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300 Internal Combustion Engines

This section covers the basic principles of power production from two- and four-
stoke internal combustion engines. It discusses mechanical components and arrange-
ments, and natural aspiration as well as supercharging and turbocharging of
engines. It also reviews criteria for selecting an engine, including general recom-
mendations. Several other design factors are also covered, including support
systems and emissions control. There is also a brief discussion of rerating and
predictive maintenance (engine analysis).

Contents Page

310 Engineering Principles 300-4

311 Four-stroke Spark-ignition Engine
312 Ideal Otto Cycle
313 Four-stroke Compression-ignition Diesel Engine
314 Ideal Diesel Cycle
315 Two-stroke Cycle
316 Combustion
317 Performance Characteristics
320 Mechanical Arrangements and Aspirating Methods 300-16
321 Arrangements
322 Natural Aspiration
323 Supercharging
324 Two-stroke Engine Scavenging
325 Turbocharging of Two-stroke Engines
330 Machine Components and Auxiliary Systems 300-23
331 Identification of Components
332 Accessory Equipment
340 Selection Criteria 300-38

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300 Internal Combustion Engines Driver Manual

341 Engine Load Ratings

342 Running Speed and Piston Speed
343 Brake Mean Effective Pressure
344 Fuel Consumption
345 Emissions Performance
346 Lateral and Torsional Analysis
347 Reliability and Availability
348 Usual Applications
350 System Considerations 300-44
351 Gas Fuel Requirements
352 Inlet Air System
353 Exhaust System
354 Lube-oil Consumption
355 Mounting Considerations
356 Driven Equipment Considerations
357 Weather Protection
360 Instrumentation and Controls 300-50
361 Indicators, Alarms and Shutdowns
362 Crankcase Relief
363 Speed Controls
364 Air/Fuel Ratio Controllers
370 Emissions Control 300-53
371 Exhaust Gas Emissions
372 Fundamentals of NOx Production
373 Emissions Regulations
374 Emissions Control Strategies
375 Emissions Testing
380 Rerates and Retrofits 300-68
381 Types of Retrofits
382 Retrofits for Increased Power Output
383 Retrofits for Decreased Emissions
390 Predictive Maintenance 300-69
391 The Engine Analyzer

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392 Detection of Engine Faults

393 Performance Data Acquisition

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300 Internal Combustion Engines Driver Manual

310 Engineering Principles

This section covers operating cycles, ideal cycles, and ideal efficiencies for I/C
engines. It also provides a background on combustion and engine performance,
including a discussion of auto-ignition and detonation.

311 Four-stroke Spark-ignition Engine

Reciprocating I/C engines use the mechanism shown in Figure 300-1 to transmit
power to a drive shaft. This mechanism consists of a piston which slides back and
forth (reciprocates) in a cylinder and transmits power through a connecting rod to a
rotating crankshaft.

Fig. 300-1 Reciprocating Piston Mechanism (Courtesy of the Howell Training Group)

In the four-stroke spark-ignition engine, the piston makes four “strokes,” or cycle-
events to complete a cycle. These events are shown in Figure 300-2, and consist of:
• An intake stroke to draw a combustible mixture into the cylinder(s)
• A compression stroke which compresses the mixture and raises its temperature
• An expansion or power stroke in which the mixture is ignited by a spark,
burns, and expands to force the piston downward
• An exhaust stroke to push the products of combustion out of the cylinder
Figure 300-3 shows a cylinder pressure versus time diagram for the same cycle. In
operation, the crankshaft makes two complete revolutions during each complete

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Driver Manual 300 Internal Combustion Engines

Fig. 300-2 Four-Stroke Cycle Gasoline Engine (From Internal Combustion Engines and Air Pollution by Edward F.
Obert 1968, 1974 by Intext. Used by permission from HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.)

Fig. 300-3 Otto Cycle Pressure vs. Time Diagram

312 Ideal Otto Cycle

The four-stroke spark-ignition engine is commonly referred to as the Otto engine
named after the engineer that first demonstrated a working engine. A hypothetical
or ideal model for this engine is the air-standard Otto cycle shown in the pressure
versus volume, and temperature versus entropy diagrams in Figure 300-4. The
cycle events are modeled by moving between points on the diagrams as follows:
• Points a-b, compression at constant entropy
• Points b-c, addition of heat at constant volume
• Points c-d, expansion at constant entropy
• Points d-a, heat rejection at constant volume

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300 Internal Combustion Engines Driver Manual

Fig. 300-4 Ideal Air-Standard Otto Cycle

Calculating Volumetric Compression

A volumetric compression ratio can be defined for a reciprocating-piston engine by:

r c = --------------
(Eq. 300-1)
rc = volumetric compression ratio
D = displacement (swept volume of cylinder), in.3
C = clearance volume (volume of com- pressed gas in the combustion
chamber, in.3
A typical volumetric compression ratio for an Otto engine is 8 to 1, limited by the
auto-ignition temperature of the fuel.

Calculating Ideal Thermal Efficiency

The ideal thermal efficiency can be calculated for the Otto engine using the equa-

η t = 1 – -----------
rck – 1
(Eq. 300-2)
ηt = thermal efficiency

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Driver Manual 300 Internal Combustion Engines

k = Cp/Cv = ratio of specific heats

For air (k = 1.4) and a volumetric compression ratio of 8 to 1, Equation 300-2
would be modified as follows:

η t = 1 – -------------
- = 0.56
( 8 ) 0.4

313 Four-stroke Compression-ignition Diesel Engine

The four-stroke compression-ignition diesel engine has four cycle events and makes
two crankshaft revolutions per cycle (similar to the four-stroke spark-ignited
engine). However, refer to Figure 300-2 and review the following differences in the
cycle events:
• An intake stroke to draw air into the engine
• A compression stroke to heat the air to a temperature that exceeds the auto-igni-
tion temperature of the fuel (not yet introduced)
• An expansion stroke during which the fuel is injected into the cylinder at a rate
such that combustion maintains constant pressure
• An exhaust stroke to push the combustion products out of the cylinder
Therefore, the primary difference is the high volumetric compression ratio is used
with air alone, and fuel is not introduced until the beginning of the expansion stroke
in the compression ignition engine.

314 Ideal Diesel Cycle

The four-stroke compression-ignition engine is also known as the Diesel engine,
also named after the engineer that designed it. A hypothetical model for this engine
is the air-standard Diesel cycle shown in the pressure versus volume and tempera-
ture versus entropy diagrams in Figure 300-5. The cycle events are modeled by
moving between points on the diagrams as follows:
• Points a-b, compression at constant entropy
• Points b-c, addition of heat at constant pressure
• Points c-d, expansion at constant entropy
• Points d-a, heat rejection at constant volume
Unlike the spark-ignited engine, the volumetric compression ratio is not limited by
the auto-ignition temperature of the fuel. A typical volumetric compression ratio is
18 to 1.

Calculating Ideal Thermal Efficiency

The ideal thermal efficiency for the Diesel engine can be calculated from:

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300 Internal Combustion Engines Driver Manual

Fig. 300-5 Ideal Air-Standard Diesel Cycle

 Tc 
 -----
T b 
- –1
1 
η t = 1 – ------------- -----------------------
rc – 1  Tc

k  ------ – 1
T b 
(Eq. 300-3)
Tc = temperature corresponding to point 'c' in Figure 300-5, Rankine
Tb = temperature corresponding to point 'b' in Figure 300-5, Rankine
Note The ideal thermal efficiencies for the Diesel and Otto cycles (Equations
300-2 and 300-3, respectively) differ only by the term in brackets. Since this term is
always greater than one, you expect the Diesel cycle thermal efficiency to be lower
than that for the Otto cycle. However, since the volumetric compression ratio of the
Diesel cycle is typically higher, this is usually not the case.
For air, a volumetric compression ratio of 18 to 1, and Tc/Tb = 3 (typical),
Equation 300-3 would be modified as follows:

1 ( 3 ) 1.4 – 1
η t = 1 – ----------------
- -----------------------
- = 0.59
( 18 ) 0.4 1.4 ( 3 – 1 )

315 Two-stroke Cycle

Unlike four-stroke engines, the two-stroke cycle only requires two piston strokes
and one crankshaft revolution to complete a cycle. The two-stroke cycle was origi-
nally developed in order to get higher output from the same size engine and to

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Driver Manual 300 Internal Combustion Engines

obtain some valve simplifications. The cycle is applicable to both compression-igni-

tion and spark-ignition operations.
The two-stroke cycle events are shown in Figure 300-6 and are described as follows:
• Expansion
• Exhaust scavenging
• Intake and compression
• Ignition
In Figure 300-6, the back side of the piston and crankcase volume are used as the
means for compressing air for scavenging and intake. During expansion, the piston
blocks all the ports, and the downward motion of the piston compresses air in the
crankcase. As the piston completes its downward motion during scavenging, the
bypass and exhaust ports are uncovered and the compressed air flushes or scav-
enges exhaust products from the cylinder and fills the cylinder with a fresh charge
of air. The piston then moves upward during compression and intake. The bypass
and exhaust ports are covered allowing compression of the charge above the piston.
Fuel is injected into the cylinder during compression. In the same motion, the
intake port is uncovered and air is drawn into the crankcase below the piston.
Finally, ignition occurs just before the piston completes its upward motion, and
expansion begins as the piston reaches the top and again moves downward.

Fig. 300-6 Two-Stroke Cycle Gasoline Engines (From Internal Combustion Engines and Air Pollution by Edward F.
Obert 1968, 1974 by Intext. Used by permission from HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.)

In most large size practical engines, compression of the scavenging air is done
outside the engine by a shaft-driven blower or by a turbocharger. These devices are
discussed in Sub-section 323.

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316 Combustion
The active components in the combustion process are carbon, hydrogen and
oxygen. Complete combustion of carbon and hydrogen would take the simplified
C + O2 →CO2
H2 + 1/2 O2 →H2O
In most practical engines, combustion of the fuel occurs with air, not with pure
oxygen. Air is composed of 21% (by mole or volume) oxygen and 79% inert gases
(mostly nitrogen). The inert gases only dilute the oxygen concentration, and usually
appear in the products unchanged in form.
The mole ratio of inert gases to oxygen in air is 79/21 = 3.76. Therefore, air is
roughly composed of O2 + 3.76 N2, and complete combustion of carbon with air
would take the form:
C + O2 + 3.76 N2 →CO2 + 3.76 N2
A complete combustion reaction for methane (the principal component in natural
gas) is:
CH4 + 2O2 + 2(3.76)N2 →CO2 + 2H2O + 7.52 N2
In this reaction the stoichiometric amount of air (exact, with no excess air) is used
to completely oxidize the methane into products.

Air-Fuel Ratio
The air-fuel ratio for a combustion reaction can be calculated from the equation:

AF = --------
(Eq. 300-4)
AF = air-fuel ratio
Wa = weight of air, pounds
Wf = weight of fuel, pounds
For the combustion reaction shown (of methane with air) the air-fuel ratio can be
calculated by multiplying the number of moles in the chemical equation (300-4) by
the molecular weights of the components:

( 2 + 7.52 moles air ) ( 28.97 pounds/mole air )

AF = ------------------------------------------------ × -------------------------------------------------------------- = 17.2
( 1 mole fuel ) ( 16.03 pounds/mole fuel )

This value is the stoichiometric air-fuel ratio for combustion of methane and air.

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If combustion occurred with more air than that required for complete combustion,
the air-fuel ratio would be higher than the stoichiometric ratio, and the mixture
would be called a lean mixture. Likewise, if there were excess fuel, complete
combustion would not occur, and the mixture would be called a rich mixture (AF
less than stoichiometric).

Heating Values
The heating value of a fuel is the amount of heat liberated when the fuel is
completely burned into products and cooled to the initial temperature. It is
expressed in BTU per pound, BTU per mole, BTU per SCF or BTU per gallon.
Whenever a fuel contains hydrogen, one of the combustion products will be water
which may exist in the vapor state, liquid state, or as a two-phase mixture. If the
water formed by combustion can be completely condensed, more heat can be liber-
ated from the reaction than if the water remained in the vapor form.
As a result, there are two heating values defined for hydrocarbon fuels: (1) the
higher heating value (HHV) for combustion in which the water is entirely
condensed, and (2) the lower heating value (LHV) for combustion in which the
water remains completely in the vapor state. In most reciprocating engines the prod-
ucts of combustion are exhausted at elevated temperatures, and the water is not
condensed. Therefore, the lower heating value is usually used in calculations
relating to reciprocating engines, and will be used in this section, unless otherwise
There is no convention for using the higher or lower heating values among
engine users or manufacturers. For this reason, quoted fuel consumption rates
or thermal efficiencies may be based on either value for the fuel in question.
When comparisons are made, be sure to determine the basis of values if they
are not clearly stated. The differences are significant.

Auto-ignition is a phenomenon that is harmful in a spark-ignition engine, but is
desirable and necessary in a compression-ignition engine. Auto-ignition occurs
when a combustible mixture is at a temperature and density where spontaneous igni-
tion occurs without the presence of a spark or flame.
Auto-ignition of a mixture is controlled by the following factors:
• Temperature
• Density
• Time
• Composition—Air-fuel ratio and presence of any substance that affects the
chemical reaction
• Turbulence—Level of mixing or homogeneity of the mixture
A Diesel-cycle (compression-ignition) engine would not function if it were not for
the phenomenon of auto-ignition.

