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THE RCCI ENGINE

Breakthrough Fuel Efficiency, Low NOx & Soot Emissions

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To Compete in the worlds


fastest growing markets, engine manufacturers and fleet operators need to meet
increasingly stringent emissions requirements while also improving fuel efficiency.

Fleet-wide efficiency goals and the need to reduce


fuel consumption to meet current and future emission
and efficiency mandates also reinforce the demand
for a new generation of engine technologies.
A portfolio of recently patented engine technologies developed by a team from the University of
WisconsinMadison Engine Research Center led by
Director Rolf Reitz solves a host of environmental
and efficiency challenges by offering dramatic reductions in nitrogen oxide and soot emissions while
boosting fuel economy. The technologies are now
available for licensing through the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, which patents and licenses
discoveries arising from UWMadison research.

Figure 1: Modified diesel intake manifold


with port fuel injectors.

Laboratory demonstrate that engines utilizing these


technologies attain exceptional fuel efficiency. The
test engine has achieved an unprecedented 60
percent gross indicated efficiency1 in the laboratory
(corresponding to a diesel fuel energy equivalent
gross indicated specific fuel consumption of 141
g/kW-hr) with nitrogen oxide and soot emissions
significantly below current limits in the U.S., EU and
Japan. (Fig. 2)

Called reactivity controlled compression ignition, or RCCI, the base technology uses multiple
injections of differing fuel types to optimize
combustion phasing, duration and magnitude.
Laboratory experiments performed at the Engine
Research Center and at Oak Ridge National

Additional research published by the International


Journal of Engine Research points to a 100-fold
reduction in nitrogen oxide and a 10-fold reduction
in soot when compared with a conventional diesel
combustion engine.2 (Fig. 3)

Figure 2: Comparison of light-duty RCCI


and conventional combustion.

Figure 3: Comparison of heavy-duty RCCI


and conventional combustion.

1. S
 plitter, D.A., Wissink, M., DelVescovo, D., and Reitz, R.D., RCCI Engine Operation Towards 60% Thermal Efficiency, SAE Paper 2013-01-0279, 2013.
2. K
 okjohn, S.L., Hanson, R.M., Splitter, D.A., and Reitz, R.D., Fuel Reactivity Controlled Compression Ignition (RCCI):
A Pathway to Controlled High-Efficiency Clean Combustion, International Journal of Engine Research, Special Issue on Fuel Efficiency, Vol. 12, pp. 209-226, doi:10.1177/1468087411401548, 2011.

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Figure 4

The RCCI technology portfolio (warf.org/RCCI) comprises nine related patents and patent pending
technologies that enable the unique in-cylinder fuel blending, stratification and compression combustion
process. WARF seeks partners to license and develop the RCCI technologies.
P100054US01 Reactivity Controlled Compression Ignition Engine;
P100054US02 Fuel Reactivity Method Cuts Diesel Engine Emissions;
P110092US01 Engine Combustion Control at Low Loads with
Reactivity Controlled Compression Ignition Combustion;
P110320US01 Improved Compression Ignition Combustion in Rotary Engines for Higher Efficiency and Lower
Pollutant Emissions;
P07342US
Adaptive Fuel Injection Method Cuts Diesel Engine Emissions;
P06042US
Valve Method Cuts Engine Emissions, Boosts Combustion;
P03152US
Variable Valve Actuation Method to Enhance Combustion and Reduce Engine Emissions;
P01320US
Reducing Emissions and Controlling Combustion Phasing in HCCI Engines; and
P01108US
Use of Multiple Injections of Increasing Pressure to Reduce Diesel Engine Emissions.

Reactivity Controlled Compression Ignition is a new and superior way to burn fuel in internal combustion
engines. It improves fuel use efficiency and reduces carbon dioxide emission. Compared with a conventional diesel it reduces nitric oxides emission 100-fold and soot 10-fold.
Two fuels with differing reactivity are used. The lower reactivity fuel, e.g., gasoline, is injected early and
is too dilute (lean) to self-ignite even at the high compression needed for high efficiency. The higher
reactivity fuel, e.g., diesel, is injected later but early enough that mixing has time to prevent soot
formation in locally rich cool regions and NOx formation in locally stoichiometric hot regions. The ratio of
the two fuels provides an important control parameter to enable the engine to work optimally over ranges
of speed, load and ambient temperature.
The level of understanding that made this RCCI discovery possible is the direct result of decades
of thoughtful interaction between evolving theory and experiment by Professor Rolf Reitz, faculty and
students at the Engine Research Center at the University of WisconsinMadison.
Future engines, especially those required for long haul of freight by road, river, rail or ocean, will compete
to provide lowest cost of ownership while meeting minimum greenhouse gas and other emissions. RCCI
provides an opportunity for a substantial advance in the way engines work their magic for the benefit of
the world community.
John Clarke, B.Sc., CEng, MIMechE, Fellow SAE, Associate ASME
Caterpillar Research (Retired)

