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Technical Paper

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.
Technical Paper

Experimental Investigation of a Natural Gas Lean-Burn Spark Ignition Engine with Bowl-in-Piston Combustion Chamber

On- and off-road heavy-duty diesel engines modified to spark-ignition natural gas operation can reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil and enhance national energy security. Engine conversion can be achieved through the addition of a gas injector in the intake manifold and of a spark plug in place of the diesel injector. This paper investigated combustion characteristics and engine performance at several lean-burn operating conditions that changed spark timing, mixture equivalence ratio, and engine speed, using methane as NG surrogate.
Technical Paper

Gaseous Fuels Variation Effects on Combustion and Emissions of a Small Direct Injection Natural Gas Engine

Our research focused on the assessment of fuel variation effects on performance of a 34 cc two-stroke, natural gas combustion engine designed for use as the prime mover in either slider-crank or novel linear generator applications. Nearly two-thirds of US homes have either natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas available at low pressures. We tested the engine with three different natural gas blends, pure methane, and pure propane. In order to reduce fuel compression power, we modified the engine to use low-pressure direct injection (LPDI) of gaseous fuels. We examined regulated gaseous emissions, greenhouse gas emissions, and combustion trends over a range of delivered air fuel ratios. Start of Injection (SOI) occurred at either 180 or 190 CA BTDC and efficiency improved by reducing fuel slip. However, for natural gas blends, the predominant emissions were methane - a potent greenhouse gas.
Technical Paper

CFD Simulation of Metal and Optical Configuration of a Heavy-Duty CI Engine Converted to SI Natural Gas. Part 1: Combustion Behavior

Internal combustion engines with optical access (a.k.a. optical engines) provide additional information in the quest for understanding the fundamental in-cylinder combustion phenomena. However, most optical engines have flat bowl-in-piston combustion chamber to optimize the visualization process, which is different, for example, from the traditional re-entrant bowl in compression ignition engines. A conventional heavy-duty direct-injection compression ignition engine was converted to spark ignition operation by replacing the fuel injector with a spark plug in both optical and metal setups to investigate the effect of the bowl geometry on flame propagation. Experimental data from steady-state lean-burn conditions was used to develop and validate a 3D CFD model of the engine. Numerical simulation results show that flame propagation in the radial direction was similar for both combustion chambers despite their different geometries.
Technical Paper

CFD Simulation of Metal and Optical Configuration of a Heavy-Duty CI Engine Converted to SI Natural Gas. Part 2: In-Cylinder Flow and Emissions

Internal combustion diesel engines with optical access (a.k.a. optical engines) increase the fundamental understanding of combustion phenomena. However, optical access requirements result in most optical engines having a different in-cylinder geometry compared with the conventional diesel engine, such as a flat bowl-in-piston combustion chamber. This study investigated the effect of the bowl geometry on the flow motion and emissions inside a conventional heavy-duty direct-injection diesel engine that can operate in both metal and optical-access configurations. This engine was converted to natural-gas spark-ignition operation by replacing the fuel injector with a spark plug and adding a low-pressure gas injector in the intake manifold for fuel delivery, then operated at steady-state lean-burn conditions. A 3D CFD model based on the experimental data predicted that the different bowl geometry did not significantly affect in-cylinder emissions distribution.
Technical Paper

Fuel Composition Effects in a CI Engine Converted to SI Natural Gas Operation

Low-carbon fuels such as natural gas (NG) have the potential to lower the demand of petroleum-based fuels, reduce engine-out emissions, and increase IC engine thermal efficiency. One of the most rapid and efficient use of NG in the transportation sector would be as a direct replacement of the diesel fuel in compression ignition (CI) engines without any major engine modifications to the combustion chamber such as new pistons and/or engine head. An issue is the large variation in NG composition with the location and age of the gas well across U.S., which would affect engine operation, as well as the technology integration with emissions after treatment systems. This study used a conventional CI engine modified for spark ignition (SI) NG operation to investigate the effects of methane and a C1-C4 alkane blend on main combustion parameters like in-cylinder pressure, apparent heat release rate, IMEP, etc.
Technical Paper

