Technical Briefs

Carbon Capture for Automobiles Using Internal Combustion Rankine Cycle Engines

[+] Author and Article Information
Robert W. Bilger

School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering, The University of Sydney, New South Wales 2006, Australiabilger@aeromech.usyd.edu.au

Zhijun Wu

School of Automotive Studies, Tongji University, Shanghai 201804, P. R. Chinazjwu@mail.tongji.edu.cn

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power 131(3), 034502 (Feb 10, 2009) (4 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3077657 History: Received April 10, 2008; Revised September 30, 2008; Published February 10, 2009

Internal combustion Rankine cycle (ICRC) power plants use oxy-fuel firing with recycled water in place of nitrogen to control combustion temperatures. High efficiency and specific power output can be achieved with this cycle, but importantly, the exhaust products are only CO2 and water vapor: The CO2 can be captured cheaply on condensation of the water vapor. Here we investigate the feasibility of using a reciprocating engine version of the ICRC cycle for automotive applications. The vehicle will carry its own supply of oxygen and store the captured CO2. On refueling with conventional gasoline, the CO2 will be off-loaded and the oxygen supply replenished. Cycle performance is investigated on the basis of fuel-oxygen-water cycle calculations. Estimates are made for the system mass, volume, and cost and compared with other power plants for vehicles. It is found that high thermal efficiencies can be obtained and that huge increases in specific power output are achievable. The overall power-plant system mass and volume will be dominated by the requirements for oxygen and CO2 storage. Even so, the performance of vehicles with ICRC power plants will be superior to those based on fuel cells and they will have much lower production costs. Operating costs arising from supply of oxygen and disposal of the CO2 are expected to be around 20 c/l of gasoline consumed and about $25/tonne of carbon controlled. Over all, ICRC engines are found to be a potentially competitive option for the powering of motor vehicles in the forthcoming carbon-controlled energy market.

Copyright © 2009 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Grahic Jump Location
Figure 1

Ideal indicator diagram for a specimen ICRC engine




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