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In internal combustion engines, gasoline direct injection is a latest variant of fuel injection employed in modern two- and four- stroke petrol engines. The petrol/gasoline is highly pressurised, and injected via a common rail fuel line directly into the combustion chamber of each cylinder, as opposed to conventional multi-point fuel injection that happens in the intake tract, or cylinder port.

In some applications, gasoline direct injection enables a stratified fuel charge (ultra lean burn) combustion for improved fuel efficiency, and reduced emission levels at low load.

Theory of operation

The major advantages of a GDI engine are increased fuel efficiency and high power output. In addition, the cooling effect of the injected fuel, and the more evenly dispersed mixtures allow for more aggressive ignition timing curves. Emissions levels can also be more accurately controlled with the GDI system. The cited gains are achieved by the precise control over the amount of fuel and injection timings which are varied according to the load conditions. In addition, there are no throttling losses in some GDI engines, when compared to a conventional fuel injected or carbureted engine, which greatly improves efficiency, and reduces 'pumping losses' in engines without a throttle plate. Engine speed is controlled by the engine control unit/engine management system (EMS), which regulates fuel injection function and ignition timing, instead of having a throttle plate which restricts the incoming air supply. Adding this function to the EMS requires considerable enhancement of its processing and memory, as direct injection plus the engine speed management must have very precise algorithms for good performance/driveability.

The engine management system continually chooses among three combustion modes: ultra lean burn, stoichiometric, and full power output. Each mode is characterized by the air-fuel ratio. The stoichiometric air-fuel ratio for petrol (gasoline) is 14.7:1 by weight, but ultra lean mode can involve ratios as high as 65:1 (or even higher in some engines, for very limited periods). These mixtures are much leaner than in a conventional engine and reduce fuel consumption considerably.

  • Ultra lean burn mode is used for light-load running conditions, at constant or reducing road speeds, where no acceleration is required. The fuel is not injected at the intake stroke but rather at the latter stages of the compression stroke, so that the small amount of air-fuel mixture is optimally placed near the spark plug. This stratified charge is surrounded mostly by air which keeps the fuel and the flame away from the cylinder walls for lowest emissions and heat losses. The combustion takes place in a toroidal (donut-shaped) cavity on the piston's surface. This technique enables the use of ultra-lean mixtures impossible with carburetors or conventional fuel injection.
  • Stoichiometric mode is used for moderate load conditions. Fuel is injected during the intake stroke, creating a homogeneous fuel-air mixture in the cylinder. From the stoichiometric ratio, an optimum burn results in a clean exhaust emission, further cleaned by the catalytic converter.
  • Full power mode is used for rapid acceleration and heavy loads (as when climbing a hill). The air-fuel mixture is homogeneous and the ratio is slightly richer than stoichiometric, which helps prevent knock (pinging). The fuel is injected during the intake stroke.

Direct injection may also be accompanied by other engine technologies such as variable valve timing (VVT) and tuned/multi path or variable length intake manifolding (VLIM, or VIM). Water injection or (more commonly) exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) may help reduce the high nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions which can result from burning ultra lean mixtures.

It is also possible to inject more than once during a single cycle. After the first fuel charge has been ignited, it is possible to add fuel as the piston descends. The benfits are more power and economy, but certain octane fuels have been seen to cause exhaust valve erosion. For this reason, most companies have ceased to use the Fuel Stratified Injection (FSI) operation during normal running.

Tuning up an FSI power plant to generate higher power is difficult, since the only time it is possible to inject fuel is during the induction phase. Conventional injection engines can inject throughout the 4 stroke sequence, as the injector squirts onto the back of a closed valve. A direct injection engine, where the injector injects directly into the cylinder is limited to the suction stroke of the piston. As the RPM increases, the time available to inject fuel decreases.