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RCCI Technologies

offer end-to-end benefits for engine


manufacturers, fleet owners and other engine applications
With the ability to meet the worlds most restrictive
regulatory standards while providing dramatic cost
savings in fuel and after-treatment systems, the RCCI
engine and its associated technologies promise a
broad range of benefits for engine manufacturers; fleet
owners; and producers of transportation, utility and
auxiliary power equipment.

 Benefits for engine manufacturers:


Implementation of the RCCI technology portfolio
enables compliance with U.S., EU and Japanese
regulatory frameworks through 2016 while
providing a basis for continued reductions.
The technologies offer substantial savings in
overall engine cost and weight due to significantly
reduced requirements for injection pressure
and engine heat rejection while lowering the
reliance on NOx and soot after-treatment systems
and maintaining standard frame and engine
compartment metrics.

Figure 5: Step load transient emissions of


RCCI vs. conventional diesel combustion (CDC).

Benefits across multiple engine markets:

Benefits for fleet owners:


The RCCI engine technologies support increased
fleet efficiency through added fuel flexibility
(e.g., RCCI allows the use of natural gas at high
substitution rates), improved fuel economy and
lowered reliance on costly after-treatment systems.
The technologies also reduce operator input and
fleet maintenance and lower the cost of ownership
by reducing or eliminating the use of diesel exhaust
fluid (DEF).


The technologies apply to automobiles; light-,
medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses;
off-road vehicles (agricultural, construction,
industrial); locomotives; generator sets and
marine vessels including large oceangoing ships
(propulsion and auxiliary power).

t RCCI operaHon is possible for a large fracHon


racHon oof f eeac
ac

ngine
ngine
conomy
conomy
ghway
ghway

RCCI
results
results

RCCI
Drive
Cycle
UDDSCity
UDDS
HwyHWFET
< 60MPH
HWFET
Aggressive
US06

US06
Low Speed Stop-and-Go
NYCC
NYCC

Fuel
Fuel
economy
economy
benefit
benefit
(relative
(relative %)
%)
+14
+14
+15
+15
+8
+8
+13
+13

Drive
Drive cycle
cycle
by
distance
by distance
(%)
(%)
72
72
88
88
66
66
69
69

Drive
Drive
cycle
cycle by
by
time
time
(%)
(%)
55
55

Total
Total
diesel
diesel
fuel
fuel
(%)
(%)
56
56

Dies
Die
duri
dur
RC
RC
(%
(%
41
4

86
86
56
56

44
44
66
66

37
3
31
3

36
36

65
65

43
4

Figure 6: Estimated RCCI-enabled engine increases in fuel economy over city and highway drive cycles
(Curran et al. SAE 2014-01-1324).

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RCCI Technologies advance state of the art in engine design


The RCCI engine and associated technologies overcome current diesel limitations by reducing both NOx
and soot while also improving fuel economy. This is
accomplished within the cylinder at lower injection
pressure and temperature, thereby reducing the need
for expensive NOx and soot exhaust after-treatment
systems and high pressure injection systems.

The Advantages are Dramatic


Fuel savings of up to 20 percent:


The unique fuel injection system and highly efficient combustion process improves performance
for all engine uses, with fuel savings of up to 20
percent as compared to conventional diesel engines. The multifuel system uses a combination
of two or more fuels with varying reactivities,
e.g., diesel with gasoline, natural gas or ethanol.

