Cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) is a viable technique to mitigate the knock occurrence, to improve the fuel consumption and to reduce the nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions of spark-ignition engines. This work aims at investigating the effects of a low-pressure cooled EGR system on the performance and exhaust emissions of a small-size turbocharged SI engine through numerical and experimental analyses. First, the experiments are carried out at a speed of 3000 rpm and different engine loads. The standard engine calibration is applied at the reference test conditions. Then, the EGR system is activated and the load is controlled by adjusting the plenum pressure and the spark timing. The experimental results are used to validate a 1D engine model, developed in GT-Power™. The latter is integrated with “user-defined” sub-models for an accurate description of the in-cylinder processes, namely turbulence, combustion and heat transfer. Maximum EGR benefits over fuel consumption are achieved at low load, thanks to the reduction of the pumping losses. At high load, minor fuel consumption improvements are obtained, mainly arising from a slight increased knock resistance. Furthermore, increasing EGR rate results in a sensible NOx reduction at each engine load, with a slight penalty on the unburned hydrocarbon emission.
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