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Detonation and Knock

The design objective in a spark-ignition engine is to burn a large portion of the
mixture before the remaining portion reaches a temperature at which auto-ignition
could occur. When auto-ignition occurs to a significant extent in a spark-ignited
engine cylinder, the engine may detonate or knock. This usually happens when the
operation of the engine forces the combustion temperatures to rise (such as in an
engine over-load situation), or when the fuel composition changes making it more
susceptible to auto-ignition.
When a large portion of the mixture auto-ignites before being ignited by the flame
that is propagated from the spark, a very rapid pressure increase may occur
throughout the combustion chamber. This pressure increase will result in a direct
blow to the engine structure, and a thudding sound from the impact will be
detected. This is detonation.
In other cases, a less violent and higher frequency pressure rise may occur, and a
pinging sound will be heard. This is the less damaging phenomenon commonly
called a knock. Often, knocking may be a precursor to a much larger and damaging
Detonations must be avoided. They can cause severe damage to an engine. Failures
commonly caused by detonations include cracked heads, cracked cylinders (or
liners), and cracked or broken pistons. In extreme cases, damage extends to the
connecting rods and crankshaft.

Fuel Knock Ratings

Fuel composition has a great affect on the probability of knock or auto-ignition in
both spark and compression ignition engines. Fuels for spark ignition engines are
rated against the possibility of knock. A knock rating or octane rating is assigned to
gasolines, lower ratings indicating a greater tendency towards knock. The octane
rating of gasolines is determined by matching knock under prescribed operating
conditions in a special test engine with primary reference fuels. The primary refer-
ence fuels are n-heptane with an octane rating of zero, and iso-octane with an
octane rating of 100.
The knock tendency of natural gases is judged by both the composition and the
heating value of the gas. Natural gas fuels with lower heating values above 1100
BTU/SCF usually require treatment to remove liquid hydrocarbons, or special
consideration by the engine manufacturer to avoid knock.
The auto-ignition rating of Diesel fuels for compression ignition engines is deter-
mined in a manner similar to the method of gasolines. Note that the fuel is rated for
its ignition characteristics, and not for knock, since auto-ignition is desirable in
compression ignition engines. The cetane rating of Diesel fuels is determined by
comparing the fuel under prescribed operating conditions in a special test engine
with primary reference fuels. The primary reference fuels are alpha methyl naptha-
lene with a cetane number of zero, and n-cetane with a cetane number of 100.

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317 Performance Characteristics

The total power developed at the pistons of an engine is called the indicated horse-
power (IHP), calculated for each cylinder from:

πD 2 PSN s
IHP = ------------------------
(Eq. 300-5)
IHP = indicated horsepower
D = cylinder bore diameter, inches
P = mean cylinder indicated pressure, psi
S = piston stroke, inches
Ns = number of strokes per minute
Not all of the power developed at the pistons of an engine is delivered to the
flywheel as useful power. A portion of it, called friction horsepower (FHP), is lost
due to friction in the cylinder, bearings, and other mechanical parts. The portion
delivered at the flywheel of the engine, or the useful power, is called the brake
horsepower (BHP).
The relationship between indicated and brake horsepower is shown in the following


(Eq. 300-6)
BHP = brake horsepower
FHP = friction horsepower

Mechanical Efficiency
The mechanical efficiency of an engine is the ratio of the power delivered at the
flywheel (BHP) to the total power developed at the pistons (IHP). The following
equation relates mechanical efficiency to the horsepowers previously discussed:

η m = ------------ ( 100 ) = 1 – ----------- ( 100 )
(Eq. 300-7)
ηm = mechanical efficiency, percent

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The work performed by an engine is measured as torque. The torque transmitted
through the crankshaft to the driven equipment is related to the transmitted power

33,000 BHP
T = ------------------------------
(Eq. 300-8)
T = Torque, ft-lbs
N = Crankshaft rotating speed, RPM

Mean Effective Pressure

The mean effective pressure is not a real pressure that can be measured. It is a
factor that characterizes the cylinder design pressure level of an engine, often used
in specifications to limit the application of engine designs. It can be defined from
either the indicated horsepower or the brake horsepower.
The more commonly used factor, the brake mean effective pressure (BMEP), is
defined as the theoretical constant pressure exerted during each power stroke, to
produce a power output equal to the brake horsepower. It can be calculated from:

396,000 BHP 1,584,000 BHP

BMEP = --------------------------------- = ------------------------------------
CID N s πD 2 SN s
(Eq. 300-9)
BMEP = brake mean effective pressure, psi
CID = cubic inch displacement = bore area stroke
Note that the strokes per minute (Ns) equal the speed (N) for two-stroke engines,
and half the speed (Ns = N/2) for four-stroke engines.
Likewise, a less used factor called the indicated mean effective pressure (IMEP),
defined in the same manner, can be calculated by substituting IHP in place of BHP
in Equation 300-9.

Specific Fuel Consumption

An engine’s fuel consumption rate is usually expressed as a function of horsepower
and is called the brake specific fuel consumption, calculated:

BSFC = ------------
(Eq. 300-10)

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Driver Manual 300 Internal Combustion Engines

BSFC = brake specific fuel consumption, lb/BHP-hr
w = weight flow rate of fuel, lb/hr
The fuel flow rate of liquid fuels is usually expressed as a weight flow in pounds
per hour as shown in Equation 300-10. However, the fuel flow rate of gas fuels is
usually expressed as a heat flow in BTU per hour, and the fuel consumption as a
heat rate in BTU per brake horsepower hour. To convert BTU per hour to weight
flow in pounds per hour, multiply by the lower heating value of the fuel.

Heat Rate
In gas fueled engines, fuel consumption is more conveniently expressed as a heat
rate. The heat rate of an engine is the heat flow as a function of horsepower,
expressed in BTU per brake horsepower-hour (BTU/BHP-hr). Engine heat rates
may be based on the lower or the higher heating value of the fuel. The lower
heating value basis is more appropriate (see Heating Values, Sub-section 316).

Thermal Efficiency
The thermal efficiency of reciprocating engines is important when evaluating
combined cycle performance, or when making comparisons with other driver types
such as steam or gas turbines. A typical thermal efficiency for producing field
compressor engines (spark-ignited gas engines) is 35%. The thermal efficiency of
moderately sized Diesel engines is about 40%.
The thermal efficiency of an engine can be calculated from:

2545 BHP
η t = -------------------------
(Eq. 300-11)
LHV = fuel lower heating value, BTU/lb
w = weight flow rate of fuel, lb/hr
The efficiency in Equation 300-11 should be called the brake thermal efficiency
because it is calculated from brake horsepower; an indicated thermal efficiency
could also be calculated from the indicated horsepower. Also, note that the thermal
efficiency in Equation 300-11 is based on the lower heating value of the fuel. There
is no convention for this, and one might argue that it should be calculated using the
higher heating value. For these reasons, manufacturers usually quote fuel consump-
tion rates instead of thermal efficiencies, to eliminate confusion.

Specific Weight
The specific weight of an engine is its weight as a function of horsepower (pounds
per brake horsepower). Specific weight is usually not an important characteristic in
petrochemical applications. However, for some offshore or portable applications,
engines with lower specific weights might be more favorable than heavier engines.

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Performance Curves
Performance curves are useful for determination of power and fuel consumption at
less than rated power or speeds. Performance curves can be drawn for engines
based on dynamometer tests. These curves are based either on constant throttle
(wide-open) operation at variable speed, or on constant speed operation.
Figure 300-7 is an example of a constant throttle curve.

Fig. 300-7 Engine Performance (From Internal Combustion Engines and Air Pollution by
Edward F. Obert 1968, 1974 by Intext. Used by permission from HarperCollins
Publishers, Inc.)

320 Mechanical Arrangements and Aspirating Methods

This sub-section covers engine arrangements and their supportive illustrations used
in the petrochemical industry. It also reviews engine aspirating methods, and the
benefits of turbocharging.

321 Arrangements
Reciprocating engines are built in several arrangements as shown in Figure 300-8.
Of these, only the in-line, vee (or V), and the opposed piston arrangements are
commonly used in the petrochemical industry.
Figure 300-9 shows a typical eight cylinder in-line engine that might be used to
drive a packaged high-speed compressor in a producing field application. This
engine is a four-stroke spark-ignited gas engine. Figure 300-10 shows a similar
engine, this time larger and in the vee arrangement.
Figure 300-11 shows an opposed piston engine. The opposed piston arrangement
is available as a compression or spark-ignition engine. It has two pistons in every
cylinder connected to separate crankshafts. The crankshafts are geared together to
transmit torque from the overhead crankshaft to the lower crankshaft which drives

October 1989 300-16 Chevron Corporation

Driver Manual 300 Internal Combustion Engines

Fig. 300-8 Engine Cylinder Arrangement (From Internal Combustion Engines and Air Pollu-
tion by Edward F. Obert 1968, 1974 by Intext. Used by permission from Harper-
Collins Publishers, Inc.)

the driven equipment. The engine shown in the figure is the Diesel version of the
Figure 300-12 shows an integral compressor-engine. This is a machine that
combines compressor cylinders and engine (or power) cylinders on a common
crankshaft primarily for space savings. The engine- portion of the machine in the
figure is a two-stroke spark-ignited gas engine, in the vee arrangement.

322 Natural Aspiration

In four-stroke engines, the mixture (or air for Diesels) can be drawn into the
cylinder by the downward stroke of the piston during the intake stroke. This occurs
because the cylinder pressure is below atmospheric during the intake stroke. These
engines are called naturally aspirated. A naturally aspirated engine reaches its
maximum load at wide-open throttle, when the cylinder is filled with mixture (or
air) at virtually atmospheric pressure. The output is proportional to the energy
released by burning the mixture at that particular weight or density.

323 Supercharging
If the pressure of the mixture (or air) during the intake stroke (in a four-stroke
engine) could be elevated above atmospheric pressure, its density would be
increased, and the weight of mixture per cycle would be increased. This would
increase engine power without increasing the engine’s physical size. Super-
charging an engine provides a means of elevating the pressure of the intake
mixture above atmospheric pressure.

Chevron Corporation 300-17 October 1989

Fig. 300-9 In-line Engine Arrangement (Courtesy of the Cooper Cameron Corporation)
October 1989

300 Internal Combustion Engines

Chevron Corporation

Driver Manual
Driver Manual 300 Internal Combustion Engines

Fig. 300-10 Vee Engine Arrangement (Courtesy of the Cooper Cameron Corporation)

Fig. 300-11 Opposed Piston Engine (Courtesy of Fair- Fig. 300-12 Integral Compressor Engine (Courtesy of
banks Morse Engine Division) the Howell Training Group)

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300 Internal Combustion Engines Driver Manual

A supercharger is one device used for supercharging an engine. A supercharger is
a shaft-driven blower, usually a “Roots” type blower (straight-lobe rotary blower)
capable of elevating the intake pressure to 2-10 psig. An engine with a supercharger
in the intake is shown in Figure 300-13.

Fig. 300-13 Two-Stroke Cycle Diesel Engine

Superchargers are driven from the engine’s crankshaft by gears, belts, or chains. As
such, they consume a portion of the power that results from their use.

A more efficient means of supercharging is through the use of a turbocharger.
Turbochargers use the energy from the engine’s exhaust instead of shaft horsepower
to drive the blower. They cause a small power loss due to a slight increase in back-
pressure (exhaust pressure loss) on the engine, but the overall effect is a more effi-
cient power increase than provided by superchargers. Most industrial engines
purchased today are supplied with turbochargers. Their benefits are as follows:
• Increased power output
• Higher mechanical efficiency
• Lower specific fuel consumption
• Higher horsepower to weight (and space) ratio
Adding a turbocharger to an engine increases complexity; therefore, users should
expect a slight reduction in reliability and increased maintenance costs over natu-
rally aspirated engines of the same model series. These factors should be consid-
ered during the selection process of projects involving engine drivers. In extreme
cases, turbochargers can be the most frequently repaired component of an engine.

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Driver Manual 300 Internal Combustion Engines

There are two types of turbocharging: pulse and constant-pressure, which are both
used on stationary engines.
Pulse turbocharging uses kinetic energy in the exhaust gases as they leave the
exhaust ports or valves, to drive the turbine wheel. A pulse turbocharger needs to be
located as close to the exhaust ports as possible. Pulse turbochargers are always
engine mounted and integrated into the exhaust manifolding. This type of turbo-
charging provides a relatively fast response to load changes.
Constant-pressure turbocharging provides a slower response to load changes
than the pulse system. The exhaust manifold serves as a pressure receiver. At any
load condition, the turbocharger receives a fairly constant pressure. Thus, it is not
always necessary (by design) to mount the turbocharger on the engine. In larger
engine sizes, the turbochargers are sometimes mounted in a console away from the

Turbo Aftercooling
The intake mixture (or air) temperature is increased by turbocharging due to the
heat of compression. Aftercooling (sometimes called intercooling) is used to cool
the intake gas after passing through the compressor side of the turbocharger.
Cooling the gas increases its density and provides a further power increase.

