Title:
Fuel pump boost system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A fuel delivery system includes a fuel pump, a controller, and a boost circuit. The fuel pump has an electric motor that includes a winding configured to operate with a maximum efficiency at a first voltage for an expected load. The controller includes a pulse width modulator for generating a driving signal for the electric motor. Under normal operating conditions, the boost circuit acts as a pass-through and the driving signal is modulated at the first voltage to control the pump output. However, when a load greater than the expected load is applied to the electric motor, the boost circuit acts to scale the driving signal to a second voltage that is greater than the first voltage. The second voltage drives the electric motor at a voltage beyond the maximum efficiency but provides overall improved system efficiency.



Inventors:
Kempfer, Stephen T. (Canton, MI, US)
Knight, James (Ypsilanti, MI, US)
Thompson, James L. (Ypsilanti, MI, US)
Application Number:
11/142587
Publication Date:
12/07/2006
Filing Date:
06/01/2005
Assignee:
Visteon Global Technologies, Inc.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F04B49/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MOULIS, THOMAS N
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MACMILLAN, SOBANSKI & TODD, LLC - FORD (TOLEDO, OH, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A fuel delivery system comprising: a fuel pump having an electric motor, the electrical motor includes a winding configured to operate with a maximum efficiency at a first voltage for an expected load; a controller configured to generate a driving signal for the electric motor, the driving signal corresponding to a fuel demand; and wherein the controller is configured to operate the electric motor at a second voltage when a load greater than the expected load is applied to the electric motor, the second voltage being greater than the first voltage, and the electric motor is configured operate at an efficiency less than the maximum efficiency at the second voltage.

2. The fuel delivery system according to claim 1, wherein the controller includes a pulse width modulator for controlling the driving signal, and the pulse width modulator is configured to vary the duty cycle of the driving signal based on the fuel demand.

3. The fuel delivery system according to claim 1, further comprising a boost circuit in electrical communication with the controller to receive the driving signal, the boost circuit being configured to scale the driving signal to the second voltage when the load greater than the expected load is applied to the electric motor.

4. The fuel delivery system according to claim 1, further comprising a power supply having a supply voltage, is in selective communication with the motor to scale the driving signal to the second voltage.

5. The fuel delivery system according to claim 4, wherein the first voltage is lower than the supply voltage.

6. The fuel delivery system according to claim 4, wherein the second voltage is equal to the supply voltage.

7. The fuel delivery system according to claim 1, wherein the controller is configured to receive a feedback signal and configured to operate the motor at the second voltage based on the feedback signal.

8. The fuel delivery system according to claim 7, wherein feedback signal is a fuel pressure feedback signal.

9. A fuel delivery system comprising: a fuel pump having an electric motor, the electrical motor includes a winding configured to operate with a maximum efficiency at a first voltage for an expected load; a controller including a pulse width modulator for generating a driving signal for the electric motor, the pulse width modulator being configured to vary the duty cycle of the driving signal based on a fuel demand; and a boost circuit in electrical communication with the controller to receive the driving signal, the boost circuit being configured to scale the driving signal to a second voltage when a load greater than the expected load is applied to the electric motor and the electric motor operating at an efficiency less than the maximum efficiency, and wherein the second voltage is greater than the first voltage.

10. The fuel delivery system according to claim 9, further comprising a power supply having a supply voltage, is in selective communication with the motor to scale the driving signal to the second voltage.

11. The fuel delivery system according to claim 10, wherein the first voltage is lower than the supply voltage.

12. The fuel delivery system according to claim 10, wherein the second voltage is equal to the supply voltage.

13. The fuel delivery system according to claim 9, wherein the controller is configured to receive a feedback signal and configured to operate the motor at the second voltage based on the feedback signal.

14. The fuel delivery system according to claim 13, wherein feedback signal is a fuel pressure feedback signal.

Description:

BACKGROUND

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention generally relates to a fuel delivery system with improved efficiency.

