Marine diesel engines usually operate on a highly boosted intake pressure. The reciprocating feature of diesel engines and the continuous flow operation characteristics of the turbocharger (TC) make the matching between the turbocharger and diesel engine very challenging. Sequential turbocharging (STC) technology is recognized as an effective approach in improving the fuel economy and exhaust emissions especially at low speed and high torque when a single stage turbocharger is not able to boost the intake air to the pressure needed. The application of STC technology also extends engine operation toward a wider range than that using a single-stage turbocharger.

This research experimentally investigated the potential of a STC system in improving the performance of a TBD234V12 model marine diesel engine originally designed to operate on a single-stage turbocharger. The STC system examined consisted of a small (S) turbocharger and a large (L) turbocharger which were installed in parallel. Such a system can operate on three boosting modes noted as 1TC-S, 1TC-L and 2TC. A rule-based control algorithm was developed to smoothly switch the STC operation mode using engine speed and load as references. The potential of the STC system in improving the performance of this engine was experimentally examined over a wide range of engine speed and load. When operated at the standard propeller propulsion cycle, the application of the STC system reduced the brake specific fuel consumption (BSFC) by 3.12% averagely. The average of the exhaust temperature before turbine was decreased by 50°C. The soot and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions were reduced respectively. The examination of the engine performance over an entire engine speed and torque range demonstrated the super performance of the STC system in extending the engine operation toward the high torque at low speed (900 to 1200 RPM) while further improving the fuel economy as expected. The engine maximum torque at 900 rpm was increased from 1680Nm to 2361 Nm (40.5%). The average BSFC over entire working area was improved by 7.4%. The BSFC at low load and high torque was significantly decreased. The application of the STC system also decreased the average NOx emissions by 31.5% when examined on the propeller propulsion cycle.

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