NOx reductions without after-treatment:


The RCCI technologies reduce emissions of
nitrogen oxides through lower and more
uniform combustion temperatures. The result
is an overall reduction in NOx emissions with
reduced need for expensive after-treatment
systems that use nitrogen oxide catalysts
and diesel exhaust fluid. (Fig. 3)

Soot reductions without after-treatment:


Rather than injecting a single fuel charge late
in the cycle, the engine employs multiple charges
injected very early in the cycle to generate low
soot emissions during the combustion process.
(Fig. 3)

Reduced engine costs:


The expensive high pressure diesel injector
can be replaced by a relatively inexpensive
low pressure injector. Additionally, the RCCI
engine technologies achieve soot and NOx
control within the combustion chamber with the
addition of an inexpensive port fuel injector
for a diesel engine or by replacing the spark
plug with an injector for a spark ignition engine.

Reduced reliance on costly after-treatment systems and fluids:


Test results confirm that RCCI enables compliance
with todays most stringent EPA emissions
regulations, in-cylinder, with reduced need
for NOx or soot after-treatment systems and
chemicals. In addition, the system is compatible
with existing exhaust gas recirculation and
after-treatment methods that would provide for
further emission reductions.

End-to-end benefits:


From lower engine costs to reduced fuel
consumption to savings from fuel flexibility and
reduced need for DEF and other operator inputs,
the RCCI technologies offer dramatic, measurable
advantages. At the same time, the documented
emission reductions ensure regulatory compliance while signaling a commitment to superior
environmental performance for manufacturers
and fleet owners alike.

Diesel engines have long been recognized for their fuel efficiency. However, while substantial progress
has been made in reducing their emission of NOx and particulate matter, the remaining emissions of these
criteria pollutants continue to be a source of environmental concern and are facing ever tighter emission
regulations. The RCCI engine uses advanced, low temperature combustion techniques combined with
multiple injections of a high and a low reactivity fuel at varying pressures to further reduce emissions and
achieve even greater fuel efficiency. RCCI represents an important path forward in the effort to optimize
the performance of diesel combustion systems.
Dennis Siebers, Engine Combustion Research Program Manager
Sandia National Laboratories Combustion Research Facility

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Figure 7

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Particle Mass Emissions (g/hp-hr)

Cell 2, 6-7,
6-9, 6-10,
GM
engine
Engine
Condition:
2300
rpm,
4.2 bar BMEP*

RCCI post-DOC emissions 0.014 +- 0.001 g/hp-hr

0.14

Engine-out PCCI and


Diesel
RCCI
mass were similar
inOxidation
magnitude but

Reduction by DOC
Conventional Diesel: 30 6%
Diesel PCCI: 9 18%
Dual-Fuel RCCI: 47 9%

0.12
0.10

The DOC reduced PM

Catalysts
mass by 50% with

RCCI vs. 30% with


(DOC)
CDC further
and 10%reduce
with
PCCI
particulates.

0.08

DOC was effective for


RCCI
despite PCCI
lower and
Engine-out
exhaust temperature

0.06
0.04
0.02
0.00

Engine
Post
Post
2
3
4
Out
DOC
DOC
Conventional Diesel
Diesel PCCI
Engine
1
Out

Engine
5
Out

Post
6

DOC

Dual-Fuel RCCI

RCCI mass were similar


in magnitude. However,
the DOC further reduced
PM mass by 47% with
RCCI vs. only 30% with
CDC and 9% with PCCI.

RCCI post-DOC emissions 0.014 0.001 g/hp-hr


iB4.4),8"C')0"/)R^;JcQgRI<B9),."=7)O&,."',)
21

DOC was effective for


RCCI despite lower
exhaust temperature
CDC: 411C
PCCI: 408C
RCCI: 247C

Engine conditions: 2300 rpm, 4.2 bar BMEP


(Prikhodko et al. SAE 2010-01-2266)

RCCI shows near zero levels of soot in PM filter samples


Figure 8: Particle mass comparison (Daw 2013 ERC Symposium).

*Samples shown for


UTG-96/ULSD, stock pistons

Figure 9: Fuel #1 is a lower reactivity fuel such as gasoline, natural gas or ethanol.

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associated technologies provide a broad


range of engine power and torque characteristics suitable for automobiles; light-,
medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses;
off-road vehicles (agricultural, construction,
industrial); locomotives; generator sets and
marine vessels including large oceangoing
ships (propulsion and auxiliary power).
Engine-size scaling relationships are used to scale
fuel injection parameters across engine platforms.
Differences in compression ratio, engine speed
and operating conditions are accommodated with
adjustments to the fuel blend. The technologies also
are applicable to rotary engines.

