One of the main objectives of #HugYourEngine is to shine a spotlight on individuals who are helping make internal combustion engines cleaner and more efficient. This spotlight is on Antonio García.
Antonio García is an Associate Professor in the Department of Thermal and Reciprocating Engines at the Universitat Politècnica de Valencia, where he develops his teaching responsibilities in the framework of combustion fundamentals. During the last years, his research activities have been focused on Low-Temperature Combustion topics. In particular, an extensive research work on the use of high-efficiency premixed combustion strategy using two-fuels with different auto-ignition characteristics in CI engines. This effort has led to the publication of more than 90 peer-reviewed articles, being an active member in SAE, acting as session organizer, and being a reviewer and author at different events.
Antonio received his M.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the Universitat Politècnica de València. Professor Garcia has been a visiting professor at the Combustion Engines division at Lund University, as well as a visiting researcher at RWTH Aachen University, where he developed relevant work on the implementation of advanced combustion systems in CI engines. In addition, Antonio is Editor in Chief of Results in Engineering Journal, and Associate Editor in Applied Thermal Engineering.
Kelly Senecal (KS): Why did you get started in combustion research?
Antonio Garcia (AG): Since I was little, I liked to play with anything that had some wheels. I was always looking for the biggest slope to go as fast as possible. Fortunately for my parents, I seemed to have better math and physics skills than going fast, so I devoted myself to studying mechanical engineering. Once in college, my interest in engines became greater. Finally, Professors Desantes and Payri gave me the opportunity to begin my doctorate studies in CMT Motores Termicos, focusing on combustion processes in compression ignition engines.
KS: What are you working on now?
AG: Currently my work is divided in two fields. On the one hand, I continue pushing the applicability of new combustion concepts to medium duty compression ignition engines, with what this implies (air loop improvement, calibration, after-treatment, driving cycles ...). In this sense, my work focuses mainly on the use of fuels (regular, bio-fuels and e-fuels) with different reactivity to promote the control of clean combustion process. On the other hand, I work on the development of new hardware for current diesel technology using engines with optical access. My research in this field targets soot and heat transfer reduction. Regardless of the type of work, my research is sponsored mainly by automotive partners. Being in Europe and working with diesel, I feel lucky!!!
KS: What does your lab look like?
AG: I am fortunate to work in one of the best university research laboratories in Europe, CMT Motores Termicos. In particular, for combustion work, CMT owns 14 engine test cells with capacities of up to 450 kW (two of them are climatic chambers), 6 test cells equipped with single-cylinder engines for fundamental combustion research (from 300 cc to 2000 cc), 2 single-cylinder engines with optical access (bowditch type) and a Rapid Compression Expansion Machine. In addition, CMT has different injection test rigs (spray momentum test rig to measure effective velocity and effective area of the nozzle, near-nozzle spray visualization test rig, high pressure and high temperature chamber with continuous flow operation up to 1000 K and 150 bar…) and a dedicated emissions laboratory equipped with different systems for evaluation of gaseous and particulate pollutants.
KS: What’s your favorite type of flame?
AG: Definitely, diffusion flames. Their appearance through the visualization in an optical engine, showing all that light, is attractive. Well, at least I love them!
KS: What’s your favorite fuel?
AG: This question is really difficult for a guy who has spent the last 8 years of his life combining them (gasoline and diesel) inside a cylinder to have the reactivity he wants at any time! My answer would be ... a bit of all fuels :)
KS: What advice would you give students thinking about going into combustion research?
AG: The combustion processes are present in a large variety of the energetic transformations that occur every day in the world. In this sense, having well-trained engineers in this field will be completely necessary in the future. I would advise them to work hard, since their integration in the labor market, and therefore their success, is guaranteed if they are good professionals.
KS: Is the IC Engine dead?
AG: No way. Transport needs a global solution that must be the result of combining different strategies. Of course, electrification will be one of them, but it CAN NOT be the ONLY ONE. Nowadays, in most countries, it is not possible to fulfill the current demand for electric power, considering their industrial and domestic sectors with the exclusive use of renewable energy. Therefore, could society imagine if we add a huge extra demand coming from transportation? For sure, this is not the way to solve CO2 emissions problem. Thus, considering short-medium perspectives in the European Union, it seems that due to air pollution there will be traffic restrictions in big cities that will push the increase of full electric powertrains. This will imply a considerable development of infrastructures and this will take time. Also, shared mobility can have an impact in these cities where parking spaces will get smaller and more expensive. For long distances, hybrids and conventional ICEs using e-fuels will play a more significant role. Fuel delivery infrastructure is already fully available. Hence, the development of more efficient engines (new combustion modes, low heat transfer, advanced after-treatment systems…) together with bio-fuels and e-fuels use should be a relevant part of the integrated and global solution. In my opinion, scientists and professionals must make an important effort in raising awareness in the whole society, and especially in politicians, since they are the ones who make the decisions.
KS: How is your work helping improve fuel efficiency or reduce emissions?
AG: For the last 15 years my main research motivation has been to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions simultaneously. In particular, much of my work has focused on the development of highly premixed low-temperature combustion concepts to avoid NOx and soot, maintaining or improving the efficiency of compression-ignition engines using conventional diesel combustion. In that way, I have studied all the “letters” that you can imagine: HCCI, PCCI, SACI, PPC, RCCI....all these strategies have revealed great potential, overall dual fuel combustion process. Nonetheless, as you can easily check, they are not implemented in production engines. Thus, in recent years I have been focused on solving some of the key issues of these novel combustion modes. Basically, to extend the operation range of dual-fuel combustion to high and full load, to develop strategies for the proper operation of the after-treatment system (overall oxidation of CO and uHC), and to evaluate different boosting and EGR systems. Let me say that now my colleagues and myself at CMT involved on these projects are close to obtain a real demonstrator with great results in terms of emissions, with better efficiency than conventional diesel combustion in the whole engine map. In the near future, my research will integrate the knowledge on multi-mode dual-fuel combustion combined with e-fuels to impact more drastically CO2 emissions.