.0511506jes

Eberhardt, S. H., Marone, F., Stampanoni, M., Buchi, F. N., & Schmidt, T. J. (2015). Imaging Phosphoric Acid Migration in High Temperature Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells by X-Ray Tomographic Microscopy. ECS Transactions, 69(17), 591–599. https://doi.org/10.1149/06917.0591ecst

Eberhardt, S. H., Toulec, M., Marone, F., Stampanoni, M., Buchi, F. N., & Schmidt, T. J. (2015). Dynamic Operation of HT-PEFC: In-Operando Imaging of Phosphoric Acid Profiles and (Re)distribution. Journal of the Electrochemical Society, 162(3), F310–F316. https://doi.org/10.1149/2.0751503jes

Eller, J., Marone, F., & Buchi, F. N. (2015). Operando Sub-Second Tomographic Imaging of Water in PEFC Gas Diffusion Layers. ECS Transactions, 69(17), 523–531. https://doi.org/10.1149/06917.0523ecst

Farrace, D., Panier, R., Schmitt, M., Boulouchos, K., & Wright, Y. M. (2015). Analysis of Averaging Methods for Large Eddy Simulations of Diesel Sprays. SAE International Journal of Fuels and Lubricants, 8(3), 2015-24–2464. https://doi.org/10.4271/2015-24-2464

Forner-Cuenca, A., Biesdorf, J., Gubler, L., Kristiansen, P. M., Schmidt, T. J., & Boillat, P. (2015). Engineered Water Highways in Fuel Cells: Radiation Grafting of Gas Diffusion Layers. Advanced Materials, 27(41), 6317–6322. https://doi.org/10.1002/adma.201503557

Mayrhuber, I., Marone, F., Stampanoni, M., Schmidt, T. J., & Büchi, F. N. (2015). Fast X-ray Tomographic Microscopy: Investigating Mechanisms of Performance Drop during Freeze Starts of Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells. ChemElectroChem, 2(10), 1551–1559. https://doi.org/10.1002/celc.201500132

Schmitt, M., Frouzakis, C. E., Wright, Y. M., Tomboulides, A. G., & Boulouchos, K. (2015). Direct numerical simulation of the compression stroke under engine-relevant conditions: Evolution of the velocity and thermal boundary layers. International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, 91, 948–960. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.IJHEATMASSTRANSFER.2015.08.031


2014

Biesdorf, J., Oberholzer, P., Bernauer, F., Kaestner, A., Vontobel, P., Lehmann, E. H., … Boillat, P. (2014). Dual Spectrum Neutron Radiography: Identification of Phase Transitions between Frozen and Liquid Water. Physical Review Letters, 112(24), 248301. https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.112.248301

Eller, J., Roth, J., Marone, F., Stampanoni, M., Wokaun, A., & Büchi, F. N. (2014). Implications of polymer electrolyte fuel cell exposure to synchrotron radiation on gas diffusion layer water distribution. Journal of Power Sources, 245, 796–800. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.JPOWSOUR.2013.07.025

Kang, J., Prasianakis, N. I., & Mantzaras, J. (2014). Thermal multicomponent lattice Boltzmann model for catalytic reactive flows. Physical Review E, 89(6), 63310. https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevE.89.063310

Zheng, X., & Mantzaras, J. (2014). An analytical and numerical investigation of hetero-/homogeneous combustion with deficient reactants having larger than unity Lewis numbers. Combustion and Flame, 161(7), 1911–1922. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.COMBUSTFLAME.2013.12.018