Exhaust Emission Abatement by Fuel Variations to Produce Lean Combustion 680769
Differences in the power producing capacities and exhaust emission characteristics of various spark-ignition-engine fuels are frequently obscured by interactions involving the particular engine system used in the comparison. In an attempt to minimize this problem, gasoline, propane, methane, and a hydrogen-methane fuel gas were compared in a single cylinder engine under conditions that were optimum for each fuel. The resulting data, coupled with an estimated duty cycle representative of traffic service, permitted the development of internally comparable data on fuel consumption and exhaust emissions.
Smog-inducing hydrocarbon emissions from the exhaust of a propane-fueled engine can be less than 13% of the minimum value obtainable with a gasoline fueled engine. Such emissions would be substantially eliminated with a well designed methane engine. Engines designed for propane and methane should have substantially no carbon monoxide in the exhaust, and only 40-50% as much nitric oxide as an engine designed for gasoline. In addition, lower specific fuel consumptions are possible with propane and methane. These benefits are primarily the result of better lean combustion performance with the two gaseous fuels.
Recognizing that gaseous fuels present handling problems in a vehicle, it has been demonstrated that a fuel gas, that might be steam-reformed from a liquid fuel, has even better lean mixture combustion behaviour and lower emissions than propane or methane.