History

Early systems

The first use of direct gasoline injection was on the Hesselman engine invented by Swedish engineer Jonas Hesselman in 1925.<ref>Scania fordonshistoria 1891-1991 av Björn-Eric Lindh, 1992. ISBN 91-7886-074-1</ref><ref>Volvo – Lastbilarna igår och idag av Christer Olsson, 1987. ISBN 91-86442-76-7</ref> Hesselman engines used the ultra lean burn principle and injected the fuel in the end of the compression stroke and then ignited it with a spark plug, it was often started on gasoline and then switched over to run on diesel or kerosene. The hesselman engine was a low compression design constructed to run on heavy fuel oils.

Direct gasoline injection was used on production aircraft during WWII, with both German (Daimler Benz) and Soviet (KB Khimavtomatika) designs. The first automotive direct injection system used to run on gasoline was developed by Bosch, and was introduced by Goliath and Gutbrod in 1952. The 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL, the first sports car to use fuel injection, used direct injection. The Bosch fuel injectors were placed into the bores on the cylinder wall used by the spark plugs in other Mercedes-Benz six-cylinder engines (the spark plugs were relocated to the cylinder head). Later, more mainstream applications of fuel injection favoured less expensive indirect injection methods.

During the late 1970s, the Ford Motor Company developed a stratified-charge engine they called "ProCo" (programmed combustion),<ref>"Detroit's "Total Revolution"", TIME magazine, March 19, 1979</ref><ref>"Will gasoline direct injection finally make it?", Csaba Csere, Car and Driver, June 2004</ref> utilizing a unique high pressure pump and direct injectors. One hundred Crown Victoria cars were built at Ford's Atlanta Assembly in Hapeville, Georgia utilizing a ProCo V8 engine. The project was canceled for several reasons; electronic controls, a key element, were in their infancy; pump and injector costs were extremely high; and lean combustion produced nitrogen oxides in excess of near future United States Environmental Protection Agency‎ (EPA) limits. Also, the three way catalytic converter was proven to be a more cost effective solution.

Later systems

It was not until 1996 that gasoline direct injection reappeared in the automotive market. Mitsubishi was the first with a GDI engine in the Japanese market with its Galant/Legnum's 4G93 1.8 L inline-four.<ref>"Latest MMC technologies and near-future goals: GDI - The pursuit of a high-efficiency engine", Mitsubishi Motors website</ref> It was subsequently brought to Europe in 1997 in the Carisma,<ref>"European Launch for GDI CARISMA", Mitsubishi Motors press release, August 29, 1997</ref> although Europe's then high-sulphur unleaded fuel led to emissions problems, and fuel efficiency was less than expected.<ref>"Direct Injection Petrol engine - Mitsubishi GDI", Mark Wan, AutoZine Technical School</ref> It also developed the first six cylinder GDI powerplant, the 6G74 3.5 L V6, in 1997.<ref>"Mitsubishi Motors Adds World First V6 3.5-liter GDI Engine to Ultra-efficiency GDI Series", Mitsubishi Motors press release, April 16, 1997</ref> Mitsubishi applied this technology widely, producing over one million GDI engines in four families by 2001.<ref>"GDI1 engine production tops 1,000,000 unit mark", Mitsubishi Motors press release, September 11, 2001</ref>

In 1998, Toyota's D4 direct injection system first appeared on various Japanese market vehicles equipped with the SZ and NZ engines.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref><ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref><ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> Toyota later introduced its D4 system to European markets with the 1AZ-FSE engine found in the 2001 Avensis.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> and US markets in 2005 with the 3GR-FSE engine found in the Lexus GS 300. Toyota's 2GR-FSE V6 uses a more advanced direct injection system, which combines both direct and indirect injection using two fuel injectors per cylinder, a traditional port fuel injector (low pressure) and a direct fuel injector (high pressure).<ref>http://www2.toyota.co.jp/en/tech/environment/powertrain/engine/</ref> This system known as D-4S or D4 Superior first appeared in the US with the launch of the Lexus IS 350.