324 Two-stroke Engine Scavenging

Scavenging has two functions: to push out residual products from the previous
cycle, and to provide the exhaust charge for the next cycle. A simple two cycle
engine has two sets of ports or holes in the cylinder liner that are uncovered by the
piston during the exhaust and intake portions of the strokes. Scavenging air is intro-
duced through the scavenging ports, and exhaust products are released through the
exhaust ports (refer to Figure 300-14).
There are two types of scavenging: loop scavenging and uniflow scavenging.
In loop scavenging, the cylinder’s exhaust and scavenging ports are designed so
that the scavenging air describes a loop towards the upper part of the cylinder. This
is accomplished through open port scavenging (Figures 300-14 and 300-15) or
through controlled port scavenging in which either the exhaust or scavenging
nozzle contains a valve to control flow timing. Controlled port-type loop scav-
enging is shown in Figure 300-16.
In uniflow scavenging, the flow of air is from one end of the cylinder to the other.
This can be achieved by locating the exhaust ports, with valves, in the heads. In this
way flow travels from the scavenging ports to the head, in a fairly straight path. The
pistons in an opposed piston cylinder provide uniflow scavenging with exhaust
ports uncovered by one piston, and intake ports uncovered by the opposing piston
(see Figure 300-17). Most two-stroke engines built today are controlled port loop
scavenged or uniflow scavenged because the more precise control of timing leads to
less fuel loss during scavenging.

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300 Internal Combustion Engines Driver Manual

Fig. 300-14 Open Port-Type Loop Scavenging Exhaust Fig. 300-15 Open Port-Type Loop Scavenging Exhaust
and Scavenging Ports on Opposite Sides and Scavenging Ports on Same Side

Fig. 300-16 Controlled Port-Type Scavenging

325 Turbocharging of Two-stroke Engines

The scavenging air for two-stroke engines usually is pushed into the cylinders by
blowers or turbochargers. Since turbochargers provide little or no pressure boost at
idle or during startup, the air pressure required to scavenge the engine must come
from another source. Several methods have been devised:
• Mechanically-driven reciprocating scavenging compressor in series with the
• Supercharger in series with the turbocharger
• Mechanically-driven turbocharger with an overrunning clutch
• Motor-driven centrifugal compressor for starting only
• Air-start assist to drive the turbocharger turbine wheel through special air jets
in the turbocharger (the most common in large two-stroke engines built today)

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Driver Manual 300 Internal Combustion Engines

Fig. 300-17 Uniflow-Type Scavenging Opposed Piston Engine (Courtesy of Diesel Engine
Manufacturers Association)

• Using the undersides of pistons in a cross-head type engine (see

Sub-section 332) to compress air for starting
Most of these methods incorporate some means of unloading the starting air device
once the turbocharger is activated by exhaust gas energy.

330 Machine Components and Auxiliary Systems

This sub-section discusses the internal components of reciprocating internal
combustion engines and also covers accessory equipment and auxiliary systems.

331 Identification of Components

Figure 300-18 shows a cross-section of an in-line Diesel engine. This figure identi-
fies the major components which are common to both spark and compression igni-
tion engines, as well as some of the accessory components peculiar only to
compression ignition engines. Figure 300-19 shows a cross-section of a vee spark-
ignition engine showing additional components.
The major engine components are:
• Base
• Cylinder block
• Main bearings
• Crankshaft

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Fig. 300-18 Diesel Engine Components (Courtesy of the Cooper Camerson Corporation)

1. subcover-cylinder head 13. cam exhaust 25. air starting valve

2. pushrod-exhaust and intake 14. cover camshaft 26. valves-exhaust and intake
3. fuel-oil header 15. cam bearing, front 27. relief valve
4. cylinder head 16. cam bearing, intermediate 28. exhaust manifold
5. piston 17. camshaft 29. intake manifold
6. cylinder liner 18. side cover, block 30. water manifold
7. fuel-control shaft 19. crankshaft 31. lube-oil header
8. cylinder block 20. main bearing, front 32. intercooler
9. fuel-oil drain header 21. main bearing, intermediate 33. relief door
10. connecting rod 22. main bearing, rear 34. engine base
11. tappet and guide 23. rocker arms
12. connecting-rod bearing 24. cover, cylinder head

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Fig. 300-19 Spark-Ignited Engine Components (Courtesy of the Cooper Cameron Corporation)

• Connecting rods
• Pistons
• Cylinder liners
• Cylinder heads
• Camshaft
• Pushrods
• Rocker arms
• Intake and exhaust valves
• Intake manifold
• Exhaust manifold

Crankshafts are usually one-piece forgings, although provisions are sometimes
made for removable counterweights. Occasionally, crankshafts are cast, and in a
few large engines the crankshafts are two-piece due to extreme length.
Reciprocating machines have two kinds of motion: rotational and reciprocating
(translational). In rotational motion, a rotating force is caused when there is an
unbalanced weight at some distance from the center of rotation. The imbalance
involved in the rotational motion of one crankthrow consists of the weights of the
crankpin, crankshaft webs, and a portion (usually about two-thirds) of the
connecting rod. Counterweights are sometimes used to compensate for the eccen-
tric weights of these components.

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The components involved in translational motion are the piston, piston rod, cross-
head, and the remaining portion (usually about one-third) of the connecting rod. A
fluctuating force results when these parts are accelerated and decelerated as the
piston travels back and forth.
The forces caused by both kinds of motion can be resolved into two sets of forces,
primary and secondary, acting both horizontally and vertically.
Primary forces result from the rotational motion, and their frequency is that of
running speed. Secondary forces result from translational motion, and their
frequency is two times running speed due to the acceleration and deceleration
during each stroke of the piston. Secondary forces act only along the axis of the
In a two throw machine with crank-throws 180 degrees apart, a force couple can be
generated by the unbalanced forces of each cylinder acting in opposite directions
and separated by the distance between throws. Figure 300-20 shows a primary
couple for a two-throw machine with equal reciprocating weights. It also shows
how counterweights can be added to reduce the primary couple.

Fig. 300-20 Crankshaft Counterweights

With more than two throws, the design becomes more complex because the throws
need not be oriented 180 degrees apart (called a “flat” crankshaft). The engine
designer selects the optimum orientation of throws and amount of counterweight to
balance the primary and secondary forces and couples.

Running Gear
The reciprocating parts in an engine can be called the running gear. The running
gear of a single cylinder is shown in Figure 300-21 and includes:
• Crankpin bearing
• Connecting rod

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Fig. 300-21 Trunk-Piston Running Gear

• Piston pin bushing

• Piston pin
• Piston and rings
• Related bolting and hardware
This is the type of running gear found in most reciprocating engines, which is
called a trunk-piston type assembly; the piston is assembled directly onto the
connecting rod. The trunk-piston assembly is single acting with compression/expan-
sion only on the top side of the piston. The force on top of the piston produces
considerable side loads on the cylinder liner due to the angularity of the connecting
A few engines have the crosshead-type running gear shown in Figure 300-22. The
crosshead-type assembly includes these additional parts:
• Crosshead
• Crosshead pin (piston pin is eliminated)
• Crosshead slippers
• Piston rod
The crosshead-type running gear is used to reduce piston side-loads in some high-
speed engines, or when it is desirable to have a double-acting cylinder (compres-
sion of starting air for a two-stroke engine is an example).

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Fig. 300-22 Crosshead Running Gear (Courtesy of the Cooper Cameron Corporation)

Piston and Rings

Pistons are usually castings of aluminum, gray iron, or steel. Since they form one
wall of the combustion chamber, they are exposed to high temperatures. Lubri-
cating oil is sprayed on the underside surfaces of the piston to keep metal tempera-
tures within acceptable limits. The oil is supplied via a rifle drilling through the
center of the connecting rod.
Piston rings seal the space between the piston and the cylinder wall to prevent
blow-by of combustion gases into the crankcase. Piston rings are made of cast iron
because of its good wear resistance. There are usually at least three piston rings:
two upper rings called compression rings and an oil control ring. The compression
rings are solid, and their purpose is to prevent blow-by. The oil control ring is
slotted or drilled, and its purpose is to scrape surplus oil off the cylinder wall and
transfer it back to the reservoir through drainage holes in the piston.

Cylinder and Liner

In some engines the piston rides directly on the walls of the cylinder. However,
most large engine cylinders have cylinder liners fitted into the cylinder block. This
allows replacement of just the liners (and not the entire cylinder block) when the
walls wear beyond acceptable limits. Also, this allows selection of appropriate
materials for both good wear resistance of the liner walls and heat transfer through
the cylinder wall for cooling. Cylinder liners are usually made of gray cast iron for
its good wear resistance.
Cylinders are cooled by water circulated through a water jacket which surrounds
the cylinder. The liner may be either a wet or a dry liner, wet liners being exposed
directly to cooling water on the outside. The advantage of a wet liner is improved
heat transfer because the minute space between the wall of the cylinder block and a

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Driver Manual 300 Internal Combustion Engines

dry liner imposes a resistance to heat transfer. The disadvantage is increased main-
tenance because the wet liner must seal the cooling water jacket.

Camshaft and Valve Mechanism

Intake and exhaust valves are usually poppet-type valves, located in the cylinder
head. The control flow of intake and exhaust gases is through ports in the head. The
valves are opened and closed at the proper times by the valve mechanism shown in
Figure 300-23 which includes:
• Camshaft
• Cam followers (or lifters)
• Pushrods
• Rocker arms
• Valve guides
• Valve springs
• Valves
• Valve seats
• Bolting and hardware

Fig. 300-23 Typical Valve Mechanism

Camshafts provide the proper timing and duration of valve openings and closings
through the orientation and shape of the cams (or lobes). Camshafts are crankshaft
driven, by timing gears or timing belts. They are usually machined and ground steel
forgings, and the cams are usually surface hardened.

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332 Accessory Equipment

Engines include several systems to support their operation. Several of these systems
are discussed in the following paragraphs:
• Turbochargers
• Gas fuel system
• Liquid fuel system
• Ignition system
• Lube system
• Cooling system
• Starting system

As discussed earlier, turbocharging is now the most common means of providing
combustion air for two-stroke engines and for increasing air density for four-stroke
engines. Figure 300-24 shows a typical turbocharger for an industrial engine.
Turbochargers are really two machines mounted on a single shaft. Mounted on one
end of the shaft is a single-stage centrifugal (radial) air blower. The other end is an
exhaust-gas expansion turbine. As a stand-alone machine, turbochargers are fairly
sophisticated. They operate at high rotating speeds, have exotic wheel materials and
coatings for elevated temperatures and high tip-speeds, and are very compact.

Gas Fuel System

There are two types of gas fuel systems for stationary gas engines: the carbureted
gas fuel system, and the injected gas fuel system (gas as in a gaseous fuel such as
natural gas).
Carburetors or mixing valves can be used successfully on most naturally aspirated
four-stroke engines and on some turbocharged four-stroke engines. The fuel system
• Strainer
• Pressure regulator
• Manual gas cock
• Safety shut-off and vent valve
• Carburetor (or mixing valve)
• Gas header
In the carbureted system, the gas and air are mixed in the carburetor, and the gas
header contains a fuel/air mixture which is supplied to each engine cylinder.
The primary purpose of a carburetor is to mix fuel in the correct proportions to
support combustion. The carburetor shown in Figure 300-25 is for mixing gasoline
and air, which is why it includes a fuel reservoir. A carburetor for a gas fuel works
the same in principle, but includes a gas nozzle instead of the main jet and liquid
reservoir shown in the figure.

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Fig. 300-24 Turbocharger (Courtesy of Fairbanks Morse Engine Division)

Fig. 300-25 Simple Carburetor

The secondary purpose of the carburetor is to control the rate of fuel/air mixture
supplied to the engine, ultimately controlling engine power. This is accomplished
by a speed-control governor (discussed in Sub-section 364), which senses engine

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speed and operates the throttle valve at the base of the carburetor. Carburetors are
common on small to moderate sized four-cycle gas engines.
Most two-stroke engines and some four-stroke engines utilize injected gas fuel
systems. Injected fuel systems are used in most two-stroke engines because the
timing of fuel intake can be controlled more accurately, avoiding fuel loss during
the scavenging portion of the cycle.
Figure 300-26 shows an injected fuel system. This system differs from carbureted
systems in that the fuel and air are not mixed outside the engine; fuel only is
injected directly into each cylinder through injection valves. The fuel and air mix in
the cylinder as a result of turbulence of the incoming air during the intake portion
of the cycle. The speed control governor operates a gas regulating valve instead of
the throttle valve in the carbureted system.

Fig. 300-26 Injected Gas-Fuel System (Courtesy of the Cooper Camerson Corporation)

The safety shut-off and vent valve is an important part of all gas engine fuel
systems. These valves close on signal failure and shut-off supply of fuel to the
engine immediately upon engine shutdown for any reason. As a minimum, this
valve will close upon loss of ignition, low fuel header pressure, and during any
engine shutdown sequence.

