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Technical Paper

Knock and Combustion Characteristics of CH4, CO, H2 and Their Binary Mixtures

Hydrogen is normally produced through the steam reforming of fossil fuels, notably natural gas or their partial oxidation in oxygenated air. The products of these processes would normally produce the H2 in the presence of a variety of concentrations of CO, CO2, H2O and N2. There is increasing interest in employing such mixtures whether on their own or in mixtures with traditional liquid or gaseous fuels in S.I. engine applications so as to improve the combustion process and engine performance. The combustion characteristics in S.I. engines of gas mixtures that contain H2 and CO need to be established to provide key operational information, such as the variations in the combustion duration and the knock limits. This paper presents experimental data obtained in a single cylinder, variable compression ratio, S.I., CFR engine when operated in turn on CH4, H2, CO and their binary mixtures.
Technical Paper

Examination of Operational Limits in Gas Fueled Spark Ignition Engines

There are distinct operational mixture limits beyond which satisfactory spark ignition engine performance can not be maintained. The values of these limit mixtures which depend on the mode of their determination, are affected by numerous operational and design factors that include the type of engine and fuel used. Simple approximate methods are presented for predicting these limits. Good agreement is shown to exist between the calculated and the corresponding experimental values over a range of operating conditions while operating on the gaseous fuels: methane, propane and hydrogen. The experimentally observed operational limits deviate very substantially from the corresponding accepted flammability limit values for quiescent conditions evaluated at the average temperature and pressure prevailing at the instant of the spark passage.
Technical Paper

An Investigation of the Effects of the Addition of Dissociated Water Products to a Gas Fueled Spark Ignition Engine

One of the main features of methane fueled spark ignition engines is their relatively slow flame propagation rates in comparison to liquid fuel applications which may lead to relatively lower power output and efficiency with increased emissions and cyclic variations. This is especially pronounced at operational equivalence ratios that are much leaner than the stoichiometric value. The addition of some hydrogen and oxygen to the methane may contribute towards speeding the combustion process and bring about significant improvements in performance and emissions. It has been suggested that the addition to the methane of products of water electrolysis generated in situ on board of a vehicle may produce such improvements.
Technical Paper


A predictive procedure for establishing the performance parameters of spark ignition engines fueled with a range of gaseous fuels and their mixtures is described. The incidence of knock and its relative intensity are also accounted for. The two-zone model incorporates a procedure for deriving an estimate of the effective duration of combustion and the associated mass burning rate for various operating conditions and gaseous fuels. The preignition chemical reaction activity of the unburned end gas zone and its consequences on cylinder pressure development is evaluated while using detailed chemical kinetics. The onset of autoignition and knock is established via a parameter that monitors the incremental pressure increase solely due to the preignition reaction activity per unit of mean effective combustion pressure.
Technical Paper

The Effects of Charge Non-Uniformity on Autoignition in a Gas Fuelled Motored Engine

The effects of charge non-uniformity on autoignition of methane/air mixtures in a motored engine are investigated analytically using a varying global kinetic data model derived from the results of a detailed chemical kinetic scheme under similar conditions in a simple adiabatic constant volume reactor. These derived varying global kinetic data model was implemented in the CFD KIVA-3 code. The relative contribution of fluid motion generated by piston motion, heat transfer, chemical reactivity of the cylinder charge and swirl movement to the inhomogeneities in the properties of the cylinder charge and their consequent effects on the evolution of the autoignition process are presented and discussed.
Technical Paper

The Effects of Pilot Fuel Quality on Dual Fuel Engine Ignition Delay

The effects of changes in the cetane number of diesel liquid pilot fuels on the ignition delay period in dual fuel engines were investigated experimentally. Different pilot fuel quantities were employed with commercially pure methane, propane and low heating value gaseous fuel mixtures of methane with nitrogen or carbon dioxide over a range of engine load. The ignition delay variation with increased gaseous fuel admission showed a strong dependance on both the quantity and the quality of the pilot fuel used. It was found that the use of high cetane number pilot liquid fuels permitted smaller pilot quantities to be used satisfactorily. Engine operation on propane and low heating value gaseous fuels improved in comparison with dual fuel engine operation employing common diesel fuels.
Technical Paper

An Analytical Approach for the Optimization of a SI Engine Performance Including the Consideration of Knock

The present contribution describes an analytical approach for predicting the highest limit for acceptable power or efficiency for any spark ignition engine while ensuring knock free operation. A deterministic gradient based model combined with a simple genetic algorithm were used in association with a two-zone engine combustion model to predict analytically the necessary changes in specified operating parameters to produce optimum performance. Various examples involving mainly spark ignition engine operation with methane-hydrogen fuel mixtures are presented and discussed.
Technical Paper

