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Technical Paper

Lean Burn Natural Gas Operation vs. Stoichiometric Operation with EGR and a Three Way Catalyst

Exhaust Emissions from lean burn natural gas engines may not always be as low as the potential permits, especially engines with open loop lambda control. These engines can produce much higher emissions than a comparable diesel engine without exhaust gas after treatment. Even if the engine has closed loop lambda control, emissions are often unacceptably high for future emission regulations. A three way catalyst is, today, the best way to reduce hazardous emissions. The drawback is that the engine has to operate with a stoichiometric mixture and this leads to; higher heat losses, higher pumping work at low to medium loads, higher thermal stress on the engine and higher knock tendency (requiring lower compression ratio, and thus lower brake efficiency). One way to reduce these drawbacks is to dilute the stoichiometric mixture with EGR. This paper compares lean burn operation with operation at stoichiometric conditions diluted with EGR, and using a three way catalyst.
Technical Paper

An Ionization Equilibrium Analysis of the Spark Plug as an Ionization Sensor

The use of a spark plug as an ionization sensor in an engine, and its physical and chemical explanation has been investigated. By applying a small constant DC voltage across the electrodes of the spark plug and measuring the current through the electrode gap, the state of the gas can be probed. An analytical expression for the current as a function of temperature is derived, and an inverse relation, where the pressure is a function of the current, is also presented. It is also found that a relatively minor species, NO, seems to be the major agent responsible for the conductivity of the hot gas in the spark gap.
Technical Paper

The Potential of Using the Ion-Current Signal for Optimizing Engine Stability - Comparisons of Lean and EGR (Stoichiometric) Operation

Ion current measurements can give information useful for controlling the combustion stability in a multi-cylinder engine. Operation near the dilution limit (air or EGR) can be achieved and it can be optimized individually for the cylinders, resulting in a system with better engine stability for highly diluted mixtures. This method will also compensate for engine wear, e.g. changes in volumetric efficiency and fuel injector characteristics. Especially in a port injected engine, changes in fuel injector characteristics can lead to increased emissions and deteriorated engine performance when operating with a closed-loop lambda control system. One problem using the ion-current signal to control engine stability near the lean limit is the weak signal resulting in low signal to noise ratio. Measurements presented in this paper were made on a turbocharged 9.6 liter six cylinder natural gas engine with port injection.
Technical Paper

Hydrogen Addition For Improved Lean Burn Capability of Slow and Fast Burning Natural Gas Combustion Chambers

One way to extend the lean burn limit of a natural gas engine is by addition of hydrogen to the primary fuel. This paper presents measurements made on a one cylinder 1.6 liter natural gas engine. Two combustion chambers, one slow and one fast burning, were tested with various amounts of hydrogen (0, 5, 10 and 15 %-vol) added to natural gas. Three operating points were investigated for each combustion chamber and each hydrogen content level; idle, part load (5 bar IMEP) and 13 bar IMEP (simulated turbocharging). Air/fuel ratio was varied between stoichiometric and the lean limit. For each operating point, a range of ignition timings were tested to find maximum brake torque (MBT) and/or knock. Heat-release rate calculations were made in order to assess the influence of hydrogen addition on burn rate. Addition of hydrogen showed an increase in burn rate for both combustion chambers, resulting in more stable combustion close to the lean limit.
Technical Paper

Compression Ratio Influence on Maximum Load of a Natural Gas Fueled HCCI Engine

This paper discusses the compression ratio influence on maximum load of a Natural Gas HCCI engine. A modified Volvo TD100 truck engine is controlled in a closed-loop fashion by enriching the Natural Gas mixture with Hydrogen. The first section of the paper illustrates and discusses the potential of using hydrogen enrichment of natural gas to control combustion timing. Cylinder pressure is used as the feedback and the 50 percent burn angle is the controlled parameter. Full-cycle simulation is compared to some of the experimental data and then used to enhance some of the experimental observations dealing with ignition timing, thermal boundary conditions, emissions and how they affect engine stability and performance. High load issues common to HCCI are discussed in light of the inherent performance and emissions tradeoff and the disappearance of feasible operating space at high engine loads.
Technical Paper