Continuously Varying Exhaust Outlet Diameter to Improve Efficiency and Emissions of a Small SI Natural Gas Two-Stroke Engine by Internal EGR

With continuously increasing concern for the emissions from two-stroke engines including regulated hydrocarbon (HC) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions, non-road engines are implementing proven technologies from the on-road market. For example, four stroke diesel generators now include additional internal exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) via an intake/exhaust valve passage. EGR can offer benefits of reduced HC, NOx, and may even improve combustion stability and fuel efficiency. In addition, there is particular interest in use of natural gas as fuel for home power generation. This paper examines exhaust throttling applied to the Helmholtz resonator of a two-stroke, port injected, natural gas engine. The 34 cc engine was air cooled and operated at wide-open throttle (WOT) conditions at an engine speed of 5400 RPM with fueling adjusted to achieve maximum brake torque. Exhaust throttling served as a method to decrease the effective diameter of the outlet of the convergent cone.
Technical Paper

Quantification of Energy Pathways and Gas Exchange of a Small Port Injection SI Two-Stroke Natural Gas Engine Operating on Different Exhaust Configurations

This paper examines the energy pathways of a 29cc air-cooled two-stroke engine operating on natural gas with different exhaust geometries. The engine was operated at wide-open-throttle at a constant speed of 5400 RPM with ignition adjusted to yield maximum brake torque while the fueling was adjusted to examine both rich and lean combustion. The exhaust configurations examined included an off-the-shelf (OTS) model and two other custom models designed on Helmholtz resonance theory. The custom designs included both single and multi-cone features. Out of the three exhaust systems tested, the model with maximum trapping efficiency showed a higher overall efficiency due to lower fuel short-circuiting and heat transfer. The heat transfer rate was shown to be 10% lower on the new designs relative to OTS model.
Technical Paper

Direct Numerical Simulation of Methane Turbulent Premixed Oxy-Fuel Combustion

A 3-D DNS (Three-Dimensional Direct Numerical Simulation) study with detailed chemical kinetic mechanism of methane has been performed to investigate the characteristics of turbulent premixed oxy-fuel combustion in the condition relevant to Spark Ignition (SI) engines. First, 1-D (one-dimensional) laminar freely propagating premixed flame is examined to show a consistent combustion temperature for different dilution cases, such that 73% H2O and 66% CO2 dilution ratios are adopted in the following 3-D DNS cases. Four 3-D DNS cases with various turbulence intensities are conducted. It is found that dilution agents can reduce the overall flame temperature but with an enhancement of density weighted flame speed. CO2 dilution case shows the lowest flame speed both in turbulent and laminar cases.
Technical Paper

The Influence of High Reactivity Fuel Properties on Reactivity Controlled Compression Ignition Combustion

Reactivity controlled compression ignition (RCCI) is a form of dual-fuel combustion that exploits the reactivity difference between two fuels to control combustion phasing. This combustion approach limits the formation of oxides of nitrogen (NOX) and soot while retaining high thermal efficiency. The research presented herein was performed to determine the influences that high reactivity (diesel) fuel properties have on RCCI combustion characteristics, exhaust emissions, fuel efficiency, and the operable load range. A 4-cylinder, 1.9 liter, light-duty compression-ignition (CI) engine was converted to run on diesel fuel (high reactivity fuel) and compressed natural gas (CNG) (low reactivity fuel). The engine was operated at 2100 revolutions per minute (RPM), and at two different loads, 3.6 bar brake mean effective pressure (BMEP) and 6 bar BMEP.
Journal Article

Development of an Ammonia Reduction Aftertreatment Systems for Stoichiometric Natural Gas Engines

Three-way catalyst equipped stoichiometric natural gas vehicles have proven to be an effective alternative fuel strategy that has shown superior low NOx benefits in comparison to diesels equipped with SCR. However, recent studies have shown the TWC activity to contribute to high levels of tailpipe ammonia emissions. Although a non-regulated pollutant, ammonia is a potent pre-cursor to ambient secondary PM formation. Ammonia (NH3) is an inevitable catalytic byproduct of TWCduring that results also corresponds to lowest NOx emissions. The main objective of the study is to develop a passive SCR based NH3 reduction strategy that results in an overall reduction of NH3 as well as NOx emissions from a stoichiometric spark ignited natural gas engine. The study investigated the characteristics of Fe-based and Cu-based zeolite SCR catalysts in storage, and desorption of ammonia at high exhaust temperature conditions, that are typical of stoichiometric natural gas engines.
Journal Article