2. Description of Related Art

Current automotive fuel delivery systems include: mechanical return, mechanical return-less, electronic multiple speed return and electronic return-less fuel systems (ERFS). In each fuel delivery system, pump components have to be sized to provide the maximum flow required by the engine at full load condition. Generally, electric motors are wound for maximum efficiency at an optimal rated voltage for a given load. For mechanical systems the optimal rated voltage is supplied to the motor and the pressure in the fuel system is regulated to provide the desired fuel flow rate. In electronic fuel systems (EFS) the motor is selected such that in a wide open throttle (WOT) condition the motor is supplied the optimal rated voltage. Often fuel flow is controlled electronically by pulse width modulating (PWM) the fuel pump resulting in a signal with a supply voltage equal to the optimal rated voltage modulated by a duty cycle (0 to 100%). The pump speed and fuel flow are reduced to supply only the fuel required for less than WOT or full load conditions. Alternatively, an analog signal may be provided to the motor that is less than the optimized voltage by electronically bucking the signal. Reducing the duty cycle or bucking the drive signal for the motor can result in electrical inefficiencies in the fuel delivery system.

In view of the above, it is apparent that there exists a need for a fuel delivery system with improved efficiency.

SUMMARY

In satisfying the above need, as well as overcoming the enumerated drawbacks and other limitations of the related art, the present invention provides a fuel delivery system with improved efficiency.

The fuel delivery system includes a fuel pump, a controller, and a boost circuit. The fuel pump has an electric motor that includes a winding configured to operate with a maximum efficiency at a first voltage for an expected load, such as a flow rate that satisfies the fuel demand for 90% of the drive cycle. The controller includes a pulse width modulator for generating a driving signal for the electric motor. The pulse width modulator is configured to vary the duty cycle of the driving signal based on a fuel demand. Under normal operating conditions, such as a fuel demand within 90% of the drive cycle, the boost circuit acts as a pass-through and the driving signal is modulated at the first voltage to control the pump output. However, when a load greater than the expected load is applied to the electric motor, such as a fuel demand in the remaining 10% of the drive cycle, the boost circuit acts to scale the driving signal to a second voltage that is greater than the first voltage. The second voltage drives the electric motor at a voltage beyond the maximum efficiency, but provides overall improved system efficiency.

In one aspect of the present invention, the fuel pump can be operated for most of the drive cycle without any need for electronics and, therefore, eliminates the electronic losses in conventional PWM systems.

In another aspect of the present invention, the system will be more efficient at nominal operation and under full load conditions because the pump will be designed for low voltage operation. Thus, at higher flow the fuel pump will be operated at a higher and more efficient voltage than a conventional EFS. This strategy allows for improved low voltage start or pressure rise conditions as required. Further, system components may be reduced in some fuel system hardware architectures.

Further objects, features and advantages of this invention will become readily apparent to persons skilled in the art after a review of the following description, with reference to the drawings and claims that are appended to and form a part of this specification.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a fuel pump system in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a bar chart illustrating the efficiency of a fuel pump system in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a control flow diagram of a fuel delivery system in accordance with the present invention; and

FIG. 4 is a control flow diagram of a fuel delivery system including a feedback loop in accordance with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring now to FIG. 1, a system embodying the principles of the present invention is illustrated therein and designated at 10. As its primary components, the system 10 includes a fuel pump 12 and a control circuit 14.

The control circuit 14 is configured to generate a driving signal for the electric motor 12. The electric motor 12 is wound to operate with a maximum efficiency at a first voltage for a typical operating load, such as 90 liters per hour which would cover 90% of the vehicle drive cycle. The control circuit 14 includes a controller 18 and a boost circuit 20. A pulse width modulator 22 of the controller 18 provides the driving signal to the boost circuit 20. Under normal operation, the boost circuit 22 passes the driving signal through to the motor 12 without modification. If the fuel demand is lower than the typical demand, for instance less than 90 liters per hour, the pulse width modulator 22 provides a signal with a duty cycle that lowers the output of the motor 12. However, when the fuel demand increases, the load on the motor 12 also increases requiring more motor output. Accordingly, the boost circuit 20 is configured to receive the driving signal from the pulse width modulator 22 and scale the driving signal to a second voltage that is greater than the first voltage. The boost circuit 20 is in communication with a power supply 16, such as the vehicle battery, to provide the second voltage. In one example, the first voltage may be less than the vehicle battery voltage such as 6 volts. In this case, the second voltage could be equal to a vehicle battery voltage, such as 12 volts. In another example, the first voltage could be equal to the battery voltage and the second voltage provided by the power supply 16 could be a stepped up voltage, such as 17 volts. In either case, the motor would be configured to run at maximum efficiency at the first voltage for a typical load, such as a typical fuel demand, and provide an additional voltage overdriving the motor 12 when the load exceeds the expected load for a typical fuel demand.

