Subproject 1: Multi-scale control of the low-temperature combustion process GCAI

At the Institute of Automatic Control (IRT) of RWTH Aachen University, model predictive algorithms for the operation of combustion engines, in which the implementation of a homogeneous mixture is initiated by a controlled auto-ignition, are developed and investigated.

Combined with internal exhaust gas recirculation, the combustion initiated without ignition spark support leads overall to a significant reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions as well as to efficiency and thus consumption benefits.

Due to the lack of a direct ignition initiator, the start of combustion is strongly dependent on the mixture condition, which is why control measures in particular are promising for achieving stable operation, even under the highly transient conditions typical of engine applications.

The focus in subproject 1 is on coupling different time scales by using already available measured variables within the combustion cycle for an inner-cycle control intervention.

In addition, the combination of physically motivated basic equations with data-driven model components is investigated in order to generate models adapted to the real test vehicle, which are suitable for controller-internal, embedded optimization in the millisecond range.

Finally, the explicit consideration of significant process variance in the model predictive control represents a research aspect that can make a decisive contribution to the stabilization of the process.

Goals in the second funding period

  • Objective 1: Investigate methods to improve the predictive quality of models
  • Objective 2: Investigation of methods to increase robustness in transient operation
  • Objective 3: Experimentally test multi-scale control on single-cylinder research engine

Highlights of the first funding period

  • Experimental validation of a linear model-predictive control system with the addition of direct water injection on the single-cylinder research engine
  • Development of control concepts with multi-scale character for low-temperature combustion processes in engine applications
  • Optimization-based combustion process shaping by multiple injection on the compression-ignition full engine of the IDSC at ETH Zurich*

* In the second funding period, the work on partially homogenized low-temperature combustion will be continued in subproject 7 (TP7)

Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dirk Abel
Subproject Leader


Rudolf Popp, M. Sc.
Group Leader


Xu Chen, M. Sc.
Research Associate