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Energies 2017, 10(4), 486; doi:10.3390/en10040486

A Decoupled Design Parameter Analysis for Free-Piston Engine Generators

1
School of Mechanical Engineering, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing 100081, China
2
Sir Joseph Swan Centre for Energy Research, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 16 February 2017 / Revised: 20 March 2017 / Accepted: 28 March 2017 / Published: 4 April 2017
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Abstract

The free-piston engine generator (FPEG) is a novel power generation device with an estimated brake efficiency (energy contained in the fuel that is transformed into useful work) of up to 46%, compared to the 25–35% reported in conventional reciprocating engines. This paper seeks to address a major challenge in the development of new and complex technologies—how do we effectively communicate and understand the influence of key design parameters on its operating performance? In this paper, the FPEG is described using a simple numerical model, a model which is reduced to a forced mass-spring vibration system under external excitation, enabling all the major input parameters to be decoupled. It proved that the engine piston position as a function of time and output power could be predicted directly from the input parameters with acceptable accuracy. The influence of the key FPEG design parameters on the piston oscillation characteristics and electric power output can be characterised with respect to one another and summarised. Key design parameters include piston mass, compression stroke length, piston cross sectional area, and electric load. Compared with previous and more complex numerical models, the presented methods can be used to simply describe the sensitivity of key design parameters on the FPEG performance. It will provide useful general guidance for the FPEG hardware design process. View Full-Text
Keywords: free-piston engine; generator; design parameters; numerical model; decoupled analysis free-piston engine; generator; design parameters; numerical model; decoupled analysis
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Jia, B.; Zuo, Z.; Smallbone, A.; Feng, H.; Roskilly, A.P. A Decoupled Design Parameter Analysis for Free-Piston Engine Generators. Energies 2017, 10, 486.

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