System Efficiency Issues for Natural Gas Fueled HCCI Engines in Heavy-Duty Stationary Applications 2002-01-0417
Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) has been proposed for natural gas engines in heavy duty stationary power generation applications. A number of researchers have demonstrated, through simulation and experiment, the feasibility of obtaining high gross indicated thermal efficiencies and very low NOx emissions at reasonable load levels. With a goal of eventual commercialization of these engines, this paper sets forth some of the primary challenges in obtaining high brake thermal efficiency from production feasible engines. Experimental results, in conjunction with simulation and analysis, are used to compare HCCI operation with traditional lean burn spark ignition performance. Current HCCI technology is characterized by low power density, very dilute mixtures, and low combustion efficiency. The quantitative adverse effect of each of these traits is demonstrated with respect to the brake thermal efficiency that can be expected in real world applications. While very low NOx emissions are certainly achievable, significant technological improvements are still required to make HCCI engines competitive in the stationary power generation market.