In 1999, Renault introduced the 2.0 IDE (Injection Direct Essence),<ref>"Yahoo Cars - Renault Megane Cabriolet 1997-2003"</ref> first on the Megane and later on the Laguna. Rather than following the lean burn approach, Renault's design uses high ratios of exhaust gas recirculation to improve economy at low engine loads, with direct injection allowing the fuel to be concentrated around the spark.<ref>"Autozine Technical School"</ref> Later gasoline direct injection engines have been tuned and marketed for their high performance as well as increased fuel efficiency. PSA Peugeot Citroën, Hyundai and Volvo licensed Mitsubishi's GDI technology in 1999, with Hyundai building the first GDI V8.<ref name="media.mitsubishi-motors.com">"Mitsubishi Motors and PSA Peugeot Citroen Reach Agreement on GDI Engine Technical Cooperation", Mitsubishi Motors press release, January 12, 1999</ref><ref>"Mitsubishi Motors Supplies Hyundai Motor Co. with GDI Technology for New V8 GDI Engine", Mitsubishi Motors press release, April 28, 1999</ref> Although other companies have since developed gasoline direct injection engines, the acronym 'GDI' (with an uppercase final "I") remains a registered trademark of Mitsubishi Motors.<ref>"GDI-ASG Pistachio", Mitsubishi Motors press release, September 28, 1999</ref>

In 2000, the Volkswagen Group introduced its gasoline direct injection engine in the Volkswagen Lupo, a 1.4 litre inline-four unit, under the product name "Fuel Stratified Injection" (FSI). The technology was adapted from Audi's Le Mans prototype race car R8. Volkswagen Group marques use direct injection in its 2.0 L FSI turbocharged and naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engines. Later, a 2.0 litre inline-four unit was introduced in the model year 2003 Audi A4. All new petrol engines from the mainstream marques of Volkswagen Group now use this FSI technology. PSA Peugeot Citroën introduced its first GDi (HPi) engine in 2000 in the Citroën C5 and Peugeot 406. It was a 2.0-liter 16-valve EW10 D unit with 140 hp, the system was licensed from Mitsubishi.<ref name="media.mitsubishi-motors.com"/>

In 2001, Ford introduced its first European Ford engine to use direct injection technology, badged SCi (Smart Charge injection) for Direct-Injection-Spark-Ignition (DISI).<ref name="SCi">Ford of Europe showcases most extensive range ever at the 2002 Paris Show, Media.ford.com, 2002-09-26.</ref> The range will include some turbocharged derivatives, including the 1.1-litre, three-cylinder turbocharged unit showcased at the 2002 Geneva Show.<ref name="SCi" /> This new 1.8-litre Duratec SCi naturally aspirated engine will make its production debut in the Ford Mondeo in 2003.<ref name="SCi" />

In 2002, Alfa Romeo introduced its first direct-injection engine, the JTS (Jet Thrust Stoichiometric),<ref name="italiaspeed.com">Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> and today the technology is used on almost every Alfa Romeo engine.

In 2003, BMW introduced a low-pressure gasoline direct injection N73 V12.<ref>http://www.thecarconnection.com/fullreview/bmw_7-series_2003</ref> This initial BMW setup could not enter lean-burn mode, but the company introduced its second-generation High Precision Injection (HPI) system on the updated N52 straight-6 in 2006 which used high-pressure injectors.<ref>http://www.greencarcongress.com/2006/03/bmw_unveils_new.html</ref> This system surpasses many others with a wider envelope of lean-burn time, increasing overall efficiency.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:mdy|}}</ref> In 2007, BMW released the new N54 twin-turbo-charged direct injection engine for its 335i Coupe and later for the 335i Sedan, 535i series and the 135i models.<ref>BMW Direct Injection in 335i turbo engine</ref> PSA is cooperating with BMW on a new line of engines which made its first appearance in the 2007 MINI Cooper S. Honda released their own direct injection system on the Stream sold in Japan.<ref name="honda2003">Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> Honda's fuel injector is placed directly atop the cylinder at a 90 degree angle rather than a slanted angle.<ref name="honda2003"/>

