Ignition Characteristics of Methane-air Mixtures at Elevated Temperatures and Pressures
Lean operation of natural gas fired reciprocating engines has been the preferred mode of operation as it allows low NOx emissions and simultaneous high overall efficiencies. In such engines, the operation point is often close to where the ignition boundary and the knock limiting boundary cross-over. While knocking is, to a large extent, limited by engine design, ignition of lean-mixtures is limited by the mode of ignition. Since significant benefits can be achieved by extending the lean-ignition limits, many groups have been researching alternate ways to achieve ignition reliably. One of the methods, laser ignition, appears promising as it achieves ignition at high pressures and under lean conditions relatively easily. However, most of the current knowledge about laser ignition is based on measurements performed at room temperature. In this paper, ignition studies on methane-air mixtures under in-cylinder conditions are presented.