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Optimizing Large-Bore Engines

Turbocharger Center Helps

Advance Natural Gas Compression
by K.S. Chapman, Ph.D., Director Natural Gas Machinery Laboratory, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS

housands of reciprocating engines

T are used in the U.S. to drive com-

pressors that move natural gas
throughout the country. With few
exceptions these engines, built during a
time when emissions were not a national
concern, will need to have their perform-
ance improved to reduce emissions and to
increase fuel economy.
Rather than invest billions of dollars to
replace these engines, the U. S. natural gas
pipeline industry has invested in research Figure 1: General turbocharged engine Figure 2: Compressor performance map.
facilities to identify retrofit strategies and system.
technologies. One such laboratory is the sor. Complicating this relationship are the
National Gas Machinery Laboratory (NGML), compressor and turbine efficiencies, which
an institute of the College of Engineering at are not constants but rather vary with oper-
Kansas State University (K-State). ating conditions. Figure 2 illustrates a typi-
Central to this laboratory is the cal centrifugal compressor map.
Turbocharger Test & Research Facility The pressure ratio across the compres-
(TTRF), which was built primarily by funding sor is plotted on the vertical axis and the
provided through Pipeline Research Council air flow rate through the compressor is
International, Gas Technology Institute, indi- plotted on the horizontal axis. The com-
vidual pipeline companies, the State of pressor map contains lines of constant
Kansas, and two aftermarket turbocharger speed and islands of constant efficiency.
companies. This test stand provides In order to determine the efficiency of this
researchers with extensive, and otherwise particular compressor, two of the follow-
not available, turbocharger operating data. ing are needed: the air flow rate through
In conjunction with industry representa- Figure 3: Example of an engine air flow
the compressor, the pressure ratio, and/or load line.
tives, NGML researchers identified two the compressor speed.
major unaddressed issues that confront Another key aspect of the compressor manifold pressure divided by exhaust
engine system designers and operators map is the surge line, which is shown on the manifold pressure, and the horizontal axis
regarding engine air flow management: 1) left side of the compressor map. This surge represents the air flow rate through the
how to identify which turbocharger com- line separates the regions where the com- engine. As expected, as the pressure ratio
pressor, diffuser, turbine blade set, and pressor can operate, and where it cannot. If increases, the air flow rate through the
nozzle ring will work on which engine; a compressor operates near the surge line, a engine also increases. The engine load
and 2) how to determine the extent to perturbation in the system may be enough line, the compressor map, and the turbine
which an engine utilizes air to scavenge to throw the compressor into surge. When map provide all the needed information to
exhaust products out of the cylinder. surge occurs, the air flow reverses, and flows match a turbocharger with an engine.
Since that time, NGML researchers have backward through the compressor. The flow An NGML short course for industry pro-
developed the methodology to optimally then reverses again, and the process repeats. fessionals covers the turbocharger/engine
match a turbocharger to an engine, and are As one might imagine, an engine does not process in more detail. During the course,
now working to identify the parameters and operate very well under this condition and participants have access to data collected
methods of measurement needed to deter- disastrous effects are a serious possibility, from the Turbocharger Test and Research
mine and impact the scavenging efficiency in including catastrophic failure. Facility, shown in Figure 4. Because of its
two-stroke cycle engines. This article explains The next step in the turbocharger match- unique open-loop design, the test cell has
the underlying importance of turbocharger ing process is to couple the now-determined been used to successfully match tur-
matching, examines how scavenging efficien- compressor and turbine interaction opera- bochargers to engines. This facility can han-
cy impacts performance, and identifies key tional constraints with the engines ability to dle nearly any turbocharger used in the nat-
components that affect air flow through a utilize the air that the turbocharger compres- ural gas transmission industry, including
large-bore two-stroke cycle engine. sor produces. To accomplish this, one must Clark and Cooper turbochargers, to create
understand the concept of an engine air turbocharger compressor and turbine maps.
Turbocharger/ flow load line. The engine air flow load line,
Engine Matching or simply the load line, represents the resist- Scavenging Efficiency
The generic turbocharged engine system, ance to flow that is created by the engine Once a designer and/or system operator
illustrated in Figure 1, shows the tur- cylinder. The load line provides the func- has determined that a turbocharger match-
bocharger compressor, the turbocharger tional relationship between the air flow rate es an engine, the next consideration is to
turbine, and the engine. The compressor through the engine and the pressure differ- determine to what extent the engine and
compresses air to force the air into the ence across the engine. Figure 3 graphically turbocharger system can efficiently
engine cylinder. The turbine extracts ener- illustrates an engine load line. remove all the exhaust products from the
gy from the engine exhaust, and matches The vertical axis represents the pressure engine cylinder. This is the concept of
the energy needed to power the compres- ratio across the engine cylinder, i.e., air scavenging efficiency.
36 Pipeline & Gas Journal/October 2002/
Cd =

( ) ( ( ) )
1 k-1

( )
Aref P0k

Figure 6: Schematic of the port flow facility.

