1976-02-01

New Potentials for Conventional Aircraft When Powered by Hydrogen-Enriched Gasoline 760469

Hydrogen enrichment for aircraft piston engines is under study in a new NASA program. The objective of the program is to determine the feasibility of inflight injection of hydrogen in general aviation aircraft engines to reduce fuel consumption and to lower emission levels.
A catalytic hydrogen generator will be incorporated as part of the air induction system of a Lycoming turbocharged engine and will generate hydrogen by breaking down small amounts of the aviation gasoline used in the normal propulsion system. This hydrogen will then be mixed with gasoline and compressed air from the turbocharger before entering the engine combustion chamber. The special properties of the hydrogen-enriched gasoline allow the engine to operate at ultralean fuel/air ratios, resulting in higher efficiencies and hence less fuel consumption.
This paper summarizes the results of a systems analysis study. Calculations assuming a Beech Duke aircraft indicate that fuel savings on the order of 20% are possible. An estimate of the potential for the utilization of hydrogen enrichment to control exhaust emissions indicates that it may be possible to meet the 1979 Federal emission standards.

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