Modeling of HCCI Combustion Using Adaptive Chemical Kinetics

In this paper an online method for automatically reducing complex chemical mechanisms for simulations of combustion phenomena has been developed. The method is based on the Quasi Steady State Assumption (QSSA). In contrast to previous reduction schemes where chemical species are selected only when they are in steady state throughout the whole process, the present method allows for species to be selected at each operating point separately generating an adaptive chemical kinetics. The method is used for calculations of a natural gas fueled engine operating under Homogenous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) conditions. We discuss criteria for selecting steady state species and the influence of these criteria on the results such as concentration profiles and temperature.
Technical Paper

Supercharged Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) with Exhaust Gas Recirculation and Pilot Fuel

In an attempt to extend the upper load limit for Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI), supercharging in combination with Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) have been applied. Two different boost pressures were used, 1.1 bar and 1.5 bar. High EGR rates were used in order to reduce the combustion rate. The highest obtained IMEP was 16 bar. This was achieved with the higher boost pressure, at close to stoichiometric conditions and with approximately 50 % EGR. Natural gas was used as the main fuel. In the case with the higher boost pressure, iso-octane was used as pilot fuel, to improve the ignition properties of the mixture. This made it possible to use a lower compression ratio and thereby reducing the maximum cylinder pressure. The tests were performed on a single cylinder engine operated at low speed (1000 rpm). The test engine was equipped with a modified cylinder head, having a Variable Compression Ratio (VCR) mechanism.
Technical Paper

Cylinder to Cylinder and Cycle to Cycle Variations in a Six Cylinder Lean Burn Natural Gas Engine

The cylinder to cylinder and cycle to cycle variations were measured in a production type Volvo natural gas engine. Cylinder pressure was measured in all six cylinders. Emission measurements were performed individually after all cylinders, and commonly after the turbocharger. Measurements (ECE R49 13-mode) were performed with different spark gap and two different locations for fuel injection, one before the throttle and one before the turbocharger. Heat-release and lambda calculations show substantial cylinder to cylinder variations, due to lambda variations between the cylinders. The slow burn combustion chamber, with low turbulence, results in high cycle to cycle variations (> 100% COV imep) for some of the load cases.
Technical Paper

Employing an Ionization Sensor for Combustion Diagnostics in a Lean Burn Natural Gas Engine

An ionization sensor has been used to study the combustion process in a six-cylinder lean burn, truck-sized engine fueled with natural gas and optimized for low emissions of nitric oxides. The final goal of the investigations is to study the prospects of using the ionization sensor for finding the optimal operating position with respect to low NOx emission and stable engine operation. The results indicate that unstable combustion can be detected by analyzing the coefficient of variation (CoV) of the detector current amplitude. Close relationships between this measure and the CoV of the indicated mean effective pressure have been found during an air-fuel ratio scan with fixed ignition advance.
Technical Paper

Wavelet Analysis of In-Cylinder LDV Velocity Measurements

The object of this paper is to present a new way of analyzing in-cylinder velocity measurements. The technique is called Discrete Wavelet Transform (DWT) and it is similar to Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) with one important difference it is possible to obtain both time localized and frequency resolved information. This paper demonstrates the use of DWT calculations on in-cylinder LDV flow measurements for different combustion geometries in a natural gas converted truck engine. It will furthermore provide some information about how DWT can be used with in-cylinder measurements in the future.
Technical Paper

Combustion Chambers for Supercharged Natural Gas Engines

This work is a continuation of earlier research conducted on the effects of different combustion chambers on turbulence, combustion, emissions and efficiency for natural gas converted diesel bus engines. In this second measurement series the engine (Volvo TD102) was supercharged to enable bmep up to 18 bar at λ = 1.6-1.9. Six different combustion chambers were used. The results show that different geometrical combustion chambers, with the same compression ratio (12:1), have very different combustion performance. A high rate of heat release is favorable for lean operation, and the design of the combustion chamber is very important for the knock and misfire limits.
Technical Paper

Combustion Chambers for Natural Gas SI Engines Part I: Fluid Flow and Combustion

The most economical way to convert truck and bus DI-diesel engines to natural gas operation is to replace the injector with a spark plug and modify the combustion chamber in the piston crown for spark ignition operation. The modification of the piston crown should give a geometry well suited for spark ignition operation with the original swirling inlet port. Ten different geometries were tried on a converted VOLVO TD102 engine and a remarkably large difference in the rate of combustion was noted between the chambers. To find an explanation for this difference a cycle resolved measurement of the in-cylinder mean velocity and turbulence was performed with Laser Doppler Velocimetry (LDV). The results show a high correlation between in cylinder turbulence and rate of heat release in the main part of combustion.
Technical Paper