Emissions Characterization from Different Technology Heavy-Duty Engines Retrofitted for CNG/Diesel Dual-Fuel Operation

This study was aimed at experimentally investigating the impact of diesel/natural gas (NG) dual-fuel retrofitting onto gaseous emissions emitted by i) legacy, model year (MY) 2005 heavy-duty engines with cooled EGR and no after-treatment system, and ii) a latest technology engine equipped with DPF and urea-SCR after-treatment systems that is compliant with 2010 US-EPA emissions standards. In particular, two different dual-fuel conversion kits were evaluated in this study with pure methane (CH4) being used as surrogate for natural gas. Experiments were conducted on an engine dynamometer over a 13-mode steady-state test cycle as well as the transient FTP required for engine certification while gaseous emissions were sampled through a CVS system. Tailpipe NOx emissions were observed at a comparable level for diesel and diesel/CH4 dual-fuel operation for the 2010 compliant engine downstream the SCR.
Technical Paper

Numerical Investigation of Dual Fuel Diesel-CNG Combustion on Engine Performance and Emission

With the purpose of reducing emission level while maintaining the high torque character of diesel engine, various solutions have been proposed by researchers over the world. One of the most attractive methods is to use dual fuel technique with premixed gaseous fuel ignited by a relatively small amount of diesel. In this study, Methane (CH4), which is the main component of natural gas, was premixed with intake air and used as the main fuel, and diesel fuel was used as ignition source to initiate the combustion. By varying the proportion of diesel and CH4, the combustion and emissions characteristics of the dual fuel (diesel/CH4) combustion system were investigated. Different cases of CFD studies with various concentration of CH4 were carried out. A validated 3D quarter chamber model of a single cylinder engine (diesel fuel only) generated by using AVL Fire ESE was modified into dual fuel mode in this study.
Technical Paper

A Novel Wankel Engine Featuring Jet Ignition and Port or Direct Injection for Faster and More Complete Combustion Especially Designed for Gaseous Fuels

Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles using a traditional ICE that has been modified to use hydrogen fuel are an important mid-term technology on the path to the hydrogen economy. Hydrogen-powered ICEs that can run on pure hydrogen or a blend of hydrogen and compressed natural gas (CNG) are a way of addressing the widespread lack of hydrogen fuelling infrastructure in the near term. Hydrogen-powered ICEs have operating advantages as all weather conditions performances, no warm-up, no cold-start issues and being more fuel efficient than conventional spark-ignition engines. The Wankel engine is one of the best ICE to be converted to run hydrogen. The paper presents some details of an initial investigation of the CAD and CAE modeling of a novel design where two jet ignition devices per rotor are replacing the traditional two spark plugs for a faster and more complete combustion.
Technical Paper

Heat Release and Emission Characteristics of B20 Biodiesel Fuels During Steady State and Transient Operation

Biodiesel fuels benefit both from being a renewable energy source and from decreasing in carbon monoxide (CO), total hydrocarbons (THC), and particulate matter (PM) emissions relative to petroleum diesel. The oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions from biodiesel blended fuels reported in the literature vary relative to baseline diesel NOx, with no NOx change or a NOx decrease found by some to an increase in NOx found by others. To explore differences in NOx, two Cummins ISM engines (1999 and 2004) were operated on 20% biodiesel blends during the heavy-duty transient FTP cycle and the steady state Supplemental Emissions Test. For the 2004 Cummins ISM engine, in-cylinder pressure data were collected during the steady state and transient tests. Three types of biodiesel fuels were used in the blends: soy, tallow (animal fat), and cottonseed. The FTP integrated emissions of the B20 blends produced a 20-35% reduction in PM and no change or up to a 4.3% increase in NOx over the neat diesel.
Technical Paper