Since 2004, General Motors has released three such direct injected engines: in 2004, a 155 hp version of the 2.2 L Ecotec used in the Opel/Vauxhall Vectra and Signum in 2005, a 2.0 L turbocharged Ecotec for the new Opel GT, Pontiac Solstice GXP, and the Saturn Sky Red Line, in 2007 the same engine was used in the Super Sport versions of the Chevrolet Cobalt and the HHR. Also in 2007, the 3.6 L LLT became available in the redesigned Cadillac CTS and STS. The 3.6 L was added to the 2009 model GMC Acadia, Chevrolet Traverse, Saturn Outlook, Buick Enclave and the 2010 Chevy Camaro. In 2004 Isuzu produced the first GDi engine sold in a mainstream American vehicle, standard on the 2004 Axiom and optional on the 2004 Rodeo. Isuzu claimed the benefit of GDi is that the vaporizing fuel has a cooling effect, allowing a higher compression ratio (10.3:1 versus 9.1:1) that boosts output by 20 hp, and that 0-to-60 mph times drop from 8.9 to just 7.5 seconds, with the quarter-mile being cut from 16.5 to 15.8 seconds.<ref>"Isuzu Direct-Injection V6", Popular Science, 2003</ref>

In 2005, Mazda began to use their own version of direct-injection in the Mazdaspeed6 and later on the CX-7 sport-utility, and the new Mazdaspeed3 in the US and European market. It is referred to as Direct Injection Spark Ignition (DISI).

In 2006, Mercedes-Benz released its direct injection system (CGI) on the CLS 350 featuring piezo-electric fuel injectors.<ref>http://www.emercedesbenz.com/Feb06/24WorldPremierOfMercedesCLS30CGI.html</ref>

In 2007, Ford introduced its new Ford EcoBoost engine technology designed for a range of global vehicles (from small cars to large trucks). The engine first appeared in the 2007 Lincoln MKR Concept under the name TwinForce.<ref name="EcoBoost">Ford Motor Company. Ford to equip half a million vehicles with EcoBoost engine technology for up to 20% better fuel economy", Media.ford.com, 2008-01-06.</ref> The new global EcoBoost family of 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder engines features turbocharging and direct injection technology (GTDI - Gasoline Turbocharged Direct Injection).<ref name="EcoBoost" /> A 2.0-litre version was unveiled in the 2008 Ford Explorer America Concept.<ref name="EcoBoost" />

In 2009, Ferrari began selling the front-engine California with a direct injection system, and announced that it's new 458 Italia car will also feature a direct injection system, a first for Ferrari mid-rear engine setups.<ref name="motor authority first look">{{

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}}</ref> Porsche also began selling the non-turbocharged 997's and Cayman equipped with direct injection. Ford produced the new generation Taurus SHO and Flex with a 3.5 L twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6 with direct injection.<ref>Edmunds, Dan "Ford's Taurus Recovery Plan Gets Some Teeth" Edmunds Inside Line 2009-06-17, retrieved on 2009-07-60.</ref>

In two-stroke engines

The benefits of direct injection are even more pronounced in two-stroke engines, because it eliminates much of the pollution they cause. In conventional two-strokes, the exhaust and intake ports are both open at the same time, at the bottom of the piston stroke. A large portion of the fuel/air mixture entering the cylinder from the crankcase through the intake ports goes directly out, unburned, through the exhaust port. With direct injection, only air comes from the crankcase, and fuel is not injected until the piston rises and all ports are closed.

