Experimental Investigation of Combustion Characteristics in a Heavy-Duty Compression-Ignition Engine Retrofitted to Natural-Gas Spark-Ignition Operation
The conversion of existing diesel engines to natural gas operation can reduce U.S. dependence on petroleum imports and curtail engine-out emissions. Diesel compression ignition engines can be modified to NG spark ignition, by replacing the diesel injector with a NG spark plug and by fumigating NG in the intake manifold, to increase utilization of natural gas heavy-duty transportation sector. As the original diesel piston is maintained during conversion to decrease engine modification cost, the major of this study was to investigate the lean-burn characteristic of natural gas burning in this bowl-in-piston combustion chamber, which can accelerate the introduction of heavy-duty natural gas vehicles. Data analysis from engine experiments that changed spark timing indicated a two-stage combustion process in such retrofitted engines, which is different from traditional spark ignition engines.