Control of fuel reactivity and stratification


combine for a high-performance system

The RCCI engine portfolio integrates important


advances in combustion phasing and duration
control to achieve its impressive performance profile.
Key innovations include the use of fuels with differing
reactivities delivered through multiple injections to
achieve optimum fuel reactivity stratification. This
enhanced combustion process improves performance,
even at low loads or while idling.

Multiple injections at varying pressures:


The engine cycle starts with a pulse of lower
reactivity fuel (e.g., gasoline, natural gas or
ethanol) during the early phase of the compression
stroke. This fuel pulse is timed to mix with intake
air so that it is too lean to produce appreciable
soot or nitrogen oxides upon combustion, but
not so lean that it creates significant amounts of
unburned hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide.

Exhaust

Port injection
of low
reactivity fuel,
i.e., gasoline/
E85 (orange)

Direct
injection of high
reactivity fuel,
i.e., diesel/B20
(blue)

Figure 10: Schematic of cylinder injection and fuel


distribution (Curran et al. SAE 2014-01-1324).

Variable valve actuation:


In a traditional four-stroke engine, intake and exhaust valves open to allow air into the combustion
chamber and again to release exhaust gases following combustion. A fixed geometry and phasing
mechanical camshaft opens and closes the valves.
Newer technology called variable valve actuation
(VVA) uses independently controlled camshaft
profile and phasing to open and close valves
at optimal times during the combustion cycle.
Gasoline
Fuel
System
Diesel
Fuel
System

PFI Fuel Rail


Port Fuel
Injectors

DI Fuel Rail

Diesel
Injectors

Smaller pulses of higher reactivity fuel (e.g.,


diesel, biodiesel or additive) then provide a locally
richer fuel mixture for effective autoignition. The
timing and volume of these pulses are optimized to
control the combustion event to maximize efficiency.
The use of varying injection pressures also aids
ignition and cuts emissions by introducing further
control over the combustion process. The first
injection arrives at a lower pressure followed by
subsequent injections at higher pressures.

DI

ERG
Cooler

The RCCI Engine and

PFI
Intake

Turbo
CAC

Exhaust
Intake Air
Figure 11: Schematic of engine injection and fuel
distribution (Curran et al. SAE 2013-01-0289).

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Low = Prevents Autoignition

Fuel Reactivity

High = Promotes Autoignition

Figure 12: Combustion mode spectrum (Curran 2013 U.S. DOE Annual Merit Review).

The RCCI engine can exploit VVA to introduce air


into the combustion chamber at optimal times
during the compression and power strokes to
control the combustion process.

Improved compression ignition:


An initial injection of a lower reactivity fuel is followed by injection of a higher reactivity fuel. This
fuel reactivity stratification allows combustion in
the chamber without use of a spark source.

Enhanced performance at low loads:


Many advanced engines provide high output
and efficient fuel use, but performance declines
markedly at low loads or while idling. The RCCI
engine overcomes this obstacle through stratified
fuel reactivity and a throttle upstream from the
intake port to maintain the optimal fuel/air mixture.
The technology ensures low emissions and enhanced
fuel economy across a wide range of engine loads. It
can be combined with exhaust gas recirculation and
exhaust after-treatment strategies.

Single Fuel Operation with Additive


RCCI can operate using a single fuel plus a small tank of cetane improving additive. As depicted in figure
13, RCCI is able to use port fuel injection of gasoline and direct injection of the same gasoline doped
with a small quantity of additive, e.g., ethylhexyl nitrate (EHN). Results show that while there is a slight
increase in NOx emissions using the additive, they
are still lower than regulated levels. Additionally,
Additive
soot emissions are lower and thermal efficiency is
Fuel Tank
Tank
increased by using the additive as compared to
operation with diesel fuel. (Fig. 14)
uch an operating strategy would only require
S
refilling the additive at typical oil change intervals.
Based on a 50 mpg estimate, a 3 gallon tank
of additive would require refilling every 10,000
miles, which is less than DEF refilling intervals
and amounts.
Figure 13: Single fuel plus additive RCCI setup.
E10 + E10/EHN
E10 + Diesel Fuel

0.1
5.5 bar IMEP

9 bar IMEP

0.004

GIE (%)

0.2

0.0

0.006
Soot (g/kW-h)

NOx (g/kW-h)

0.3

0.002
0.000

5.5 bar IMEP

9 bar IMEP

52
50
48
46
44
42
40

5.5 bar IMEP

9 bar IMEP

Figure 14: Emissions and performance comparison of single fuel plus additive
RCCI (E10 + E10/EHN) and dual-fuel RCCI (E10 + Diesel Fuel) (Kaddatz et al. SAE 2012-01-1110).

