This paper investigates a purely thermal control system for a 6-cylinder HCCI engine. Thermal energy from exhaust gas and from compression is used to condition the charge for the desired engine output. HCCI engine operation is analyzed with a detailed chemical kinetics based engine cycle simulation code. This cycle simulation code is linked to an optimizer that determines the operating conditions that result in maximum brake thermal efficiency, while meeting the restrictions of low NO X, and peak cylinder pressure. The results show the values of the operating conditions that yield optimum efficiency as a function of brake power for a constant engine speed (1800 rpm). It has been determined that a thermally controlled HCCI engine can successfully operate at high efficiency and low emissions over a wide range of conditions from idle to full load. The results show that a 42% brake thermal efficiency can be reached while the NOx emissions are kept under 2 parts per million. The analytical results shown here are expected to guide the ongoing experimental effort of converting a heavy-duty stationary engine to HCCI mode. The experimental work has the goal of meeting the very aggressive efficiency and emissions targets set by the California Energy Commission (CEC) Advanced Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engine (ARICE) Program.