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Engineers in Argonne National Laboratory’s Center for Transportation Research have developed an Engine in-the-Loop (EIL) system to evaluate the impact of vehicle energy management schemes, engine control unit parameters, power train configurations on fuel consumption and emissions. The system can be used with various fuels including gasoline as well as alternative fuels and multiple power trains configurations for advanced vehicles, including hybrids and plug-in hybrids.

Specific research activities include quantifying and comparing emissions and fuel consumption for:

  • Various vehicle energy management strategies.
  • Variation in engine control unit (ECU) parameters (for example - spark timing, fuel injection timing and duration) on the fuel consumption and emissions.
  • Gasoline and blends of ethanol, butanol and other alternative fuels.
  • Different hybrid vehicle architectures (for example - series, parallel, power split).
  • Different power train component sizes, retaining the same engine.

In the EIL system, researchers control an engine – dynamometer such that the engine sees a dynamic load as if in a vehicle. The engine torque is actively used to propel a virtual vehicle on a pre-determined speed trace. Using the model based design approach, Argonne-developed Autonomie simulation software are used to perform these experiments in a closed-loop, real-engine/virtual-vehicle scenario.

EIL system


  1. Transient engine dynamometer (150HP)
  2. Horiba MEXA 7100D raw emissions bench
  3. AVL Sesam FTIR
  4. ReSol Flexible Fuel Supply Cart
  5. ETAS INCA Engine Control Unit (ECU) Calibration Software
  6. Current test engine: 2.2L 4-Cylinder Spark Ignition – Direct Injection Engine

Next: Battery-in-the-loop >


Trade-Offs Between Fuel Economy and NOx Emissions Using Fuzzy Logic Control with a Hybrid CVT Configuration (pdf)

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