Liquid Fuel System

Liquid fuel systems are required for compression-ignition (Diesel) engines which
burn Diesel fuel, heavy fuel-oils, or crude oils. Fuel supplied to Diesel engines is
injected directly into the cylinders at high pressure. An injection pump (or pumps)

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supplies fuel to an injector at each cylinder which atomizes the fuel for combustion
in the cylinder.
Upstream of the injection pump(s) lies a system which is much more complex than
for gas systems due to storage and cleaning requirements. Figure 300-27 shows a
typical heavy-oil fuel system for a large stationary engine. The following elements
may be needed in liquid fuel systems dependent on the fuel characteristics and
storage requirements:
• Storage tank(s)
• Transfer pumps
• Header(s)
• Day tank
• Light-oil day tank
• Centrifuge
• Primary filter
• Secondary filter
• Flow meter
• Supply pumps
A good reference for fuel system requirements and fuel characteristics is the Diesel
Engine Manufacturers Association Handbook of standard practices for stationary

Ignition System
The purpose of the ignition system is to supply a high voltage pulse of electricity to
cause a spark to jump across the gap of a spark plug in each cylinder, at the correct
timing to support combustion. Spark-ignited engines need an ignition system to
supply the spark which initiates combustion in the cylinders.
There are two types of ignition systems which are used to produce the voltage
required at the spark plugs. These are the magneto ignition and the coil and distrib-
utor ignition systems. The coil and distributor ignition system is more commonly
used in stationary engines.
A simple coil and distributor system for an automotive engine is shown in
Figure 300-28. The main components consist of:
• Power supply (battery)
• Coil
• Breaker and condenser
• Distributor
• Spark plugs
There are two circuits in this system: the primary and secondary circuits. The low
voltage primary circuit includes the power supply, low voltage side of the coil and
breaker and condenser. The breaker is operated by a shaft-driven cam which causes
the points to open and close once for each cylinder per cycle. Thus, the primary

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Fig. 300-27 Liquid Fuel Systems—Fuel Oil
October 1989 300-34 Chevron Corporation
Driver Manual 300 Internal Combustion Engines

Fig. 300-28 Ignition System (From Internal Combustion Engines and Air Pollution by Edward
F. Obert 1968, 1974 by Intext. Used by permission from HarperCollins
Publishers, Inc.)

circuit induces a current surge in the high voltage side of the coil once for each
cylinder every cycle.
The secondary circuit includes the high voltage side of the coil, the distributor and
the spark plugs. The distributor distributes the current pulses to the spark plugs in
the proper sequence (called the firing order).
The ignition system described above is classified as a high-tension ignition system
because the distribution of current pulses occurs in the high voltage secondary
circuit. In a low-tension ignition system, the distributor is in the low voltage
primary circuit, and each cylinder has its own ignition coil. Thus, there is a
secondary circuit for each cylinder. Low-tension ignition systems are usually speci-
fied for stationary engines because they provide increased reliability, and they
conform more readily to hazardous area classifications.
In principle, the ignition systems on stationary engines work the same as automo-
tive systems. However, the hardware is slightly different. Ignition systems are low-
tension, the primary circuit is solid state (eliminates the mechanical distributor and
breaker) and the power supply is an alternator/regulator or a magneto. An example
of such a system is the Altronic II ignition system for low speed engines shown in
Figure 300-29. Altronic manufactures a similar system for moderate and high-
speed engines called the Altronic III.
A number of gas engines in gas compression services are installed in Class I, Group
D, Division 2 electrical area classification. A requirement of this classification is
shielded ignition systems including shielded secondary circuits. However, engines
are usually installed with unshielded ignition systems because shielded secondaries
are unreliable. Shielded secondary leads can reduce available voltage at the spark
plug to less than 60% of the coil output. This reduces firing reliability and increases
plug fouling, therefore reducing plug life. Installing unshielded ignition systems is
backed by a great deal of field experience, and the Company’s Fire Protection
Manual allows this exception to the area classification.

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Fig. 300-29 Solid-State Low-Tension Ignition System (Courtesy of Altronic, Inc.)

Lube-oil System
The lubricating oil in a reciprocating engine not only lubricates the moving parts,
but provides an important cooling function. The flow rate of oil through the engine
is governed by the amount of heat to be removed. A typical engine lube-oil system
is shown in Figure 300-30. This system is very similar to systems supplied with
reciprocating compressors.
Engines are usually supplied with standard general-purpose lube systems. These
systems may or may not provide the level of reliability or availability sought after
in petrochemical application. The following additional items may be added to the
simple system shown in Figure 300-30:
• Emergency (spare) lube pump
• Duplex filter with transfer valve
• Duplex cooler with transfer valve
• Stand-by heater

Fig. 300-30 Lubrication System

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Cooling System
Engine cooling water systems remove heat from the engine jacket, lube-oil, and
from air intercoolers (if used). Engine cooling water systems are usually closed-
loop systems, separate for each engine. A typical cooling water system is shown in
Figure 300-31. In this system, a 50-50 glycol/water solution is circulated in a
closed loop and heat is rejected through a heat exchanger to a cooling tower. An
alternative to the heat exchanger and tower is an air-cooled heat exchanger. Fin-fans
are used on large engines, whereas a simple radiator with an engine driven (by belt-
drive) fan can be used on smaller engines.

Fig. 300-31 Cooling Water System

Starting System
Starting systems for stationary engines can be electric, pneumatic, or hydraulic.
Electric starters are usually limited to smaller engines due to size and starting
torque capability.
The most popular starter is the air motor. High-pressure air expanded across an air
motor causes it to rotate and provide enough torque to drive the engine flywheel.
The flywheel has a ring-gear around its circumference. Today, air motors can be
utilized to start even the largest engines by using multiple motors to provide the
torque required.
When available, it is preferable to use air from a plant utility air system. In some
installations, plant air pressure is not high enough or is not available. In such cases,
the installation will include a separate starting air system with compressor(s) and
receiver vessel(s). Air pressure in the range of 90-125 psi is usually required for air
start. In some remote gas producing locations, gas is used instead of air for pneu-
matic starting.

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In some older engines, starting air is applied directly to the engine cylinders to
initiate crankshaft rotation before firing. These systems require starting air mani-
folding and controls which are designed and supplied by the engine manufacturer.
These systems were generally supplied before large high-torque air start motors
became commercially available.

340 Selection Criteria

When a new engine driver is purchased, it is important to evaluate the present
worth of the overall project for a chosen life cycle. The analysis should include
energy costs and all other known operating costs as well as the initial project costs.
This analysis may need to include other types of drivers.
In addition to the cost analysis, the technical merits of the proposed machines must
be evaluated, to include the following:
• Engine load ratings
• Running speed and piston speed
• Brake mean effective pressure
• Fuel consumption
• Emissions performance
• Lateral and torsional analysis
• Reliability/availability
• Usual applications

341 Engine Load Ratings

Load ratings are the first consideration in a technical evaluation of engines. The
engine must supply enough shaft horsepower to drive the driven machine at the
design power level.
Engine manufacturers use different levels of conservatism in their quoted engine
ratings. This can create difficulty when comparing alternative engines. Also, engine
load capability varies with ambient conditions and amount of accessory load driven
by the crankshaft.
The Diesel Engine Manufacturers Association (DEMA) engine rating provides a
way to compare quoted ratings. Engine specifications should require manufacturers
to quote the DEMA rating for their engine, which is the maximum continuous duty
rating at the load coupling. This rating is to be quoted in addition to the manufac-
turer’s design or site rating. The DEMA rating implies that an output 10% greater
can be safely applied in two hours out of any 24 consecutive hours. The DEMA
rating is based on the following operating conditions:
• Manufacturers rated speed
• Altitude of 1500 feet
• Intake air temperature of 90°F
• Intake air barometric pressure of 28.25 inches Hg

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• Manufacturer’s specified exhaust back pressure

• Heating value of liquid fuel 18,190 BTU per pound (LHV)
• Heating value of gas fuel 900 BTU per scf (LHV)
Obviously, the site conditions will probably not be the same as the conditions the
DEMA rating is based on. However, the DEMA rating can be reduced and
compared to the manufacturer’s site rating by applying several factors based on:
• Altitude
• Temperature
• Supercharging and inlet air cooling effects
• Accessory loads
• Fuels
• Company derating factor

Altitude Factor
The power an engine can deliver is reduced as atmospheric pressure decreases
because the air density is lower, and therefore the quantity of oxygen for combus-
tion is reduced. For naturally aspirated engines, the curve in Figure 300-32 provides
derating factors for installations above 1500 feet elevation.

Fig. 300-32 Load Rating Reduction for High Elevations—Naturally Aspirated Engines

Temperature Factor
Elevated temperature also causes a reduction in engine power due to decreased air
density. The curve in Figure 300-33 provides derating factors to be applied to the
DEMA rating, for inlet air temperatures exceeding 90°F. The factors can be applied
to naturally aspirated engines.

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Fig. 300-33 Load Rating Reduction for Elevated Inlet Temperature—Naturally Aspirated

Supercharging and Inlet Air Cooling Effects

Supercharging and inlet air cooling allows engines to operate at temperatures above
90°F and at elevations above 1500 feet without derating, or at least with smaller
derating factors. Derating factors for these engines are available only through the
manufacturer. When supercharged or inlet air cooled engines are quoted for high
elevations or high ambient temperatures, the capability of the supercharger (turbo-
charger) and air cooler should be reviewed with the manufacturer to be certain that
an appropriate de- rating factor has been applied.

Accessory Loads
The manufacturer’s standard and DEMA ratings usually include the standard
engine accessory loads for the quoted engine model. Accessory loads may include
the main oil pump, jacket water pump, ignition alternator or magneto, and radiator
fan. The engineer should determine the horsepower required for each accessory
device, and compare the total required with the standard accessory load included in
the rating. If the total accessory load exceeds the standard accessory load, the
balance should be used to reduce the DEMA rating.

The fuel heating value assumed for the DEMA rating corresponds to standard distil-
late and commercial grade natural gas. If the specified engine will burn fuels signifi-
cantly different, a fuel derating factor may need to be applied to the DEMA rating.
The manufacturer should be consulted for an appropriate factor.

Company Derating Factor

The Company derating factor is recommended for increased reliability, or to
compensate for lack of conservatism of some manufacturers (when known).
Company machinery specialists can be consulted to develop an appropriate derating

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Driver Manual 300 Internal Combustion Engines

factor. Company specifications often include a derating factor of 80-95% to be

applied after all other factors have been applied.

Once the DEMA rating has been derated by all factors (including the Company
derating factor), the resultant rating can be compared to the manufacturer’s quoted
site rating. If the resultant rating is lower than the quoted site rating, the manufac-
turer has misrepresented the capability of the engine, and a requote may be in order.

342 Running Speed and Piston Speed

Running speed limits are often set in Company specifications. Industrial gas
engines are available in the following nominal running speed classes:
• 350 RPM
• 600 RPM
• 1000 RPM
• 1200 RPM
Engines in lower speed classes generally cannot compete with engines in higher
speed classes because engine size increases as speed decreases for a given horse-
power. However, reliability of engines generally increases as speed decreases. For
these reasons, it is unreasonable to write specifications that allow several speed
classes, and a maximum allowable running speed is usually specified. In the case of
packaged high-speed compressors (utilizing 1000-1200 RPM engines) a 900 RPM
limit can produce a significant increase in machinery reliability.
Piston speed limits are sometimes specified instead of, or in addition to running
speed limits. Average piston speed is calculated:

N p = --------
(Eq. 300-12)
Np = average piston speed, feet per minute
N = running speed, revolutions per minute
S = piston stroke, feet
Specifying running speed limits alone, without piston speed limits, is recommended
for reciprocating engines. In theory, specifying a piston speed limit instead of a
running speed limit allows a less biased comparison of alternative engines because
piston speed encompasses both stroke and running speed in the equation. Engines
with higher running speeds would have shorter strokes and vice-versa. However,
engines are designed with standard running speeds and strokes, making running
speed comparisons sufficient for evaluations. Also, maximum allowable piston
speeds do not place limits on critical engine components outside the cylinder such

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as the crankshaft and valve mechanism. The reliability of these components is unre-
lated to stroke, and only a function of running speed.

343 Brake Mean Effective Pressure

Brake mean effective pressure (BMEP) is a factor that characterizes the amount of
pressure the cylinders are designed for (see Sub-section 317). BMEP limits are
sometimes specified to obtain conservatively rated engines. This was more preva-
lent years ago when naturally aspirated engines were commonly supplied. Today,
BMEP limits can lead to unfair comparisons because the level of turbocharging
varies between manufacturers, and because certain engine designs require high
BMEP’s for low NOx production. Therefore, specifying arbitrary BMEP limits is
no longer recommended.