The architecture illustrated in FIG. 1 and described above changes the way the fuel pump is controlled, as compared to conventional electronic fuel systems, allowing the fuel pump voltage to be boosted or increased when required, for example, during increased load conditions. This allows maximum pump efficiency under nominal drive conditions (the required fuel demand for 90 percent of the time a vehicle is in service), rather than at full pump output. Supplying a voltage greater than system voltage to the pump allows the pump to provide fuel flow at full load conditions. Using a fuel pump with components configured to deliver the required fuel for the nominal drive cycle conditions at system voltage provides optimal fuel pump efficiency.

Now referring to FIG. 2, a bar graph is provided showing the power required and percent efficiency for a mechanical return fuel system, a two-speed fuel system, and the boost architecture provided in FIG. 1. Further, Table 1 and the equations provided below illustrate the methodology used to form the comparison between the architectures.

TABLE 1
Rated flow > 174Pump atPump atPump at
liters perMRFS12Pump at1712
hourBaselinevolt8.5 voltvolt boostvolt
Drive cycle 100%  10%  90%  10%  90%
(est. % at
each speed)
Pump flow,1951959019590
average new
(liters per
hour)
Pump500500500500500
Pressure
Pump22.6%22.6%17.5%18.0%23.1%
Efficiency
Pump Voltage12128.51712
Current at9.999.998.408.854.5
pump
Pump power119.9119.971.43150.4554.0
consumption
(watts)
Current at9.999.996.1413.64.5
controller

The equations provided below can be used to compare the efficiency between the three aforementioned fuel systems. More specifically, equations 1-4 can be used to compare the efficiency of the MRFS to the 2-Speed fuel system. The base efficiency of a mechanical returnless fuel system can be calculated according to equation 1 by substituting in the values from Table 1.
Base efficiency of MRFS=(195×500)/12×9.99×3600=22.6% (1)

Equation 2 provides the average effective current for a 2-speed fuel system over the drive cycle. Accordingly, current savings of the 2-speed fuel system over the mechanical returnless fuel system is illustrated in FIG. 3. Further, the effective efficiency of the 2-speed fuel system can be calculated according to equation 4 by substituting in the values from Table 1.
2-Speed current=9.99×(10%)+6.14×(90%)=6.52 A (2)

Accordingly, current savings of the 2-speed fuel system over the mechanical returnless fuel system is illustrated by equation 3.
Savings of 2-Speed over base MRFS=9.99−6.52=3.47 A (3)

Further, the average effective efficiency of the 2-speed fuel system over the drive cycle can be calculated according to equation 4 by substituting in the values from Table 1.
Effective efficiency of 2-Speed=(195×500)/12×6.52×3600=34.62% (4)

Equations 5-7 can be used to compare the efficiency of the MRFS to the boost architecture of FIG. 1. The average effective current for the boost architecture can be calculated according to equation 5.
Boost current=13.6×(10%)+4.5=(90%)=5.41 A (5)

Equation 6 provides a current savings of the boost architecture over the mechanical return fuel system.
Savings of Boost over MRFS=9.99−4.5=5.49 A (6)

Lastly, the average effective efficiency of the boost architecture over the drive cycle can be calculated according to equation 7 by substituting in the values from Table 1.
Effective efficiency of Boost =(195×500)/12×5.41×3600=41.74% (7)

For the boost system illustrated in the graph, system consumption is calculated using 90 liters per hour at a 12 volt system voltage to the pump. This system consumption would cover 90% of the vehicle drive cycle, if the maximum fuel demand were 195 liters per hour. To provide a fuel demand of 195 liters per hour would require the 12 volts system voltage plus an additional boost voltage to provide 17 volts for the remaining 10% of the drive cycle.

