U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Advanced Manufacturing Office – Industrial Distributed Energy

Advanced Reciprocating Engine Systems

Example of an active ARES project led by a major engine manufacturer. This project focuses on the development of advanced natural gas fueled engines for power generation that combine high efficiency, low emissions, fuel flexibility, and reduced cost of ownership.  Phase I of the Cummins reciprocating engine was completed with the successful demonstration of this QSK60G engine.

Cummins QSK60G engine incorporates technical improvements developed through the Advanced Reciprocating Engine Systems program.

The Advanced Reciprocating Engine Systems (ARES) program is designed to promote separate but parallel engine development between the major stationary, gaseous fueled engine manufacturers in the United States. The program promotes cooperation between engine manufacturers, universities, national laboratories, and engine consultants to obtain maximum engine efficiency and low emissions from natural gas reciprocating engines for power generation.

The ARES program focuses on improving reciprocating engines (piston­-driven electrical power generation systems) in the 0.5-5 megawatt (MW) range. In collaboration with national laboratories, university research centers, and private companies, DOE has improved medium-speed natural gas engines for distributed energy applications. Current research aims to increase their energy efficiency, reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, and reduce operating and maintenance costs. The program has made great progress in these areas, paving the way for more cost-competitive equipment.

Our researchers have tested engines and produced analytical computer models to upgrade engines, pistons, piston rings, and cylinder liners and to improve ignition systems and reduce friction. They have achieved a more comprehensive understanding of ignition systems, especially at the point of ignition and the beginning of the power cycle. As a result, they have designed, developed, tested, and produced advanced reciprocating engines that approach DOE performance targets for industrial and commercial applications. A number of these engine systems have been installed at commercial sites.

For more information, please read the ARES program fact sheetPDF.

For information about DOE accomplishments in this technology area over the last decade, please see Combined Heat and Power: A Decade of Progress, A Vision for the FuturePDF.

Research partners described their projects, shared objectives, and reported their progress during a Portfolio Review in June 2011.