344 Fuel Consumption

The predominant operating cost for reciprocating engines is for fuel. Fuel costs
must be evaluated to do a complete evaluation of alternative engines. Fuel consump-
tion guarantees should be required of the vendor at 50, 75, and 100% of rated (site)
load. For gas fuels the fuel consumption should be quoted in BTU per brake horse-
power-hour (BTU/BHP-hr), based on the lower heating valve of the fuel. Fuel
consumption in pounds per brake horsepower-hour (lb/BHP-hr) is quoted for liquid

345 Emissions Performance

Emissions performance of engines is gaining increasing importance in technical
evaluations, in some cases to the extent of being the predominant consideration.
Emissions of nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and non-methane hydrocarbons
can be evaluated when quoted as brake specific emissions levels in grams per brake
horsepower-hour (gms/BHP-hr). Refer to Sub-section 370 for more information.

346 Lateral and Torsional Analysis

Rotating shafts have both lateral and torsional critical speeds. A so-called critical
speed occurs when the frequency of an exciting force is at or near one of the natural
frequencies of the rotor system. This is called resonance and can result in lateral or
torsional vibration. Excessive vibration can cause problems ranging from just being
a nuisance to causing major component failures in the machinery train. Refer to the
General Machinery Manual for a more detailed discussion of rotordynamics.
When designing machinery and assembling equipment trains, it is necessary to
analyze the system to design a train that will not have excessive vibrations in the
field. This is a responsibility of the vendor or manufacturer, but it is sometimes not
given proper attention. As a result, users often require lateral and/or torsional anal-
ysis reports, for review and comment, to motivate the vendor to give it adequate

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Lateral Analysis
Reciprocating engines are mass-produced well-proven designs, which operate in a
fixed speed-range and are usually flexibly-coupled to the driven equipment. As
such, it is usually not necessary to require vendors to supply a job-specific lateral
critical speed analysis; the manufacturer should be able to cite the lateral critical
speeds upon request, and his experience should be sufficient to convince the user
that the equipment can run free of harmful or excessive lateral vibrations. Excep-
tions to this are new engine designs without field experience and equipment trains
where the driven equipment is engine-mounted (rigidly-coupled to the engine).
Engine-mounted equipment trains act as a single shaft, and are usually unique
designs with respect to lateral effects. In these two cases the user should require the
vendor to provide a lateral analysis.

Torsional Analysis
Unlike lateral vibration, torsional vibration is an insidious phenomenon that can
occur with little or no visible evidence. It takes very special instrumentation to
detect torsional vibration. Torsional vibration problems are usually not discovered
until a major component failure occurs. The same logic does not apply to engines
with respect to torsional analysis. Reciprocating engines by their nature produce
strong exciting forces, and have several orders of torsional critical speeds some of
which often occur in or near the operating-speed range. Thus, there is ample poten-
tial for torsional vibration problems, and requiring the vendor to supply a torsional
analysis is usually justified. Unlike the lateral analysis, a torsional analysis is not
extremely complicated and produces results that are generally quite reliable.
In reciprocating engines, harmful torsional vibrations can usually be avoided by
tuning the stiffness of the coupling(s) in the train or by changing the mass moment
of inertia of components (usually the engine flywheel) in the system. In some cases
a resilient damping-type coupling or a torsional damper can be applied in the
design to avoid harmful vibrations. Torsional analysis is a tool used to evaluate the
need for these devices in the design phase.
There are two types of engine-driven trains that deserve special attention with
respect to torsional vibration: those with gearboxes, or those with synchronous
generators. Gearboxes can stimulate torsional vibration due to manufacturing imper-
fections, and are often the victim of torsional vibration if the torque variation is
sufficient to cause tooth separation in the gear mesh. In synchronous generators, the
torque oscillations can cause harmful current pulsations in the electrical system.

347 Reliability and Availability

The level of availability required for an installation is primarily dependent on the
process needs of the driven equipment. Once this is understood, the reliability of
the equipment components in the machinery train can be evaluated, and the amount
of equipment sparing can be determined. A method of evaluating equipment reli-
ability is available in Appendix L of the Compressor Manual.
The reliability of reciprocating engines is generally lower than for other types of
drivers. The reciprocating forces and vibrations generally result in lower reliability

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than can be received from rotating machines. Engines also require routine mainte-
nance which requires downtime. Routine maintenance includes oil changes, spark
plug changes, and cylinder internal inspections, etc.

348 Usual Applications

Reciprocating engines have several usual applications. Usual applications for diesel
engines in the 100-800 BHP and 700-1800 RPM range include:
• Stand-by emergency generators
• Stand-by fire water pumps
• Low-speed, high starting-torque, and intermittent applications on offshore plat-
• Mobile equipment
Usual applications for larger and slower-speed diesel engines include:
• Moderate sized primary power generators for remote sites
• Heavy fuel-oil and crude burning applications
• Marine propulsion
Natural gas engines are usually used in the following applications:
• Gas compression, both onshore and offshore
• Small to moderate sized cogeneration applications (usually for office buildings)
• Low BTU gas applications
• Primary power in early and marginal production systems

350 System Considerations

This sub-section covers engineering considerations for engine support systems as
• Gas fuel requirements
• Inlet air filtration
• Exhaust requirements
• Lube-oil consumption
• Mounting requirements
• Driven equipment considerations
• Weather protection

351 Gas Fuel Requirements

Industrial gas engines are designed for a specific range of gas fuels. Composition
and lower heating value are important parameters to the engine designer. The lower
heating value of the gas affects the rating of the engine’s design (refer to

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Sub-section 341). The fuel composition is important in design because it limits the
compression ratio due to auto-ignition characteristics of the fuel and because it can
limit the life of cylinder components due to corrosion.
See Figure 300-34 for the limits of constituents in natural gas fuels, based on
engine design. These limits are prescribed by the DEMA. Gaseous fuels with
components exceeding these limits can sometimes be used with satisfactory results
when given special consideration by the engine manufacturer. When the content of
hydrogen sulfide exceeds the limit shown in Figure 300-34, the user should expect
lower life from cylinder components due to accelerated corrosion rates.

Fig. 300-34 Natural Gas Fuel Constituents For Gas Engines as Prescribed by the DEMA
Component Chemical Formula Percentage by Volume
Nitrogen N2 10% Max
Oxygen O2 1% Max
Carbon Dioxide CO2 5% Max
Hydrogen H2 3% Max
Methane CH4 70% Max
Ethane C2H6 10% Max
Propane C3H8 3% Max
Butane C4H10 0.8% Max
Pentanes and Higher C5H12+ 2.5% Max
Hydrogen Sulfide H2S 20 Grains Per 100 Cu. Ft. Max

352 Inlet Air System

Engines operating near the stoichiometric air/fuel ratio consume about 2 to 5 cubic
feet of air per minute per rated horsepower. The important design aspects of the
inlet air system are:
• Manufacturer’s allowable pressure drop
• Filtration
• Noise attenuation
• Cooling
The intake air system consists of:
• Inlet hood
• Filter
• Silencer (if required)
• Cooler (optional)
• Interconnecting piping

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The maximum allowable pressure drop permitted by the manufacturer determines

the sizing of the air system components. The maximum allowable pressure drop is
usually about 6 to 10 inches of water column, apportioned to the components as
• Filter 35%
• Silencer 25%
• Piping 25%
• Entrance loss 15%

The air filter removes airborne solid particles that can cause engine wear and
increased maintenance.
Therefore, it is the most important component to select. Also, choose a filter that
will not cause an excessive pressure drop in the fouled condition, as well as one that
is appropriate for the ambient conditions (level of dust, moisture, etc.)
There are three types of filters generally applied on reciprocating engines:
• Dry media
• Viscous impingment
• Oil bath
The dry media and viscous impingment types are most common because of their
lower cost. They contain replaceable or cleanable elements, and maintenance is
required when the pressure drop increases to an unacceptable level. They are best
applied in low-dust applications. Both types of filters are available as complete
units with inlet screen and louvres for indoor installation, or as components for wall
openings or site constructed filter houses.
For dusty applications, an oil-bath filter may be more appropriate. Although more
expensive, they are generally more efficient in dust removal and require less
frequent maintenance. Oil-bath filters are usually supplied complete for indoor or
outdoor installation and include weather shield, inlet screens, and outlet plenum.

Intake silencers may be required for noise attenuation. Their selection is dependent
on the allowable noise limit at the site and the pressure drop permitted. The type of
air filter may have an effect on silencer selection (oil bath filters provide consider-
able noise attenuation). Silencers should be located as close as possible to the
engine for best attenuation. The intake silencer and exhaust silencer should be
provided by the same vendor where strict enforcement of noise limits is involved
because it is difficult to discriminate between intake and exhaust noise in the field.
Using the same vendor for both may avoid warranty problems should the noise
limits be exceeded.

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Intake Cooling
Occasionally, engines in high ambient temperature applications are supplied with
evaporative coolers in the inlet system to cool the air by humidification. This works
best in hot dry climates. Evaporative coolers require a supply of soft water to mini-
mize solid deposition on the cooling pads. Cooler size is established by its ability to
cool air from the peak expected temperature and dew point to the desired tempera-
ture and to avoid carry-over of water droplets in the air stream.

Intake Piping
Intake piping should be of sufficient size so as not to exceed the maximum allow-
able pressure drop for the air flow rate at 110% engine load. Air intake piping is
normally mounted separately, either free standing or mounted to structural elements
of the engine house or building. The piping will include a flexible connector(s) near
the engine (or at the turbocharger) to relieve the engine (or turbocharger) of any
undue stresses and to help prevent transmission of vibration from the engine to the
intake piping support structure.

353 Exhaust System

The purpose of the exhaust system is to safely release engine exhaust to the atmo-
sphere. Its primary function is to:
• Disperse exhaust gases
• Attenuate noise of escaping gases
• Quench and remove sparks
The exhaust system must perform these functions while keeping the back pressure
on the engine to a minimum, usually limited to no more than 10 inches of water
The components of the exhaust system include:
• Exhaust silencer/spark arrestor
• Piping
• Flexible connector(s)
The exhaust system may also include an emissions conversion device or heat
exchange equipment for waste heat recovery.

Exhaust silencers are usually required to keep the noise of escaping exhaust gas
below the maximum acceptable limit at the site. These silencers normally incorpo-
rate a baffle or cyclone chamber to quench sparks and remove solids. Locate the
exhaust silencer so it prevents recirculation of gases back to the air system intake
and prevents heat transfer by radiation to the intake system components.
In some rare applications, it may be necessary to consider installing a flame arrestor
in an engine’s exhaust system to prevent flame propagation into the exhaust system
during upsets. Examples of engine systems that may need this protection are those

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that have particularly long exhaust lines, large exhaust systems common to several
engines, and heat recovery systems with large volume.

Flexible Connectors
Corrugated stainless steel expansion joints are installed at the engine exhaust mani-
fold outlet flange or the turbocharger outlet. Their purpose is to compensate for the
considerable thermal expansion in the exhaust piping, and also to limit transmission
of vibration to piping supports and structural elements of the building.

354 Lube-oil Consumption

DEMA Standard Practices suggests that engine manufacturers provide purchasers
with an estimated lube-oil consumption rate. These rates are normally reported in
units of gallons per horsepower-hour (gal/hp-hr). The manufacturer’s estimate is
based on a new engine with a “tight” lube-oil system. As such, users can expect the
consumption rate to be a little higher.
Manufacturer’s estimated lube-oil consumption rates will vary from about one
gallon every 3000 HP-hr to one gallon every 15,000 HP-hr. For example, a 1000
HP engine that consumes one gallon every 5000 HP- hr will consume one gallon in
five hours, or about five gallons per day.

355 Mounting Considerations

Reciprocating engines produce forces and moments that are transmitted to the
machine’s foundation. These forces and moments are generated by unbalanced
rotating masses, unbalanced reciprocating masses, and torque (also torque oscilla-
tions) between the engine and driven equipment.
The magnitudes and frequencies of the forces and moments must be provided by
the engine manufacturer so that a foundation can be designed to support them.
Foundation design is usually the responsibility of the user, although the vendor can
usually provide guidance on the appropriate mass and base area from previous
projects. The natural frequency of the foundation should be at least 30% above or
below the frequency of exciting forces from the unbalanced reciprocating and
rotating masses, and any torsional natural frequencies. Refer to the Civil and Struc-
tural Manual for detailed foundation design information.
Engines are generally mounted to their foundations by two means:
• Soleplate (rail) mounted
• Skid mounted
Generally the larger low-speed engines are mounted on soleplates, and smaller
higher-speed engines are skid mounted with driver and auxiliaries.
In soleplate mounting, there is an air space between the engine base and the founda-
tion. Soleplates are grouted into the foundation at foundation bolt locations. Steel or
epoxy chock blocks are then installed between the engine base and the soleplates.
Chock blocks prevent distortion of the engine frame, and are used to align the

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engine with the driven machine. Epoxy grout is recommended for all reciprocating
machinery foundations because of its superior strength, oil resistance, and low
shrinkage. See the General Machinery Manual for machinery foundation grouting
Skid mounting is practical for small and moderately sized units. Skids are normally
designed of sufficient strength and rigidity to withstand the torque between the
engine and driven machine and to maintain alignment. There are several advantages
to skid mounting:
• Field installation labor and time are reduced
• Space requirements are reduced
• Single point responsibility of the package is maintained
• Factory tests of the entire unit can be performed
• Auxiliaries are integrated and factory assembled
• Costs are usually reduced
• Foundations are somewhat simplified
The primary disadvantage of equipment skids is they seldom meet Company stan-
dards for safety and operability.