Bars 30, 32, and 34 relate to a mechanical return fuel system. Bar 30 illustrates the power required to provide 90 liters per hour (covering 90% of the drive cycle). Bar 32 illustrates the power required to provide fuel at 195 liters per hour (typical of WOT and required in less than 10% of the drive cycle). The resulting system efficiency is 22.6% as illustrated by bar 34.

Bars 36, 38, and 40 relate to a system with a 2-speed fuel pump. Bar 36 illustrates the power required to provide 90 liters per hour (covering 90% of the drive cycle). Bar 38 illustrates the power required to provide fuel at 195 liters per hour (required in less than 10% of the drive cycle). The resulting system efficiency for the 2-speed fuel pump is 34.62% as illustrated by bar 40.

Bars 42, 44, and 46 relate to the boost architecture described above. Bar 42 illustrates the power required to provide 90 liters per hour (covering 90% of the drive cycle). Bar 44 illustrates the power required to provide fuel at 195 liters per hour (required in less than 10% of the drive cycle). The resulting system efficiency for the boost architecture is 41.74% as illustrated by bar 46. Accordingly, the improvement system efficiency is significantly improved for the system with the boost architecture.

Now referring to FIG. 3, a control flow diagram of a fuel delivery system 50 including the boost architecture is provided. A supply voltage 52 is provided to the controller (ECU) 54. The controller 54 generates a drive signal that may be pulse width modulated based on the fuel demand. The controller 54 may also include a lookup table that provides an estimated load based on the fuel demand and/or other engine parameters. If the fuel demand indicates an estimated load greater than an expected load for a typical fuel demand, the boost voltage circuit 56 scales the driving signal to generate a boosted signal 58 that is provided to drive the motor of the fuel pump 60.

Now referring to FIG. 4, a control flow diagram of a fuel delivery system 70 is provided including a pressure feedback loop. A supply voltage 72 is provided to the boost circuit 74. If the fuel demand indicates a load equal or less than an expected load for a typical fuel demand, the boost circuit 74 generates a boosted signal 76 that is the same voltage as the driving signal. The boosted signal 76 is provided to drive the fuel pump 78.

A fuel pressure sensor 80 is provided to measure the fuel pressure within the fuel delivery system 70 and generate a feedback signal that is provided to the controller 82. The controller 82 generates a drive signa, that may be pulse width modulated, based on the fuel demand and provided to the boost circuit 74. The boost circuit 74 can then be enabled based on the pressure feedback signal to scale the drive signal 76 generating a boost voltage 76.

In addition the fuel pump should provide flow and pressure at cold temperature and at 6 volts or less. The described boost architecture can provide superior performance under these conditions by boosting voltage to a pre-determined higher voltage.

For example, consider three drive modes (cold start, highway, tip-in/W.O.T) using the boost architecture. At cold start, initially the RPM of the fuel pump motor is low. The boost strategy is applied to the fuel pump, allowing the required fuel pressure and RPM while operating with boost voltage. In cruise mode, the fuel pump operates at the nominal system voltage, with the boost circuit operating as a pass thru only function. During “Tip-in” or WOT mode, the controller recognizes the increased engine fuel requirement and the boost circuit will operate to boost the drive signal to a pre-determined voltage based on specific pump and vehicle requirements.

Pressure response is also addressed with the boost architecture. Pressure response time is improved with a higher voltage applied to the fuel pump. In systems where additional pressure response is needed, an additional boost voltage can be supplied.

In addition, the electronic control module can be designed to pass thru system voltage during nominal drive cycle, thereby reducing EMC induced noise and electronic losses associated with more typical EFS systems during normal drive cycle.

As a person skilled in the art will readily appreciate, the above description is meant as an illustration of implementation of the principles this invention. This description is not intended to limit the scope or application of this invention in that the invention is susceptible to modification, variation and change, without departing from spirit of this invention, as defined in the following claims.