Biological Systems Engineering


Date of this Version

Spring 1-14-2014


Keller, J. K. 2014. A Cost Effective Method to Create Accurate Engine Performance Maps & Updating the Nebraska Pumping Plant Performance Criteria. MS thesis, University of Nebraska.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Agricultural and Biological Systems Engineering, Under the Supervision of Professor William L. Kranz and Professor Roger M. Hoy. Lincoln, Nebraska: January 2014

Copyright (c) 2014 Jacob Keith Keller


The objective of this paper was to develop a simplified process to create engine performance maps using tractor test data and theoretical modeling techniques. Performance maps for industrial engines can greatly simplify the process of matching engines to their various applications in the most economical way. However, a common performance graph supplied by a manufacturer typically only includes a single performance curve across the range of an engine’s operating speed. The single curve is good for some applications but lacks the needed performance detail at operating conditions other than shown on the performance curve. Extensive testing and resources are required to obtain performance curves at other load conditions. The application of engine performance modeling techniques can save much of the extensive amounts of time and resources required to obtain this data through testing. The results of this research show that tractor performance data can be accurately modeled and adjusted to create engine performance maps. This research also shows how these performance maps can be applied to update the diesel portion of the Nebraska Pumping Plant Performance Criteria (NPPPC). The NPPPC was established and is maintained by the University of Nebraska and has been a useful tool to evaluate irrigation pumping plants’ performance for over 50 years. The NPPPC is a summary of the operating efficiency of all of the components in a pumping plant that create or transmit power. The NPPPC contains criteria for diesel, electricity, gasoline, natural gas, and propane powered pumping plants. The focus of this research was to update the diesel engine portion of the criteria. The results of this research, shows that the diesel portion of the NPPPC should be increased from 3.27 kWh L-1 to 3.36 kWh L-1. As farmers and operators adjust their systems to meet the higher standard they can potentially save $1000s of dollars over the life of an engine.

Advisers: William L. Kranz and Roger M. Hoy