356 Driven Equipment Considerations

Many applications require the engine to have a flywheel to reduce the torque varia-
tion that results from the power strokes from each cylinder. Engine manufacturers
are responsible for analyzing the requirements and selecting a flywheel of the
appropriate size and type. This is done through a torsional analysis (see
Sub-section 346).
Driven machines are usually coupled to engines using a flexible coupling (gear-
type or torsionally-soft), or they are “engine mounted” directly to the engine
flywheel. Machines that are engine mounted usually do not have an inboard bearing
and they rely on the engine main bearings for lateral support.
Occasionally, torsional analysis for an engine application will determine that a
torsionally-soft coupling is required. A torsionally-soft coupling has torsional flexi-
bility that dampens the torque variation to reduce transmission to the driven equip-
ment. It is usually required when the torsional study shows that the system will
operate close to resonance if it is torsionally stiff. Therefore, the torsionally-soft
coupling is used to tune the system. A commonly used torsionally-soft coupling is
manufactured by Holsett.

357 Weather Protection

Although engines can be successfully installed outdoors and unprotected, they are
usually installed at least partially enclosed in some type of housing. The housing
protects instruments and the ignition system from the weather, provides cover for
maintenance personnel, and a structure from which heavier engine components
may be lifted. Most installations will incorporate a beam crane for lifting. Most

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housings for compressor installations are structural steel enclosures consisting of a

roof and three sides, the open side facing away from the prevailing winds. The open
side gives ample ventillation to prevent hazardous accumulation of gas.
Housings for generating sets are normally more substantial. They are usually rein-
forced concrete structures designed for operating personnel comfort, maintenance
access, future expansion requirements, noise attenuation, and a pleasing external
appearance. The DEMA Standard Practices provides guidance on the layout and
design of these structures.

360 Instrumentation and Controls

This sub-section discusses typical instrumentation and controls found in recipro-
cating engine installations. The topics covered include:
• Indicators
• Alarms and shutdowns
• Speed controls
• Air/fuel ratio controls

361 Indicators, Alarms and Shutdowns

Each auxiliary system in an engine installation must be monitored to ensure accept-
able operation. Engine vendors usually will provide most of the indicators and
switches needed as standard features. Use Figure 300-35 as a guide for purchasing
typical indicators, alarms and shutdowns.
On spark-ignited gas engines, each shutdown signal from the engine or auxiliaries
initiates a shutdown sequence. This sequence is always the same: the fuel is shutoff,
then the ignition is grounded after a time delay. The manual shutdown should
initiate the same sequence. Note that engine-alarm-panel manufacturers and users
commonly classify alarms as follows:

Sensor Functions
• Class A—functions monitored continuously from startup
• Class B—functions disarmed at startup for a pre-determined selectable length
of time
• Class C—functions disarmed at startup until the sensor first normalizes

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Fig. 300-35 Typical Reciprocating Engine Instrumentation

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362 Crankcase Relief

Crankcase explosions sometimes occur in industrial gas engines. These explosions
occur when a localized hot spot ignites the oil-mist or fuel from cylinder leakage in
the crankcase. These explosions can case personnel injury and property damage.
This problem is treated by installing properly designed and selected explosion relief
devices on the crankcase to prevent overpressure to the point of failure.
The British Internal Combustion Research Association (BICERA) has developed a
crankcase explosion relief valve which has the following features:
• Provides adequate flow area which limits overpressure to 25 to 30 psi
• Incorporates a flame trap to prevent flames from exiting the crankcase
• Closes rapidly to prevent additional air from entering the crankcase, thus
preventing secondary explosions
• Incorporates a downward directed aperture away from an individual’s face
• Incorporates an automatic engine shutdown device as an option
In the United States, these explosion relief devices are manufactured by the Penn-
Troy Machine Company of Troy, PA.
Crankcases normally operate at nearly atmospheric pressure, consequently, the
energy available in an explosion is limited. The maximum attainable pressure in an
explosion is around 120 psig. Therefore, any crankcase which cannot withstand 120
psig should be protected with an explosion relief device. Both BICERA and the
American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) provide application guidelines for explosion
relief devices. The ABS guideline requires devices on all engines with pistons
larger than eight inches, or with crankcase volumes greater than 21 cubic feet. The
BICERA guideline provides a sizing criteria of one-and-a-half square inches of
relief area per cubic foot of crankcase volume.
Crankcase explosion relief devices are highly recommended on two-cycle gas
engines. Company experience with the two-cycle engines has shown that these
engines can accumulate hazardous concentrations of gas in the crankcase and need
the explosion relief devices as a safety feature.
Explosion relief devices are recommended on large four-cycle integral compressor
engines. Gas accumulation in the crankcase is unlikely but possible in these
engines, and the cost of the devices is very small compared to the overall
machinery cost.
Explosion relief devices may not be necessary on four-cycle, high-speed, separable
compressor engines. Accumulation of gas in these engines is very unlikely, the
engines are usually in remote locations.

363 Speed Controls

Reciprocating engines in petrochemical applications are usually installed with
constant speed (isochronous) control governors. The governor maintains constant

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speed by adjusting the fuel throttle valve or rack to match the engine to the load
requirement. For example, an increase in load (which would tend to decrease
speed) is sensed by the governor, which opens the throttle to compensate for the
load change and maintains constant speed.
For variable speed applications (such as compressor drives), isochronous control is
still usually appropriate. In these applications, the governor accepts a pneumatic or
electronic signal that is proportional to some process variable (e.g., pressure) and
changes the governor set point.
Two types of governors normally are used on engines: mechanical-hydraulic and
electronic. Mechanical-hydraulic governors sense speed with a mechanically driven
centrifugal mechanism which controls a hydraulic shaft-positioning system. Elec-
tronic governors use a magnetic pick-up on a rotating shaft to sense speed and send
a control signal to a separate engine-mounted actuator.
Several factors must be considered prior to selecting an appropriate governor:
• Availability of electricity at the engine site
• Other engine functions to be performed requiring special features
• Speed control precision required
• Economic considerations
• Reliability and local preferences
• Type of application—mechanical drive or generator drive
Figure 300-36 provides guidance on selection of Woodward Governor Company
governors for engine applications. Another governor manufacturer the Company
has limited experience with is Tri-Sen Systems, Inc.

364 Air/Fuel Ratio Controllers

Air/fuel ratio controllers are sometimes used on gas engines for precise control of
the engine’s charge mixture at varying loads, or to allow operators to select the
desired air/fuel ratio. The controllers are usually used for exhaust emissions
control, but may also be used to select air/fuel ratios corresponding with optimal
power or fuel economy.
Controllers are usually microprocessor based and receive a signal from CO2 and/or
O2 sensors in the exhaust stream. Based on exhaust concentrations, the controller
meters either fuel flow or air flow to the engine to maintain the air/fuel ratio setting.
Air/fuel ratio controllers are manufactured by several vendors, and by several
engine manufacturers specifically for their engine model series.

370 Emissions Control

This sub-section reviews the by-products of the combustion process and the funda-
mentals of nitrogen oxide reduction. Emissions control strategies and federal regula-
tions for reciprocating gas engines are discussed, in addition to emissions testing.

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Fig. 300-36 Woodward Governors For Reciprocating Engine Applications

371 Exhaust Gas Emissions

The combustion process in reciprocating engines produces several by-products that
are considered pollutants. These include:
• Oxides of nitrogen (NOx)
• Carbon monoxide (CO)
• Non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC)
• Oxides of sulfur (SOx)
These by-products are formed at varying levels, dependent on the operating parame-
ters of the engine. Solid particulates from engine exhaust are also considered pollut-
ants. Particulate emissions such as ash are a by-product of combustion of dirtier or
heavier fuels such as fuel oils and combustion of lubricating oil.
Only the non-methane portion of the total measured hydrocarbon emissions are
considered pollutants. This is because methane is considered photochemically inert
with the other pollutants and compounds in the atmosphere. The non-methane
portion is roughly 10% of the total for combustion of natural gas.
Oxides of sulfur are produced only when the fuel contains sulfur in one of its
components. This is usually the case when the fuel is a fuel-gas containing
hydrogen sulfide (H2S), or a fuel-oil containing derivatives of sulfur. Although it is
possible to scrub SOx out of an exhaust stream, removing the sulfur from the fuel is
usually less expensive.

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Brake Specific Emissions Levels

Emissions levels from reciprocating engines are often stated in units of grams per
brake horsepower-hour (gms/BHP-hr). These are called brake specific emissions
levels. Typical emissions levels for a four-cycle natural gas engine with no emis-
sions reduction devices are:
NOx 18 gms/BHP-hr
CO 1 gms/BHP-hr
NMHC 1 gms/BHP-hr

Emissions levels in engine exhaust systems are often measured in parts per million
(by volume), and source emissions limits for specific projects involving engines are
sometimes stated in units of tons/year. Unit conversion factors for emissions rates
are provided in Appendix G.

Emissions versus Air/Fuel Ratio

The most significant parameter to the formation of emissions in reciprocating
engines is the air/fuel (AF) ratio. Figure 300-37 shows the relative production of
NOx, CO, and NMHC versus AF ratio. Figure 300-38 shows the percent reduction
of brake specific NOx and CO possible, as the AF ratio is modified. Historically,
most reciprocating engines have been designed to operate near the stoichiometric
AF ratio. This is because power and fuel economy both occur near stoichiometric.
This presents a real design challenge if low emissions are important, (NOx is near
its peak at stoichiometric). Also note that both CO and NMHC are high on the rich
(left) side of stoichiometric where NOx is low. Most emissions reduction schemes
control and/or modify the AF ratio.

Fig. 300-37 Relative Emissions vs. Air/Fuel Ratio for Fig. 300-38 Reduction of CO and NOx at Different
Typical Natural Gas Engines Air/Fuel Ratios

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372 Fundamentals of NOx Production

The federal emissions regulations for stationary engines emphasize oxides of
nitrogen (NOx) as the most significant pollutant. As such, most emissions reduction
schemes for stationary engines concentrate on NOx. Formation of NOx is a func-
tion of:
• temperature
• time
• relative levels of nitrogen and oxygen in the process
Any design to reduce NOx formation must change one or more of these three
factors during the combustion process.
As a result of chemical reactions involving oxygen and nitrogen, oxides of nitrogen
form in the combustion chamber. NOx is composed of two components, nitric oxide
(NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Nitrogen dioxide is generally formed from the
N2 + 2O2 → 2 NO2
Formation of NO is more complex and involves several reactions. The most likely
chain reaction, known as the extended Zeldovich mechanism is:
N + 1/2 O2 → N + O
1/2 N2 + 2O → NO + O
N + OH → NO + H
Since there are several factors that affect the rate at which these reactions occur,
they never reach equilibrium in real systems. These reactions are also temperature
sensitive and are only significant at high temperatures. As a result, the reactions
occur after ignition of the air-fuel mixture, and their concentrations are dependent
upon the elapsed time between ignition and rapid cooling during the expansion
Figure 300-39 shows the equilibrium concentration of nitric oxide versus tempera-
ture, at elevated temperatures. This figure shows the very steep increase in NOx
production observed as combustion temperature increases.
Figure 300-40 shows the concentration of nitric oxide versus fuel-air ratio (inverse
of AF ratio) with several curves for various reaction times. The peak of each curve
occurs about 10% leaner than stoichiometric, which coincides with peak cycle
temperatures. Mixtures leaner than the peak in the NOx curves have a cooling effect
which inhibits NOx formation, and richer mixtures inhibit NOx formation due to the
lower concentrations of N2 and O2.
By comparing Figures 300-39 and 300-40, it can be seen that modifying the AF
ratio (which modifies peak temperature) is the primary means of reducing NOx.
Reducing residence time is a secondary means.

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Fig. 300-39 Equilibrium Nitric Oxide Concentration vs. Temperature

Fig. 300-40 Concentration of Nitric Oxide vs. Fuel-Air Ratio

373 Emissions Regulations

At any particular Company location, the local regulatory or permitting authorities
need to be consulted when planning a new installation or a modification. Within
Chevron, this responsibility rests with the local operating center.

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CUSA’s Environmental Affairs and ETD’s Environmental Engineering Division

staffs are available for consultation in the following areas:
• General EPA requirements
• State implementation plans (SIP)
• Requirements in non-attainment areas (NA) and Prevention of significant dete-
rioration (PSD)
• Emissions offsets
• Best available control technology (BACT)
• Lowest achievable emissions rates (LAER)
• Reasonably available control technology (RACT)
• Best available retrofit technology (BART)
• Other related matters
Again, the responsibility for determining specific requirements and meeting them
rests with the local operating center.

Clean Air Act of 1977

Most emissions regulations in the United States that affect I/C engines, originate
from or interpret the Clean Air Act of 1977. This act provides guidelines for Preven-
tion of Significant Deterioration (PSD), for New Source Performance Standards
(NSPS) and for formation of State Implementation Plans (SIP’s) and local Air
Quality Management District (AQMD) rules.