Combustion Chambers for Natural Gas SI Engines Part 2: Combustion and Emissions

The objective of this paper is to investigate how the combustion chamber design will influence combustion parameters and emissions in a natural gas SI engine. Ten different geometries were tried on a converted Volvo TD102 engine. For the different combustion chambers emissions and the pressure in the cylinder have been measured. The pressure in the cylinder was then used in a one-zone heat-release model to get different combustion parameters. The engine was operated unthrottled at 1200 rpm with different values of air/fuel ratio and EGR. The air/fuel ratio was varied from stoichiometric to lean limit. EGR values from 0 to 30% at stoichiometric air/fuel ratio were used. The results show a remarkably large difference in the rate of combustion between the chambers. The cycle-to-cycle variations are fairly independent of combustion chamber design as long as there is some squish area and the air and the natural gas are well mixed.
Technical Paper

The Importance of High-Frequency, Small-Eddy Turbulence in Spark Ignited, Premixed Engine Combustion

The different roles played by small and large eddies in engine combustion were studied. Experiments compared natural gas combustion in a converted, single cylinder Volvo TD 102 engine and in a 125 mm cubical cell. Turbulence is used to enhance flame growth, ideally giving better efficiency and reduced cyclic variation. Both engine and test cell results showed that flame growth rate correlated best with the level of high frequency, small eddy turbulence. The more effective, small eddy turbulence also tended to lower cyclic variations. Large scales and bulk flows convected the flame relative to cool surfaces and were most important to the initial flame kernel.
Technical Paper

Residual Gas Visualization with Laser Induced Fluorescence

The influence of residual gases on the cycle-to-cycle variations in engine combustion was investigated. Two-photon planar laser-induced fluorescence was used for 2D-visualization of residual gas water. In order to avoid influence from fuel fluorescence and inhomogeneities premixed natural gas was used as fuel. Measurements were conducted at different load conditions with varying inlet manifold pressure. To find out how the residual gas distribution influences the combustion process the pressure development during combustion was monitored. From the pressure information a measure of the combustion rate at different phases of the flame development was calculated. The correlation between residual gas distribution and combustion rate was evaluated on a cycle to cycle basis. The results show that with an inlet manifold pressure of 0.3 bar the correlation between residual gas fraction and rate of combustion were 0.5-0.6. At full load though, lower correlation was found.
Technical Paper

Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) Using Isooctane, Ethanol and Natural Gas - A Comparison with Spark Ignition Operation

The Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) is the third alternative for combustion in the Internal Combustion (IC) engines. Here, a homogeneous charge is used as in a spark ignited engine but the charge is compressed to auto-ignition as in a diesel. The characteristics of HCCI were compared to SI using a 1.6 liter single cylinder engine with compression ratio 21:1 in HCCI mode and 12:1 in SI mode. Three different fuels were used; isooctane, ethanol and natural gas. Some remarkable results were noted in the experiments: The indicated efficiency of HCCI was much better than for SI operation. Very little NOx was generated with HCCI, eliminating the need for a LeanNOx catalyst. However, HCCI generated more HC and CO than SI operation. Stable and efficient operation with HCCI could be obtained with λ=3 to λ=9 using isooctane or ethanol. Natural gas, with a higher octane number, required a richer mixture to run in HCCI mode.
Technical Paper

Measurements of Turbulent Flame Speed and Integral Length Scales in a Lean Stationary Premixed Flame

Turbulent premixed natural gas - air flame velocities have been measured in a stationary axi-symmetric burner using LDA. The flame was stabilized by letting the flow retard toward a stagnation plate downstream of the burner exit. Turbulence was generated by letting the flow pass through a plate with drilled holes. Three different hole diameters were used, 3, 6 and 10 mm, in order to achieve different turbulent length scales. Turbulent integral length scales were measured using two-point LDA and the stretching in terms of the Karlovitz number could be estimated from these measurements. The results support previous studies indicating that stretching reduces the flame speed.