Browse Publications Technical Papers 2019-24-0137
2019-09-09

Performance and Emissions of an Ammonia-Fueled SI Engine with Hydrogen Enrichment 2019-24-0137

While the optimization of the internal combustion engine (ICE) remains a very important topic, alternative fuels are also expected to play a significant role in the reduction of CO2 emissions. High energy densities and handling ease are their main advantages amongst other energy carriers. Ammonia (NH3) additionally contains no carbon and has a worldwide existing transport and storage infrastructure. It could be produced directly from renewable electricity, water and air, and is thus currently considered as a smart energy carrier and combustion fuel. However, ammonia presents a low combustion intensity and the risk of elevated nitrogen-based emissions, thus rendering in-depth investigation of its suitability as an ICE fuel necessary.
In the present study, a recent single-cylinder spark-ignition engine is fueled with gaseous ammonia/hydrogen/air mixtures at various hydrogen fractions, equivalence ratios and intake pressures. A small hydrogen fraction is used as combustion promoter and might be generated in-situ through NH3 catalytic or heat-assisted dissociation. The in-cylinder pressure and exhaust concentrations of selected species are recorded and analyzed. Results show that ammonia is a very suitable fuel for SI engine operation, since high power outputs could be achieved with indicated efficiencies higher than 37% by taking advantage of the promoting effects of supercharging and hydrogen enrichment around 10% by volume. High NOx and unburned NH3 exhaust concentrations were also observed under fuel-lean and fuel-rich conditions, respectively. While hydrogen enrichment promotes the NH3 combustion efficiency and helps reducing its exhaust concentration, it has a promoting effect on NOx formation, assumedly due to higher flame temperatures. Therefore, it is recommended to take advantage of the simultaneous presence of exhaust heat, NOx and NH3 in a dedicated after-treatment device to ensure the economic and environmental viability of future ammonia-fueled engine systems.

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