Best Available Control Technologies

Local air boards (especially in California) often require projects to utilize a BACT
to achieve the lowest possible emissions of NOx. The Clean Air Act of 1977
provides a vague definition of BACTs for reciprocating engines. These are:
• Air/fuel ratio change
• Retarded ignition
• Intake air cooling
• Power deration
• Emissions conversion device
For specific engines or projects, the number of BACTs that can be utilized is
reduced by the practicality and by the relative levels of NOx reduction achieved by
each. The local jurisdiction may favor only one technology as the best available
control technology.

374 Emissions Control Strategies

Two broad categories of engines must be defined when NOx reduction strategies are
being considered. These are rich-burn and lean-burn engines, which are catego-

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rized by their air/fuel ratios as shown in Figure 300-41. This categorization is neces-
sary because the application of certain strategies is limited to only one category,
and because local air boards often require different BACTs and emissions limits for
each category.

Fig. 300-41 Rich and Lean-Burn Engine Categories

Rich-Burn Engines Lean-Burn Engines
Air/Fuel Ratio less than Stoichiometric Air/Fuel Ratio greater than Stoichiometric
(AF < 17 for natural gas engines) (AF > 17 for natural gas engines)
• Unmodified, naturally aspirated four- • Unmodified, turbocharged four-stroke
stroke engines engines
• Unmodified, two-stroke engines
• Lean combustion modified two and
four-stroke engines

The following NOx reduction strategies and their applicability will be discussed:
• Derating
• Adjusting operating parameters
• Engine alterations
• Pre-combustion chambers (PCC)
• Pre-stratified charge (PSC)
• Non-selective catalytic reduction (NSCR)
• Selective catalytic reduction (SCR)
• Motorization
• Emerging technologies
Figure 300-42 compares the relative effectiveness and the relative costs of these
strategies. Figure 300-43 summarizes the techniques and lists some of the risks and

Fig. 300-42 Effectiveness vs. Cost of NOx Control Strategies

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Fig. 300-43 Summary of NOx Emission Control Techniques for Reciprocating Spark-Ignited Gas Engines
Chevron Corporation

Driver Manual
Driver Manual 300 Internal Combustion Engines

The reduction in NOx caused by derating occurs because peak flame temperatures
decrease as engine load decreases. Derating is usually not the most favorable NOx
reduction strategy because much greater NOx reductions are achievable with other
strategies, and the loss in power is often not acceptable. Derating may not be consid-
ered a BACT by the local permitting authority, and may not be acceptable.
However, derating is a viable NOx reduction strategy on any engine that can be run
significantly below its rated power. Derating provides about a 2% brake specific
reduction in NOx per 1% reduction in horsepower down to about 70% of rated load,
at virtually no capital cost. Derating also causes an increase in brake specific fuel

Adjusting Operating Parameters

There are several adjustments in engine operation that can be made to achieve a 10
to 40% reduction in brake specific NOx production. Figure 300-44 shows the adjust-
ments that can be made (and their limitations) on four-stroke naturally aspirated
engines. Figure 300-45 shows the adjustments that can be made on turbocharged
engines, both two- and four-stroke. Again, the limitations are shown. The extent to
which an adjustment can be made is dependent on ambient conditions, engine load,
and amount of cooling available. One or more of the limitations in the figures will
be reached as the adjustment is increased.

Fig. 300-44 Four-Stroke Naturally Aspirated Engine Adjustments to Reduce NOx Production
Methods Limitations
Retard spard High fuel consumption
(Reduce residence time and peak flame High exhause temperature
temperature) Combustion instability
A/F ratio rich High fuel consumption
(Move left of peak NOx) High CO emission engine stall
A/F ratio lean Carburetor capacity
(Move right of peak NOx) Load limitation

Fig. 300-45 Turbocharged Engine Adjustments to Reduce NOx Production

Methods Limitations
Increase inlet air density (Increase pres- Turbocharger adjustments
sure/decrease temperature) Blower surge
Combustion instability
Retard spark High fuel consumption
(Reduce residence time and peak flame Blower surge @ low torque
temperature) High exhaust temperature

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Engine Alterations
Several alterations can be used to reduce brake specific NOx by 40 to 60%. These
• Altered valve timing (cam modification)
• Exhaust gas recirculation
• Air injection
• Water injection
• High energy ignition
Exhaust gas recirculation is the most commonly used engine alteration for
decreased NOx production.
Altering the timing of valve events can reduce NOx by modifying both the combus-
tion temperature and the reaction time. This requires modifying the cam-shaft
and/or altering cam timing, both of which are internal engine modifications. A
change in the piston crown design may also be required to prevent valve and piston
interference. Altering valve timing has the potential of being hazardous because it
is possible for gas to leak through the engine to the exhaust during shutdown
periods if the engine stops in a position where the valves for a cylinder overlap (in
the open position). This could cause an explosion on startup. It may be necessary to
add controls to the fuel system to prevent this situation.
Air injection and exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) both reduce NOx by modifying
the AF ratio (leaner). EGR does this by injecting inert exhaust gas into the combus-
tion chamber.
Water injection reduces NOx by reducing the peak cycle temperature. Water injec-
tion also provides a slight power enhancement. Water injection can cause fouling
and increased corrosion in the cylinders.
Replacing an engine ignition system with a high energy system can reduce NOx by
reducing the reaction time. High energy ignition systems may not meet require-
ments of the hazardous area classification.

Pre-combustion Chambers (PCC)

PCCs can be used to achieve about a 90% reduction in brake specific NOx produc-
tion, and are available on new engines and as a retrofit for existing engines. Retro-
fits for existing engines include new turbochargers, aftercoolers, heads, ignition,
and possibly pistons and cylinders. The retrofit may also include timing controls,
and removal of scavenging air cylinders on two-stroke engines. Typical emissions
from PCC modified natural gas engines are:
With PCC Unmodified Engines
NOx 2 gms/BHP-hr 18 gms/BHP-hr
CO 3 gms/BHP-hr 1 gms/BHP-hr
NMHC 1 gms/BHP-hr 1 gms/BHP-hr

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Note that PCCs have a slight penalty in increased CO production. PCC’s allow
combustion at very lean air/fuel ratios of 20-30, where NO x is very low (to the right
of the hump in the NOx curve in Figure 300-37). The PCC solves the misfiring
problem that would occur in a standard engine operating with such lean mixtures.
Figure 300-46 shows a PCC and main combustion chamber. A rich but small charge
is ignited by a spark in the pre-chamber which forms a torch that expands into the
main chamber. The main chamber is charged with a very lean mixture which is
ignited by the well-established flame from the pre-chamber. Overall combustion is
lean, but very stable.

Fig. 300-46 Pre-Combustion Chamber (Courtesy of Dresser-Rand)

Company experience with these engines is good. The engines achieve the adver-
tised emissions, and have very stable combustion. Combustion stability is even
improved somewhat over the unmodified version of the engine. Fuel consumption
is slightly lower, and the engines are very free of detonations when all cylinders are
firing. The Company has experience with the PCC engine manufacturers and
models shown in Figure 300-47.
Spark plug life in PCC engines can be short because the plug is exposed to higher
temperatures. Life as short as 2 to 4 weeks is not uncommon. Users, engine manu-
facturers, and spark plug manufacturers have been working on this problem and
have extended plug life 8 to 10 weeks on some engines.

Pre-stratified Charge (PSC)

PSC is another strategy that allows engines to operate at very lean AF ratios. PSC is
available as a retrofit only, and is not currently offered by any engine manufacturers
directly. It is applicable as a conversion on some four-cycle rich-burn engines. A 70
to 90% reduction in brake specific NOx production is achievable with PSC.

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Fig. 300-47 Company Experience with Pre-combustion Chamber and Pre-stratified Charge
Manufacturer Trade Name Location Model Series
Cooper Industries, Inc. East Painter, WY W330
Cooper Jet Cells Platform Hope, CA GMVA, GMVH
Cooper Jet Cells Wicket, TX

Superior Clean Burn Several Warren GTLA, GTLB

Locations; Concord, CA SGTA, SGTB
Dresser Industries — Elk Hills, CA GL
Dresser-Rand — Seal Beach, CA HRA
IMO Delaval Enterprise Elk Hills, CA HA, HVA
Chevron Pre-stratified Charge Experience
Manufacturer Trade Name Location Model Series
Dresser Industries — Elk Hills, CA G, GSI
Dresser-Rand IR — Carpenteria, CA XVG, SVG

An engine with PSC equipment mounted on it is shown in Figure 300-48. The

equipment consists of a bypass line around the carburetor or mixing valve, which
injects air directly into the intake manifold. Each cylinder location in the manifold
has an injection quill in it, placed so as to minimize mixing of the injection air with
the main fuel/air charge. Usually, the modification also includes an ignition
upgrade. With these modifications, the gases are layered or stratified. The rich layer
is ignited by the spark and expands into the lean injection-air layer, making the
overall combustion very lean. This strategy is similar in concept to PCC, however
there are no walls separating the rich and lean gas layers.
The attractiveness of PSC is its low capital cost (20% less) for nearly the same NOx
reduction level as PCC. However, the reduction is usually a bit lower, and the
retrofit carries slightly more risk of not reaching the NOx objective especially on
engine models not previously demonstrated to work with PSC.
Company experience with PSC systems is fair to good. NOx reductions of 70 to
90% have been achieved with stable combustion. A drawback is a 10 to 20% loss of
engine power. Engines operating in excess of 90% rated load do not make good
candidates for PSC retrofit, unless a turbocharger modification is proposed (air flow
being the limiting factor). Spark plug life in PSC retrofitted engines is reduced.
Plug life is similar to that in PCCs. Figure 300-47 lists engines the Company has
experience with that have PSC systems installed.

Non-selective Catalytic Reduction (NSCR)

NSCR can be utilized on rich-burn engines to achieve a 95% reduction in brake
specific NOx production. NSCR is sometimes called “catalyst conversion” or “three-

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Fig. 300-48 Pre-stratified Charge Equipment (Courtesy of Diesel and Gas Engineering Company)

way catalyst” and does not require ammonia injection as a reducing agent.
Figure 300-49 shows the reactions that occur in NSCR.
NSCR requires the engine to operate within a very narrow band of air/fuel ratios.
Figure 300-50 shows this band called the “catalyst window” for a gas engine. On
the rich side of the window, the performance decreases due to fouling of the cata-
lyst with hydrocarbons. On the lean side of the window, oxidation occurs too
rapidly and the catalyst may be damaged by excessive temperature.
Company experience with NSCR is poor because it is difficult to constantly operate
engines within the catalyst window. This is especially true for compressor drive
applications which see continual load changes. Microprocessor based AF ratio
controllers sensing exhaust O2 or CO have been used with limited success. A
problem with AF ratio control has been unreliability of the sensing devices, and
feedback in the controllers has sometimes been too slow for engine load changes.
Figure 300-51 is a diagram of an NSCR system with an AF ratio controller.
There are several other negative aspects in NSCR which include:
• A fuel consumption penalty of 5-15%
• Catalyst bed changeout can be frequent
• CO emissions usually increase
• Some manufacturers require only approved engine lubricants be used
(containing no phosphorous)

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Fig. 300-49 NSCR Exhaust Gas Reactions Fig. 300-50 Air/Fuel Ratio Catalyst Window for NSCR

Fig. 300-51 NSCR with Air/Fuel Ratio Controller

Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR)

NSCR will not work on lean-burn engines because the excess air in the exhaust gas
will cause the reactions in the converter to become too hot. Ammonia can be
injected upstream of a converter to reduce the excess oxygen. This is called SCR.

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SCR is not normally applied to reciprocating engines because of its high capital and
operating costs. It would only be cost effective at a very large engine station where
one system could support several large engines.

Motorization eliminates NOx from integral compressor-engines by removing the
power (engine) cylinders and throws and driving the crank by a motor through a
belt drive. Such projects are rarely cost effective because of high capital costs, and
incremental fuel/power costs which usually favor the fuel over electric power.

Emerging Technologies
There are some emerging NOx reduction strategies that may become practical in
the future. The following strategies are still in development and not yet commer-
cially available:
• Cyanuric acid injection
• Electrochemical NOx control
Cyanuric acid or urea can be injected into flue or exhaust gases from any combus-
tion process to reduce NOx. In principle, this is 100% effective. Cyanuric acid is a
non-toxic, commercially available compound that decomposes to isocyanic acid
(HNCO) above 630°F. Several reactions occur when HNCO is mixed with NO in
flue gas that produce CO, CO2, water and nitrogen. It is unlikely that this tech-
nology will be utilized on reciprocating engines because exhaust temperatures are
considered too low to be practical, and because the annual cost of the chemical will
likely exceed the cost of combustion modifications such as pre-combustion cham-
bers. Also, there is some concern that hydrogen cyanide, a highly toxic substance,
may be formed as a by-product of the reactions.
With electrochemical NOx reduction, the exhaust gas flows through a solid-state
electrochemical reactor which converts NOx to nitrogen and oxygen in the presence
of an electrolyte. The electrolyte is a solid, porous ceramic oxide-ion conductor
such as stabilized zirconia. Ideally, there are no moving parts, no by products, and
the only fluid is the exhaust gas. The main operating cost is for the electric power to
drive the reaction. Preliminary indications are that the operating costs for electro-
chemical NOx reduction will be significantly less than for SCR.