Weight Effect on Emissions and Fuel Consumption from Diesel and Lean-Burn Natural Gas Transit Buses

Transit agencies across the United States operate bus fleets primarily powered by diesel, natural gas, and hybrid drive systems. Passenger loading affects the power demanded from the engine, which in turn affects distance-specific emissions and fuel consumption. Analysis shows that the nature of bus activity, taking into account the idle time, tire rolling resistance, wind drag, and acceleration energy, influences the way in which passenger load impacts emissions. Emissions performance and fuel consumption from diesel and natural gas powered buses were characterized by the West Virginia University (WVU) Transportable Emissions Testing Laboratory. A comparison matrix for all three bus technologies included three common driving cycles (the Braunschweig Cycle, the OCTA Cycle, and the ADEME-RATP Paris Cycle). Each bus was tested at three different passenger loading conditions (empty weight, half weight, and full weight).
Technical Paper

Laser Spark Plug Development

To meet the ignition system needs of large bore high pressure lean burn natural gas engines a laser diode side pumped passively Q-switched laser igniter was designed and tested. The laser was designed to produce the optical intensities needed to initiate ignition in a lean burn high brake mean effective pressure (BMEP) engine. The experimentation explored a variety of optical and electrical input parameters that when combined produced a robust spark in air. The results show peak power levels exceeding 2 MW and peak focal intensities above 400 GW/cm2. Future research avenues and current progress with the initial prototype are presented and discussed.
Technical Paper

Hydrogen Blended Natural Gas Operation of a Heavy Duty Turbocharged Lean Burn Spark Ignition Engine

A turbocharged lean burn natural gas engine was upgraded to operate on a blend of hydrogen and natural gas (HCNG). Tests were carried out to determine the most suitable H2/NG blend for H2 fractions between 20 and 32 vol%. A 20 vol% H2 content was found to provide the desired benefits when taking into consideration the engine and vehicle performance attributes. A full engine map was developed for the chosen mixture, and was verified over the steady-state AVL8 cycle. In general, the HCNG calibration included operation at higher air-fuel ratios and retarded spark timings. The results indicated that the NOx and NMHC emissions were reduced by 50% and 58% respectively, while the CO and CH4 emissions were slightly reduced. The HCNG engine torque, power and fuel consumption were maintained the same as for the natural gas fuel. The chassis dynamometer transient testing confirmed large NOx reduction of about 56% for HCNG operation.
Technical Paper

Misfire, Knock and NOx Mapping of a Laser Spark Ignited Single Cylinder Lean Burn Natural Gas Engine

Evermore demanding market and legislative pressures require stationary lean burn natural gas engines to operate at higher efficiencies and reduced levels of emissions. Higher in-cylinder pressures and leaner air/fuel ratios are required in order to meet these demands. The performance and durability of spark plug ignition systems suffer as a result of the increase in spark energy required to maintain suitable engine operation under these conditions. Advancing the state of the art of ignition systems for these engines is critical to meeting increased performance requirements. Laser-spark ignition has shown potential to improve engine performance and ignition system durability to levels required meet or exceed projected requirements. This paper discusses testing which extends previous efforts [1] to include constant fueling knock, misfire, thermal efficiency, and NOx emissions mapping of a single cylinder lean burn natural gas engine.
Technical Paper

Laser-Spark Ignition Testing in a Natural Gas-Fueled Single-Cylinder Engine

As the demand for higher engine efficiencies and lower emissions drive stationary, spark-ignited reciprocating engine combustion to leaner air/fuel operating conditions and higher in-cylinder pressures, increased spark energy is required for maintain stable combustion and low emissions. Unfortunately, increased spark energy negatively impacts spark plug durability and its effectiveness in transmitting adequate energy as an ignition source. Laser ignition offers the potential to improve ignition system durability, reduce maintenance, as well as to improve engine combustion performance. This paper discusses recent engine combustion testing with an open beam path laser ignition system in a single-cylinder engine fueled by natural gas. In particular, engine knock and misfire maps are developed for both conventional spark plug and laser spark ignition. The misfire limit is shown to be significantly extended for laser ignition while the knock limit remains virtually unaffected.