An Examination of the Role of Residual Gases in the Combustion Processes of Motored Engines Fuelled with Gaseous Fuels

The effects of residual gases on the combustion process of engines are examined through analysing the cyclic variations of autoignition in a motored engine fuelled with homogeneous gaseous fuel-air mixtures. The changes in composition and temperature of residual gases as well as the associated rates of the preignition reactions are followed over a number of consecutive working cycles at a constant engine speed to establish whether autoignition will take place and how many cycles are need for its occurrence. It is in that the residual gases associated with partial oxidation reactions tend to have strong kinetic but hardly any thermal or diluting effects, while residual gases produced from the more complete combustion following autoignition tend to possess significant thermal, kinetic and diluting effects.
Technical Paper

A Predictive Model for the Combustion Process in Dual Fuel Engines

A multi-zone model has been developed for the prediction of the combustion processes in dual fuel engines and some of their performance features. The consequences of the interaction between the gaseous and the diesel fuels and the resulting modification to the combustion processes are considered. A reacting zone has been incorporated in the model to describe the partial oxidation of the gaseous fuel-air mixture while detailed kinetic schemes are employed to describe the oxidation of the gaseous fuel, right from the start of compression to the end of the expansion process. The associated formation and concentrations of exhaust emissions are correspondingly established. The model can predict the onset of knock as well as the operating features and emissions for the more demanding case of light load performance. Predicted values for methane operation show good agreement with corresponding experimental values.
Technical Paper

Prediction of the Performance of Spark Ignition Gas Engines Including Knock

A two-zone predictive model for the performance of a spark ignited gas engine is described. In this model, an effective mass burning rate and energy release pattern based on an estimate of the combustion duration are developed. For any given engine and set of operating conditions the pressure-time and temperatures-time histories, and hence performance parameters such as indicated power output, peak pressure, optimum spark timing, etc. are predicted. Through monitoring the chemical reaction activity, while employing detailed chemical kinetics of the end gas within the unburnt zone, the incidence of autoignition and knock can also be predicted. A dimensionless knock criterion that compares the specific energy release due to end gas preignition reaction activity to the specific energy release due to combustion of the fuel is developed and used to test for the incidence of knock and its severity.
Technical Paper

A Predictive Model for Knock in Spark Ignition Engines

The present contribution combines the consideration of the chemical reaction activity of the end gas and engine operating conditions to predict the onset of knock and associated performance in a spark ignition engine fuelled with methane. A two-zone predictive combustion model was developed based on an estimate of the effective duration of the combustion period and the mass burning rate for any set of operating conditions. The unburned end gas preignition chemical reaction activity is described by a detailed chemical reaction kinetic scheme for methane and air. The variation with time of the value of a formulated dimensionless knock parameter based on the value of the cumulative energy released due to preignition reaction activity of the end gas per unit volume relative to the total energy release per unit cylinder swept volume is calculated It is shown that whenever knocking is encountered, the value of builds up to a sufficiently high value that exceeds a critical value.
Technical Paper

A Predictive Model for Knock in Dual Fuel Engines

A model is described for the prediction of the onset of autoignition and knock in compression ignition engines of the dual fuel type. The associated variations with time of performance parameters such as the energy release rate, cylinder pressure and charge temperature, power output and species concentrations can also be obtained. This is achieved through modelling in detail the chemical reaction rates of the gaseous fuel during compression and subsequently during diesel fuel pilot ignition and combustion. A comprehensive reaction scheme involving 105 reaction steps with 31 chemical species is employed for the purpose. The results are based mainly on methane or propane as the gaseous fuel while accounting for the contribution of pilot diesel fuel injection. Calculated data showed good general agreement with the corresponding experimental values.
Technical Paper

Methane-Carbon Dioxide Mixtures as a Fuel

The presence of carbon dioxide with methane is often encountered to varying proportions in numerous natural, industrial and bio-gases. The paper discusses how such a presence modifies significantly the thermodynamic, kinetic and combustion characteristics of methane in air. Experimental results are presented showing how the performance of engines, both of the spark ignition and compression ignition dual fuel types is adversely affected by the increasing presence of carbon dioxide with the methane. The bases for these trends are discussed and some guidelines towards alleviating the adverse effects of the presence of carbon dioxide in such fuel mixtures are made.
Technical Paper

An Examination of the Combustion Processes of a Methane Fuelled Engine When Employing Plasma Jet Ignition

