Experimental Investigation of Combustion Characteristics in a Heavy-Duty Compression-Ignition Engine Retrofitted to Natural-Gas Spark-Ignition Operation
Recent development in hydraulic fracking made natural gas (NG) to be a promising alternative gaseous fuel for heavy-duty diesel engines. The existing compression ignition (CI) engine can be retrofitted to NG spark ignition (SI) operation by replacing the diesel injector with a spark plug and fumigating NG into the intake manifold. However, the original diesel piston geometry (flat head and bowl-in-piston chamber) was usually retained to reduce modification cost. The goal of this study was to increase the understanding of the NG lean-burn characteristics in a diesel-like, fast-burn SI combustion chamber. The experimental platform can operate in conventional (i.e., all engine parts are metal) or in optical configuration (i.e., the stock piston and cylinder block are replaced with a see-through piston and an extended cylinder block). The optical data indicated a fast-propagated flame inside the piston bowl.