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Engine Dynamometer Test Cells

The ReFUEL Laboratory features two engine dynamometer test cells—one for heavy-duty engines and another for light-duty engines.

Heavy-Duty Engine Dynamometer Test Cell Capabilities

Photo of heavy-duty engine dynamometer test cell in laboratory setting.

Heavy-duty engines are certified as meeting emission regulations by the manufacturer using an engine dynamometer. These protocols, known as the Heavy-Duty Federal Test Procedures (HD-FTP), are highly standardized, and results can be readily compared between laboratories.

Because the heavy-duty engine dynamometer test cell performs the HD-FTP on engines up to 600 hp, advanced fuels can be evaluated in a way that is meaningful to the engine-research community. In addition to testing a wide range of engines operating at speeds up to 6,500 rpm, the test cell enables the testing of motors and transmissions as well.

Its advanced controls and data acquisition systems allow custom tests to be established beyond the FTP. In combination with a combustion analyzer that records information about cylinder pressure and fuel injector valve position, the engine dynamometer can be used to determine the relationship between fuel properties, engine performance, and emissions.

Light-Duty Engine Dynamometer Test Cell Capabilities

Photo of light-duty engine dynamometer test cell in laboratory setting.

The light-duty engine dynamometer test cell was designed as a one-of-a-kind single cylinder research device for light-duty engines operating on biofuels. It utilizes a 75 hp AC dynamometer. Like the heavy-duty engine dynamometer test cell, it can run a series of transient or steady-state cycles.

It includes a single-cylinder engine with a wall-guided SIDI combustion system. A maximum fuel pressure of 6,000 psi allows for the use of future-generation direct injectors while the engine controller provides flexible, independent control for fuel-injection timing, high-pressure fuel delivery, spark timing, and air intake and exhaust.

To learn more about NREL engine testing projects, visit the Data and Resources page.