Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) refers to the engine ignition which is the combination of Spark Ignition (Otto-Engine or SI-Engine) and Compression Ignition (Diesel Engine). The process utilizes homogeneous fuel-air mixtures similar to the SI-engine and uses high compression ratio for mixture to auto-ignite similar to the diesel engine. This lean homogeneous mixture reduces particulate emissions and helps auto-ignition, reducing the overall emission of NOx to about 90-98%. The engine is featured to offer an increased fuel efficiency of over 15-30%, compared to the SI engines.
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HCCI engines compatibility with alternative fuels is anticipated to garner high growth prospects for the industry over the next few years
Owing to its compatibility with alternative fuels that specifically include gasoline and diesel, is encouraging more automakers to invest in the technology. Moreover, industry participants are increasingly focusing on integrating fuels with high octane and cetane number to enhance the reliability and durability of the engines. In conjunction with the increasing versatility and compatibility, the popularity of these engines will increase during the projected period. Some of the major initiatives by the automotive industry participants are mentioned below:
In 2011, BMW introduced its new B-family engines featuring three-, four- and six-cylinder diesel and petrol which commercialized in 2014. These were designed to accommodate next generation technology that included HCCI and hybridization.
U.S. DoE and Bosch
Bosch announced its leading participation in Advanced Combustion Controls – Enabling Systems and Solutions (ACCESS) that was US$ 12 Mn project funded by U.S. Department of Energy (DoE). The project involved exploration of HCCI as a part of the project to develop advanced light duty petrol engine.
Mercedes-Benz showcased F700 sedan, featuring fuel saving technology such as VVC, ISAG, and mild hybridization. The technology showcase emphasized on an estimated fuel saving of up to 47.5% in comparison to its S350 model. Moreover, the company spokesperson was reported to state the company was making significant efforts in three to six modular inline engines with variable compression ratio and HCCI technologies
As of the news statement made by Delphi in May 2016, the company is making significant efforts in the development of Gasoline Direct Compression Injection engine on similar concepts. Utilizing the tight charge stratification and low temperature combustion, the prototypes four-cylinder engine registered 13-18% fuel economy gain. The company is planning to commercialize the technology by the mid-2020s.
General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Mazda, Volkswagen are few of the other major vendors that have also made significant progress and are likely to introduce the models featuring this technology. This increased participation of the OEMs and the vendors have led to increased emphasis on the exploration of the technology. These initiatives will present significant growth prospects for the future growth through the forecast period.
Some of the major drawbacks in the current development of the technology include:
- Increased refinement of control strategies is required to assure fuel economy under practical driving conditions and standard production tolerances
- NOx emissions have to stay low enough within the standardized driving cycle. Deployment of additional De-NOx components or technology would deteriorate the fuel economy and associated costs. Moreover, confirmation for the feasibility of three-way catalyst only technology for Euro 6 under production conditions is still required
- In conjunction with the appropriate variable lift systems, the requirement of the fast acting variable cam-phaser is yet another factor hampering the growth prospects
- NVH control requirement specifically for the normal SI modes and HCCI/CAI operation transitions in order to enhance the customers’ acceptance
These are the major issues constraining the adoption of these equipment, are expected to be major growth challenge to the HCCI market. It is expected that these challenges will certainly be met upon the commercialization of the technology.
Increasing demands to curb the carbon emissions and enhance the fuel economies by Department of Transport (DoT) and EPA in U.S. and EU in Europe are expected to prominently drive the innovation in the industry through the forecast period.