Two types of GDi are used in two-strokes: low-pressure air-assisted, and high pressure. The former, developed by Orbital Engine Corporation of Australia (now Orbital Corporation) injects a mixture of fuel and compressed air into the combustion chamber. When the air expands it atomizes the fuel into 8-micrometre droplets, very small relative to the 20 to 30-micrometre fuel droplets in other direct injection systems. The Orbital system is used in motor scooters manufactured by Aprilia, Piaggio, Peugeot and Kymco, in outboard motors manufactured by Mercury and Tohatsu, and in personal watercraft manufactured by Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP).

In the early 1990s, Ficht GmbH of Kirchseeon, Germany developed a high-pressure direct injector for use with two stroke engines. This injector was unique in that it did not require a high pressure pump but was still capable of generating enough pressure to inject into a closed combustion chamber. Outboard Marine Corporation (OMC) licensed the technology in 1995 and introduced it on a production outboard engine in 1996.<ref>"OMC and Ficht announce strategic alliance", PR Newswire, July 24, 1995</ref><ref>" OMC Ficht fuel injection engines hit the market", PR Newswire, July 31, 1996</ref> OMC purchased a controlling interest in Ficht in 1998.<ref>"Marriage Made in Boat Heaven", Sarasota Herald-Tribune, December 26, 1998</ref> Beset by extensive warranty claims for its Ficht outboards and prior and concurrent management-financial problems, OMC declared bankruptcy in December 2000 and the engine manufacturing portion and brands (Evinrude Outboard Motors and Johnson Outboards), including the Ficht technology, were purchased by BRP in 2001.<ref>"Canadian, German Companies Buy Assets of Waukegan, Ill., Boating Company", St. Louis Post-Dispatch, March 26, 2001</ref><ref>OMC Bankruptcy Sets Consumers Adrift | Boat/US Magazine | Find Articles at BNET.com</ref>

Evinrude introduced the E-Tec system, an improvement to the Ficht fuel injection, in 2003, based on U.S. patent 6,398,511. In 2004, Evinrude received the EPA Clean Air Excellence Award for their outboards utilizing the E-Tec system.<ref>"2004 Clean Air Excellence Awards Recipients", EPA website, 2004</ref> The E-Tec system has recently also been adapted for use in performance two-stroke snowmobiles.

Yamaha also has a high-pressure direct injection (HPDI) system for two-stroke outboards. It differs from the Ficht/E-Tec and Orbital direct injection systems because it uses a separate, belt driven, high pressure, mechanical fuel pump to generate the pressure necessary for injection in a closed chamber. This is similar to most current 4-stroke automotive designs.

EnviroFit, a non-profit corporation sponsored by Colorado State University, has developed direct injection retrofit kits for two-stroke motorcycles in a project to reduce air pollution in Southeast Asia, using technology developed by Orbital Corporation of Australia.<ref>Envirofit works to retrofit the Philippines</ref> The World Health Organization says air pollution in Southeast Asia and the Pacific causes 537,000 premature deaths each year. The 100-million two-stroke taxis and motorcycles in that part of the world are a major cause.<ref>Ernasia project - Asian City Air Pollution Data Are Released</ref><ref>Retrofitting Engines Reduces Pollution, Increases Incomes | Worldwatch Institute</ref>

Future

Twin-fuel engines

Code named Bobcat the new twin-fuel engine from Ford. It is based on a 5.0L V8 engine block, but it uses E85 cylinder injection and gasoline port injection. The engine was co-developed with Ethanol Boosting Systems, LLC of Cambridge, Massachusetts, which calls its trademarked process DI Octane Boost. The direct injection of ethanol increases the octane of regular gasoline from 88-91 octane to more than 150 octane. The Bobcat project was unveiled in Department of Energy and Society of Automotive Engineers in April 2009.<ref>Sneak Peek! Ford's "Bobcat" Dual Fuel Engine</ref><ref>Ford’s Twin-Fuel ‘Bobcat’ Engine Could Replace Power Stroke Diesels</ref>

See also

External links