Since the CO2 emissions of passenger car traffic and their greenhouse potential are in the public interest, natural gas (CNG) is discussed as an attractive alternative fuel. The engine concepts that have been applied to date are mainly based on common gasoline engine technology. In addition, in mono-fuel applications, it is made use of an increased compression ratio - thanks to the Research Octane Number (RON) potential of CNG, which allows for thermodynamic benefits.
This paper presents advanced engine concepts that make further use of the potentials linked to CNG. Above all, the improved knock tolerance, which can be particularly utilized in turbocharged engine concepts. For bi-fuel (CNG/gasoline) power trains, the realization of variable compression ratio is of special interest. Moreover, lean burn technology is a perfect match for CNG engines. The fuel economy and the emission levels are evaluated based on test bench and vehicle investigations.