ECI Distribution GmbH, Austria
By Konrad Schweiger, sales engineer, Dewesoft Austria

To simplify their daily work the gas engine service company ECI Distribution GmbH is using Dewesoft measurement equipment. The company offers gas engine components exclusively developed and designed for the company with the aim of improving the lifetime of spare parts as well as the overall engine performance and efficiency.

The Dewesoft Combustion Engine Analyzer solution and Modbus communication bring the flexibility and connectivity needed.

The Jenbacher biogas motor/generator unit under inspectionThe Jenbacher biogas motor/generator unit under inspection

Engine Competence International-Distribution (ECI Distribution) is an energy engineering company that specializes in high-tech products and solutions for gas engines with customers in more than 40 countries. ECI provides its own special-designed gas engine components. This service prolongs the lifetime of customer spare parts and improves engine performance and efficiency. The customers benefit from reduced maintenance costs, engine efficiency, and reliability.

ECI Distribution Logo

ECI-Distribution´s key product components such as cylinder heads, connecting rods, pre-chambers, spark plug sleeves are produced by ECI-Manufacturing. By optimizing existing technologies and developing new concepts, ECI-Distribution maximizes generation output while complying with the low emission guidelines.

The company also offers consulting services in gas engine solutions using alternative and efficient concepts of technology, engineering, and elaborating solutions to different markets and application requirements that will meet specific customer expectations.

The ECI-Distribution engineers continuously strive to extend the lifetime of spare parts to lower the cost of overall maintenance. The skilled sales and product support team recognize all aspects of the gas engine business. Whatever the application, they have the experience to provide solutions for commercial as well as technical challenges. 

The Problem and Testing Application

Gas engines will accompany the future energy market, as their flexibility and reliability play a vital role in an even sustainable and stable energy strategy. Such gas-driven power engines can be driven by gasses from landfill sites or industrial waste, biogas or natural gas to generate electricity - without burning fuel, and without the exhaust emissions associated. 

This case relates the measurement on a J312 Jenbacher 12-cylinder biogas motor/generator unit, manufactured at GE INNIO’s headquarter in Jenbach, Austria, and used at a farm for producing both electricity and heat. The J312 - the size of which is 4.7 x 1.8 x 2.3 meters - is capable of producing baseload power at the rate of 579 kW/480V/60Hz and hot water at a rate of 2454 MBTU/h (720 kWh at 140 F degrees (90 C degrees).

J312 Jenbacher 12-cylinder biogas motor/generator unitJ312 Jenbacher 12-cylinder biogas motor/generator unit

Jenbacher gas engines have a power range of 200 kW to 10 MW and run on either natural gas or a number of other gases. They furnish onsite power, heat, and cooling for a variety of commercial, industrial, and municipal applications – particularly renewable and waste-to-energy, industrial power generation and cogeneration/CHP (combined heat and power), and oilfield power generation. More than 52,000 Jenbacher gas engines have been delivered in 100-plus countries.

The particular standard unit, in this case, has been modified by ECI Distribution GmbH. Instead of the OEM 2-valve-cylinder head, an ECI EVE 4-valve-cylinder head is used, boosting the electrical efficiency by 2.5%. The given Genset has an electrical output of 550 kW. 
At the customer site, there is the need for an efficient, quick, and easy to set up, a measurement system with immediate visualization, in order to minimize engine downtime and the loss of money.

Dewesoft Combustion Analyzer Solution

With the Dewesoft Combustion Engine Analyzer solution – a combination of Dewesoft X data acquisition software with a plugin and a SIRIUS data acquisition device - data collection and visualization is just a matter of minutes.

Video demonstrating SIRIUS DAQ device and Dewesoft X software and how easy it makes to perform measurements

Measurement setup

ECI Distribution GmbH uses this data acquisition system and sensors testing setup:

  • SIRIUSi-8xSTG+ measurement instrument
    SIRIUSi-8xSTG universal input data acquisition system
  • 3x DSI-CHG-50 DSI adaptersDSI Charge Adapter
  • 3 x AVL cylinder pressure sensor GH14D with M5 screw
  • 1 x Ignition voltage per voltage divider
  • 1 x Crank angle sensor installed on the engine with 164 pulses and zero pulses; connected to SIRIUS SuperCounter® input
  • Dewesoft X3 data acquisition and analysis software
  • Combustion Engine Analyzer module (Base + Advanced)
    Pressure
    Online calculation
    Adjustable cylinders
    Heat Release
    Knocking
    Filter
    Additional analog inputs
  • Modbus Master Plugin TCP/IP
  • Remote network connection per VNC client

Dewesoft SIRIUS measurement instrument connected to the engine control system

SIRIUSi Combustion Engine Analyzer systems are used for engine research, development and optimization, and even for component development and testing – such as ignition systems, exhaust systems, and valve control gear. The system consists of isolated SIRIUSi DAQ hardware and the Dewesoft X data acquisition software package for measurement and analysis with a specially designed plugin for combustion engine analysis.

The galvanic isolation of the SIRIUS isolated DAQ system explained

Such a system supports angle and time-based measurement results and uses highly sophisticated algorithms for online or offline mathematics and statistics – calculating heat release and other thermodynamic parameters. The Combustion Engine Analyzer can be fully integrated within a testbed and also supports data from other data sources like Video, CAN and CAN FD bus, XCP, Ethernet, … Data can be exported to several different file formats.

In addition to combustion analysis, the system can be expanded to handle other measurement applications such as hybrid testing on the powertrain, noise, and vibration measurement together with synchronized video or GPS data.  

Pressure sensors are used to measure the cylinder pressure of the engine. Depending on the sensor type, these can be directly connected to the SIRIUSi amplifier like any other input channel or through external signal conditioning amplifiers. Additionally, an angle sensor is needed for getting angle domain measurement results. 

Measurements

For this measurement, a sampling rate of 200kS/s was used. Three of the 12 cylinders have been applied with cylinder pressure sensors. In the additional channels the ignition voltage has been specified, to get the signal in angle-domain and overlay to the compression curve. The customer was impressed by the high angular resolution of down to 0,025 degrees and the easy integration of the ECI Engine control’s Modbus TCP interface

The new 4-valve cylinder heads and the inserted AVL cylinder pressure sensor

As the biogas motor/generator unit generates also heat and noise next to electricity, the customer connected per network and VNC Client remotely from the control room.

Analysis Results

The Dewesoft instrument provides a helpful tool for the service company ECI Distribution GmbH to adapt and optimize the motor parameters over the operational range after the engine upgrade.

Dewesoft X - combustion pressure curves with overlayed injection in angle-domain, pV-diagramLive displayed combustion pressure curves with overlayed injection in angle-domain, pV-diagram, Modbus, and analog raw data. All data sources are automatically synchronized.

Conclusion 

Since the daily work of the customer requires flexibility to fit the various types of machines, the SIRIUS universal STG input module and the possibility for a future extension by DSI smart sensor adapters, and other Dewesoft X software plugins (Siemens S7, OPC UA, …) provides the best interconnectivity.

The galvanic isolation of the channels guarantees safety and better signal quality for the different environments.

The flexibility of the Dewesoft DAQ devices and software helps the ECI-Distribution to make daily work more effective and to focus on its core know-how, the parameter optimization.