Examination is made of the changes that take place in the major parameters of the combustion process and engine performance when using three different designs of plasma jet igniters of the open cavity type in a methane fuelled single cylinder engine. The characteristics of the combustion process were analysed employing a two-zone diagnostic model based on cylinder pressure-time development data. The use of plasma jet igniters with methane as a fuel enhanced the rates of burning in the initial stages of combustion, especially with very lean mixtures. The lean limit of engine operation was also extended. Their use for near stoichiometric fast burning mixtures tends in comparison to contribute little towards enhancing engine performance.
Technical Paper

An Examination of Cyclic Variations in a Dual Fuel Engine

The paper considers the cyclic variations in performance parameters of a dual fuel engine fuelled with methane. It is shown that such an engine does display cyclic variations that are greater than the corresponding diesel operation, yet smaller than comparable spark ignition operation. The extent of cyclic variation in peak cylinder pressure and ignition delay increases, for any power output, as the pilot diesel quantity is reduced and the extent of gas substitution is increased. The use of extremely small pilots in the unmodified engine can lead to erratic engine performance. Greater cyclic variations are associated with low load rather than high load operation. Furthermore, with an injection system which is well matched to the engine, there is only little cyclic variation associated solely with the pilot, even when its quantity is small.
Technical Paper

Some Considerations of Cyclic Variations in Spark Ignition Engines Fuelled with Gaseous Fuels

Cyclic variations in engines have been the subject of much investigation and there are some excellent reviews of this research. However, there is still a need to examine in an integrated manner the cyclic variation in performance parameters such as indicated power output, efficiency and cylinder pressure development in relation to the cyclic variation in some important combustion parameters notably those of the ignition lag, which is the time requirements to initiate a flame kernel following the passage of a spark and the duration to complete the combustion process particularly when gaseous fuels, notably methane are used. The paper describes the results of an investigation with these objectives using a single cylinder, variable compression ratio, spark ignition, CFR engine, run at constant speed, operating mainly on natural gas.
Technical Paper

Comparative Studies of Methane and Propane as Fuels for Spark Ignition and Compression Ignition Engines

The paper reviews the combustion characteristics of the two fuels and sets out to consider their respective performance in both spark ignition and compression ignition engines. Results of comparative tests involving spark ignition engines over a wide range of operating conditions are presented and discussed. Some of the performance characteristics considered are those relating to power output, efficiency, tendency to knock, cyclic variations, optimum spark requirements and exhaust emissions. Similarly, some of the performance characteristics in compression ignition engines considered include power output, efficiency, tendency towards knock and autoignition, exhaust emissions and low operational temperature problems. Finally, the relative operational safety aspects of the two fuels are evaluated. It is then suggested that in this regard, methane has some excellent physical, chemical and combustion characteristics that makes it a particularly safe fuel.
Technical Paper

The Dual Fuel Engine of the Compression Ignition Type - Prospects, Problems and Solutions - A Review

A review is made of some of the main problems associated with the use of natural gas, notably methane, in dual fuel engines of the compression ignition diesel type. It is shown that such applications represent in principle a very attractive mode for the utilization of the fuel for the production of power generally at relatively high efficiencies and outputs with good exhaust emissions characteristics. Some relevant solutions to the problems outlined are then discussed. Moreover, some further research and development needed in this general area is also outlined.
Technical Paper

Some Considerations of the Safety of Methane, (CNG), as an Automotive Fuel - Comparison with Gasoline, Propane and Hydrogen Operation

The total number of vehicles fuelled with compressed natural gas, CNG, is relatively very small in comparison to gasoline fuelled vehicles. Accordingly, because of the lack of statistics of accidents involving CNG fuelled vehicles, their safety aspects are evaluated in comparison to automobiles fuelled with gasoline or some other alternative fuels such as propane, hydrogen, LNG or LH2. It is suggested that methane, CNG, has some excellent physical, chemical and combustion characteristics that make it a safe automotive fuel. These characteristics are reviewed and the superior relative safety of methane in automotive applications in comparison to applications involving the other fuels is demonstrated where well designed conversion systems and operations are employed.
Technical Paper

Determination of the Performance of a Dual Fuel Diesel Engine with the Addition of Various Liquid Fuels to the Intake Charge

An examination of the engine performance and associated combustion is made for a dual fuel engine of the compression ignition type when additional auxiliary fuels were introduced in turn in the form of a spray into the main intake charge with methane being the main fuel. This was attempted with the view of modifying the dual fuel engine behaviour particularly at light load. Alcohols, gasoline, benzene or normal hexane were introduced in turn to various extents into the intake charge of the engine. Comparison with dual fuel operation on a range of gaseous fuels and with water spray injection was made. It is shown that gasoline, benzene or n-hexane intake addition reduced the overall ignition delay significantly and increased the power output of the dual fuel diesel engine at light load. This, however, was achieved at the cost of undermining the efficiency of fuel utilization at higher loads.