CFD Investigation of the Effects of Gas’ Methane Number on the Performance of a Heavy-Duty Natural-Gas Spark-Ignition Engine
Natural gas (NG) is an alternative fuel for spark-ignition engines. In addition to its cleaner combustion, recent breakthroughs in drilling technologies increased its availability and lowered its cost. NG consists of mostly methane, but it also contains heavier hydrocarbons and inert diluents, the levels of which vary substantially with geographical source, time of the year and treatments applied during production or transportation. To investigate the effects of NG composition on engine performance and emissions, a 3D CFD model of a heavy-duty diesel engine retrofitted to NG spark ignition simulated lean-combustion engine operation at low speed and medium load conditions. The work investigated three NG blends with similar lower heating value (i.e., similar energy density) but different Methane Number (MN). The results indicated that a lower MN increased flame propagation speed and thus increased in-cylinder pressure and indicated mean effective pressure.