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The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation is actively seeking industry partners to


develop and incorporate the RCCI engine technologies into commercial products.
Please contact Chris Thomas (608.890.2524, cthomas@warf.org) to discuss licensing opportunities.
To learn more about the RCCI engine technology portfolio, visit warf.org/RCCI.

Figure 6: Curran, S., Gao, Z., and Wagner, R. Reactivity Controlled Compression Ignition Drive Cycle Emissions and Fuel
Economy Estimations Using Vehicle Systems Simulations with E30 and ULSD, SAE Technical Paper 2014-01-1324, 2014.
Figure 8: Daw, S., Modeling Emissions Controls for RCCI Engines, Presentation given at the University of WisconsinMadison
Engine Research Center Symposium, Engine Fuel Efficiency and Advanced Combustion, 2013.
Figure 10: Curran et al. SAE 2014-01-1324.
Figure 11: Curran, S., Hanson, R., Wagner, R., and Reitz, R., Efficiency and Emissions Mapping of RCCI in a Light-Duty Diesel
Engine, SAE Technical Paper 2013-01-0289, 2013.
Figure 12: Curran, S., High Efficiency Clean Combustion in Multi-Cylinder Light-Duty Engines, 2013 US DOE Annual Merit Review.
www4.eere.energy.gov/vehiclesandfuels/resources/merit-review/sites/default/files/ace016_curran_2013_o.pdf
Figure 14: 
Kaddatz, J., Andrie, M.J., Reitz, R.D., and Kokjohn, S.L., Light-duty Reactivity Controlled Compression Ignition
Combustion using a Cetane Improver, SAE Paper 2012-01-1110, 2012.

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About Rolf Reitz


Rolf Reitz is a Wisconsin Distinguished Professor in
UWMadisons College of Engineering where he
serves as director of the Engine Research Center
and director of the Direct-Injection Engine Research
Consortium. The consortium currently counts 30
industrial members and three national laboratories
among its participants.
His research interests include development of
advanced computer models for predicting engine
performance. With annual sponsored research funding
totaling some $1 million per year, Reitz operates
a heavy-duty diesel engine laboratory featuring a
Caterpillar 3401E single-cylinder test engine
equipped with prototype fuel injection systems.
He was the first to demonstrate that use of multiple
injections can produce significant emissions
reductions in these engines.
Reitz also runs a high-speed engine laboratory
featuring an automotive-size diesel engine with
advanced electronically controlled fuel injection
systems capable of multiple injections. His experimental spray research focuses on fuel drop breakup
and atomization phenomena and his research has
pioneered the use of computational fluid dynamics to
understand the basic physical processes involved.

With major support from the U.S. Department of


Energys Sandia laboratories, Caterpillar, GM and
Ford, the Reitz research group currently includes two
staff members, three postdoctoral students and about
17 students pursuing masters and doctoral degrees.
Reitz also supervises international visiting scientists.
Reitz and his group have won numerous industry
and academic awards through the years including multiple presentations of the SAE International
Harry L. Horning Memorial Award, the DOE Vehicle
Technologies R&D Program Award in 2012 and the
ASME Internal Combustion Engine Award in 2011.
For more information, visit reitz.me.wisc.edu.

About WARF
WARF helps steward the cycle of research, discovery,
commercialization and investment for the University
of Wisconsin. Founded in 1925 as an independent,
nonprofit foundation, WARF manages commercial
opportunities on more than 1,500 technologies as it
funds university research, obtains patents for discoveries from campus labs and licenses the inventions to
industry. For more information, visit www.warf.org.

Figure 15: UWMadison Inventors Asst. Prof. Sage Kokjohn, Prof. Rolf Reitz, Reed Hanson, Ph.D. (not pictured: Derek Splitter, Ph.D.)

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To find out more about WARFs


Reactivity Controlled Compression Ignition Technology Portfolio

visit warf.org/RCCI

UWMadison Campus | 614 Walnut Street, 13th floor | Madison, WI 53726 | 608.263.2500 | www.warf.org

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