Figure 5: Effective area compared to true

Figure 4: The NGML Turbocharger Test and geometric flow area.
Research Facility.
a number less than one that represents
According to Heywood (1981), scaveng- the ratio between the effective flow area
ing efficiency is the ratio between the mass and the true geometric flow area.
of air that is delivered to and retained in the Discharge coefficients are determined
cylinder to the mass of charge trapped from experimental data. Literature reveals
inside the cylinder. Note that the charge that the currently-available discharge coeffi-
may contain exhaust products from the pre- cients are derived from ports that are a frac-
vious cycle. In the case where absolutely all tion of the size of the ports used in large-bore
the exhaust products are removed, or scav- two-stroke cycle engines. Unfortunately, dis-
enged, from the cylinder, the scavenging charge coefficients for the ports in large bore Figure 7: Preliminary discharge coefficient
efficiency is 100 percent. In most cases, engines have not been experimentally deter- data.
however, scavenging efficiencies near 75 mined and reported in the literature.
percent are more common. To determine sets of experimentally the piston, and the vertical axis shows the
The scavenging efficiency is important determined flow discharge coefficients, flow discharge coefficient. The discharge
from the standpoint of emissions. A com- NGML researchers designed and built a coefficient reaches a minimum when the
monly used ratio is that for every 1 percent port flow facility that can accommodate port is about 40 percent open, and then
increase in scavenging efficiency one can engine cylinders used in the natural gas increases when the port is completely
expect a 10 percent decrease in NOX pro- transmission industry. The port flow facili- open and nearly closed. These results
duction. Hence, the ability to fully under- ty was designed to develop flow discharge clearly demonstrate how port design
stand and control scavenging efficiency in coefficients for a wide variety of intake impacts engine scavenging with associated
an engine remains critical with todays low and exhaust port geometries, and over a implications for engine performance. Port
pollutant requirements. Researchers are complete range of scavenging styles. modifications and/or complete redesigns
just beginning to identify the multitude of Complete details of the design process are will achieve improved scavenging efficien-
parameters on which scavenging efficien- provided by Chapman et al. (2001). cies and engine performance to values
cy depends. Once all the parameters are Figure 6 schematically shows the port greater than those measured today.
identified, technologies can be developed facility. The cylinder liner is positioned Author: K. S. Chapman is professor
to 1) measure these parameters in the within the facility and the air supply duct is of mechanical and nuclear engineering
field, and 2) make real time operating attached to the top of the cylinder liner. In and director of the National Gas
adjustments to the engine system. this particular schematic, the facility is set Machinery Laboratory at Kansas State
up to test flow through the cylinder liner University. P&GJ
Components That Affect and out one or more exhaust ports. The air
Engine Air Flow flow rate through the supply duct is meas-
NGML researchers continue to focus their ured using an ASME certified and reversible REFERENCES
efforts on the ability to fully understand and flow venturi. The centrifugal compressor on Chapman, K.S., T.L. Brentano, D. Malicke,
measure scavenging, while work continues the left side of the diagram provides the air and J. Brown, Design and Construction of a
to develop modified engine port geometries to the cylinder. The final key component is Large Bore Engine Flow Bench to
and other low-cost components to control the piston positioner located below the Experimentally Determine Port Discharge
scavenging in two-stroke cycle engines. cylinder liner. The piston positioner pre- Coefficients for Better Prediction of Airflow,
One primary barrier under investigation is cisely positions the piston within the liner. ASME Fall Technical Conference Proceedings,
the inability to accurately represent the The positioning system is accurate to with- Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL,
flow rate through engine ports. in 0.001 inches and provides the capability September 23-26, 2001.
Figure 5 shows air flow through a typ- to finely adjust how much a particular port Heywood, J.B., Internal Combustion Engine
ical port. As the flow rate becomes rela- is covered by the piston. All temperature, Fundamentals, McGraw-Hill Higher Education,
tively high, the main portion of the flow pressure, and flow data are recorded and New York, 1981.
stream separates from the sides of the processed by the data acquisition system. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
ports. This separation area contains a The discharge coefficient is determined The port flow facility and TTRF at the NGML
recirculation flow regime that acts as a from the measured data by using the defini- are financially and technically supported by the
barrier to flow through the port. The tion of the discharge coefficient and the Pipeline Research Council International
effective flow area, AE, is smaller than expression for ideal compressible flow Compressor Station Technical Committee
the geometric area of the port, AT. Since through a restriction. The resulting equation is: (CSTC) and the Gas Technology Institute (GTI).
the effective flow area is reduced, so is The reference area, Aref, theoretically The author acknowledges Exline, Inc. and EL
the actual air flow rate through the port. represents geometrical flow area of the port. Paso Corp. for contributions of cylinder liners,
The challenge, then, is to quantify the At present, the flow discharge coeffi- and Greg Beshouri, president, AETC for techni-
impact of the reduced effective area on cients for the exhaust ports in a Clark HBA cal assistance. The review of this article and tech-
the air flow rate through the engine cylinder have been measured at the NGML nical comments provided by Charles E. French,
ports via the development of a parame- flow facility. Preliminary results are shown program manager, compression and measurement
ter referred to as a discharge flow coef- in Figure 7. The horizontal axis shows the GTI, are greatly appreciated.
ficient. The discharge flow coefficient is percent of the port that is uncovered by

Pipeline & Gas Journal/October 2002/ 37