375 Emissions Testing

Most air quality management districts require emissions performance tests on all
new or modified reciprocating engines, before an operating permit can be issued.
These tests are usually conducted by third-party testing agencies, using source test
procedures common to all engines within the local agency’s jurisdiction.
The DEMA has developed a standard procedure for emissions tests. This procedure
is representative of those developed for specific projects and provides the following
• Compounds to be measured

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• Arrangement of test equipment

• Tests to be run
• Procedures to be followed
• Calculations to be performed
• Presentation of results

380 Rerates and Retrofits

This sub-section provides a general discussion on reciprocating engine retrofits for
increasing power output or reducing exhaust emissions.

381 Types of Retrofits

Over time, engine manufacturers gradually develop new engine models and
upgrade older models. These developments are directed at:
• Increasing fuel efficiency
• Increasing power output
• Reducing exhaust emissions
• Increasing component lives
• Reducing routine maintenance
These take advantage of recent tools and knowledge such as better materials, engi-
neering modeling techniques, manufacturing techniques, and field experience.
Owners of older engine models can sometimes justify retrofitting their units to take
advantage of the advancements. Usually, the retrofit is justified by increased power
demands or reduced exhaust emissions limits. Idle engines are sometimes relocated
and retrofitted instead of purchasing a more expensive new engine. The scope of
the retrofits range from replacement of improved consumable parts to modifications
which equal a large percentage of the engines replacement cost.

382 Retrofits for Increased Power Output

Retrofits for increasing engine power involve one or more of the following basic
engineering parameters:
• Increased displacement
• Increased operating speed
• Increased inlet air density
Larger bore cylinders increase displacement and thereby increase power capa-
bility. Engine power is roughly related to the square of bore diameter. For example,
a 5% increase in cylinder bore will result in about a 10% increase in power output.
This retrofit would involve changing out power cylinders, pistons, piston rods and
heads, as well as alterations to auxiliary systems.

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An increase in operating speed increases power in a direct relationship to the

speed change. Speed can be increased within the normal design speed range of an
engine without major modifications. Although rarely done, some manufacturers
have increased the design speed of a few engine models. It is conceivable that a
user could take advantage of such a change for increased power. An increase in
design speed may entail installation of a torsional damper, changing out the
flywheel, and alterations to auxiliaries and speed controls.
Turbochargers can be retrofitted to naturally aspirated engines or upgraded on
previously turbocharged engines to boost intake pressure thereby increasing inlet
air density and power. Turbocharger retrofits involve intake and exhaust manifold
alterations, cooling water alterations and lube system alterations.
Intercooling or inlet cooling can be installed in the intake air system to cool the
intake air thereby increasing air density and power. Cooling retrofits involve alter-
ations to the intake piping or intake manifold and cooling system alterations.
Cooling can be done with evaporative coolers or a refrigeration system.

383 Retrofits for Decreased Emissions

There are two practical and economical retrofits for natural gas engines that
produce a 90% reduction in brake specific NOx. These are:
• PCC retrofit
• PSC installation
A PCC retrofit involves replacing a considerable portion of the engine:
• Heads
• Cylinders
• Pistons
• Turbocharger
• Manifolds
• Auxiliaries Alterations
PCC retrofits are becoming available for most large-bore two- and four-cycle sepa-
rable engines and integral compressor engines, due to increasing emissions regula-
An alternative to PCCs for naturally aspirated four-cycle engines is a PSC retrofit.
This is more of a bolt-on retrofit involving external piping and alterations to the
intake manifold. Occasionally addition of turbochargers is involved. See
Sub-section 370 for more details.

390 Predictive Maintenance

This sub-section discusses using an engine analyzer for a reciprocating engine’s
predictive and routine maintenance. Predictive maintenance of compressors and
integral-engine compressor-ends are discussed further in the Compressor Manual.

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391 The Engine Analyzer

The engine analyzer is a tool used at several Company locations for predictive
maintenance and performance data acquisition on engines. If used properly, mainte-
nance costs can be reduced by avoiding catastrophic component failures, and oper-
ating losses can be avoided by reducing downtime. Conversely, if misused,
maintenance costs and downtime can be increased by over-maintenance and/or mis-
diagnosis of malfunctions.
A successful analyzer program should incorporate:
• Good record keeping—includes signatures for each engine when in peak
condition for comparison with later signatures, signatures of each engine over
time, and a record of each problem diagnosed.
• Trained and qualified personnel—an analyzer program requires dedicated
personnel who stay with the program over a long period of time.
There are two basic types of analyzers in use:
• Maintenance analyzers—These devices display ignition voltage, vibra-
tion/ultrasonic amplitude, and cylinder pressure wave forms as a function of
time or crank angle on a built-in oscilloscope. This information is for machine
condition analysis.
• Performance analyzers—These devices have all the capabilities of mainte-
nance analyzers, but also display performance data such as indicated horse-
power, engine speed, and cylinder pressure versus volume.
Analyzers receive electronic signals from various devices:
• Ignition signals—An ignition pickup carries voltage directly from the ignition
primary or any point in the inductive secondary to the analyzer for oscilloscope
• Vibration signals—An accelerometer converts mechanical vibration (one to
six Hz) into a voltage signal proportional to the vibration amplitude.
• Pressure signals—Pressure transducers convert instantaneous cylinder pres-
sure into voltage signals.
• Ultrasonic signals—Ultrasonic probes convert high-frequency sonic vibra-
tions (36 to 44 Hz) into voltage signals for oscilloscope display, or into audible
signals for evaluation using headphones.
• Crankangle signals—Crankshaft encoders produce voltage pulses for each
degree of crankshaft rotation and once per revolution as a reference. These
signals are received by the analyzer for display on the horizontal axis of the
oscilloscope screen.

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392 Detection of Engine Faults

Analyzers can be used to detect several engine faults. Three displays are used for
fault detection:
• Combustion trace—The cylinder pressure versus time (crankangle) display is
used to detect ignition and fuel injection timing faults.
• Vibration traces—The vibration amplitude versus crankangle display is used
to detect mechanical faults such as, broken rings, worn wrist pins and rod bear-
ings, improper valve timing, valve faults, and ignition faults. The ultrasonic
amplitude versus crankangle display detects valve leakage and ring blow-by
and helps the user differentiate between high frequency noise and gas leakage.
• Ignition traces—The ignition voltage versus crankangle display is used to
pinpoint the cause of an ignition fault.

Combustion Traces
Figure 300-52 shows a normal combustion trace (pressure versus time) for a two-
cycle spark-ignition engine. The combustion events are indicated. Figure 300-53 is
a normal combustion trace for a four-cycle spark-ignition engine. Note that the
curves are similar except the four-cycle curve occurs over two crank revolutions
and the two-cycle curve is completed in one revolution.

Fig. 300-52 Two-Cycle Engine Pressure/Time Curve

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Fig. 300-53 Four-Cycle Engine Pressure/Time Curve

Several engine fault traces are shown in Figure 300-54 and compared to a normal
trace. The fault traces are described as follows:

Fig. 300-54 Two-Cycle Engine Display Illustrating Various Malfunctions

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• No combustion (misfire)—The causes are no spark, very lean or very rich

mixture, or cylinder flooded with water.
• Early combustion (fire)—The cause is advanced ignition timing.
• Late combustion (fire)—The causes are retarded ignition timing, retarded
injection timing, lean or rich mixture, or water in cylinder.
• Detonation (uncontrolled rapid combustion prior to spark)—The causes
are excessive load on cylinder, or fuel with low octane rating (in a spark-
ignited cylinder).
• Pre-ignition (auto-ignition)—The causes are excessive localized temperature
in the cylinder caused by a hot spot, carbon, or foreign matter. Also could indi-
cate onset of detonation.
The American Gas Association has developed a report entitled the A.G.A. Engine
Analyzer Signature Directory which provides further examples of combustion
traces and the faults they detect. A copy can be obtained from the American Gas
Association, 1515 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA.

Vibration Traces
Vibration traces (vibration amplitude versus crankangle) and ultrasonic traces (ultra-
sonic amplitude versus crankangle) are used to detect several possible mechanical
faults. Diagnosing the various faults is accomplished by having knowledge of the
normal shape, amplitude, and crankangle of each event in the traces. The cost
savings occurs when the analyzer technician correctly diagnoses a fault and mainte-
nance is scheduled prior to a component failure.
Figure 300-55 shows a normal vibration trace for a four-cycle spark-ignited
cylinder. The events are described as follows:
Point A—Exhaust valve closes
Point B—Injection valve opens
Point C—Intake valve closes
Point D—Injection valve closes
Point E—Exhaust blowdown. This vibration is caused by the rapid expansion of
the exhaust gas as it leaves the cylinder
Point F—Intake valve opens
Figure 300-56, shows the shape of vibration traces for several valve closings. The
traces are described as follows:
• Trace A—Normal valve closure. The front side (left) is flat. The amplitude
indicates how hard the valve hits the seat. A normal valve closure trace will fan
into the baseline as shown. The width of the trace indicates the width of the
valve and seat mating surfaces. Valve closure traces can indicate valve and seat
condition and valve timing.

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Fig. 300-55 Four-Cycle Engine Vibration Trace (Courtesy of Dresser-Rand)

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Fig. 300-56 Vibration Traces of Valve Closing (From the Signature Directory. Courtesy of American Gas Association.)

• Trace B—The high amplitude of this trace indicates the valve is hitting the
seat harder than normal.
• Trace C—The high width of this trace indicates wide mating surfaces between
the seat and valve.
• Trace D—This trace shows two valve closings. The valve bounces off the seat
and closes a second time because the valve spring stiffness is not great enough.
• Trace E—The noise that balloons out after the valve closing indicates gas
leakage through the valve.
• Trace F—The small trace before the valve closing indicates valve guide wear.
This is caused by abnormal movement of the stem in the guide.
• Trace G—A low amplitude valve closing indicates the valve is not closing
properly or the valve lash is too great.

Ignition Traces
Ignition traces (ignition voltage versus crankangle) can be used to diagnose
malfunctions in the ignition system. Figures 300-57 and 300-58 show normal igni-
tion traces for an ignition primary and inductive secondary. Normally the inductive
secondary trace is used for diagnosing malfunctions.
Referring to Figure 300-58, several malfunctions can be described:
Point A—If there is any abnormal voltage at this point or if the point shifts horizon-
tally, there is a problem with the points or electronic switching mechanism.
Point B—If this point shifts horizontally or varies with each cycle, the drive is
worn or the points stick or arc.

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Fig. 300-57 Details of Combustion Pattern (Primary) (From the Signature Directory. Courtesy of American Gas

Fig. 300-58 Details of a Combustion Pattern (Induction Secondary)

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Point C—As the voltage at Point C increases (goes more negative) the duration
(III) will increase. High voltage at Point C indicates:
• Wide plug gap or bad plug [arc voltage (II) will also be high]
• High resistance in the secondary lead (arcing, broken strands or corroded
Low voltage at Point C indicates:
• Narrow plug gap
• Shorted plug (little or no voltage rise)
• Shorted secondary [arc voltage (II) will also be low]
• Transformer problem [arc duration (III) will be low]
The A.G.A. Engine Analyzer Signature Directory provides further examples of igni-
tion malfunctions, vibration and ultrasonic traces.

393 Performance Data Acquisition

Performance analyzers can be used for performance data acquisition and for
balancing cylinder loads on engines. The pressure versus volume display (also
called the indicator card) is the display commonly used for performance data. The
more sophisticated analyzers perform calculations on the signals received and
display digital readouts of engine speed, indicated mean effective pressure, and indi-
cated horsepower.

Indicator Cards
Normal indicator cards for spark-ignited four-cycle and two-cycle engines are
shown in Figures 300-59 and 300-60. The cycle events are labeled.
The area inside the curve of an indicator card is the work performed by the engine
cylinder. A performance analyzer calculates the mean indicated pressure (MIP)
from the area of the indicator card. The MIP is the constant pressure acting
throughout the stroke which would produce the same work as the variable pressure
shown on the indicator card. Knowing the MIP, the cylinder indicated horsepower
(IHP) can be calculated using Equation 300-5 (see Sub-section 317). Some perfor-
mance analyzers perform this calculation automatically and provide a digital
display of indicated horsepower.
Determination of indicated horsepower for each cylinder of multiple-cylinder
engines provides the best means of balancing the load between cylinders. By
comparing the cards for each cylinder it is possible to predict the change needed to
bring a weak cylinder in balance. Figure 300-61 presents comparison cards for two-
cycle engines showing the various malfunctions that lead to weak cylinder load

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Fig. 300-59 Four-Cycle Engine Pressure/Volume Curve

Fig. 300-60 Two-Cycle Engine Pressure/Volume Curve

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Fig. 300-61 Comparison Indicator Cards of Valve and Ignition Malfunctions

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