Effect of Fuel Composition and Altitude on Regulated Emissions from a Lean-Burn, Closed Loop Controlled Natural Gas Engine
Natural gas presents several challenges to engine manufacturers for use as a heavy-duty, lean burn engine fuel. This is because natural gas can vary in composition and the variation is large enough to produce significant changes in the stoichiometry of the fuel and its octane number. Similarly, operation at high altitude can present challenges. The most significant effect of altitude is lower barometric pressure, typically 630 mm Hg at 1600 m compared to a sea level value of 760 mm. This can lower turbocharger boost at low speeds leading to mixtures richer than desired. The purpose of this test program was to determine the effect of natural gas composition and altitude on regulated emissions and performance of a Cummins B5.9G engine. The engine is a lean-burn, closed loop control, spark ignited, dedicated natural gas engine. For fuel composition testing the engine was operating at approximately 1600 m (5,280 ft) above sea level.