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Technical Paper

Lean-Burn Characteristics of a Gasoline Engine Enriched with Hydrogen Plasmatron Fuel Reformer

When hydrogen is added to a gasoline fueled spark ignition engine the lean limit of the engine can be extended. Lean running engines are inherently more efficient and have the potential for significantly lower NOx emissions. In the engine concept examined here, supplemental hydrogen is generated on-board the vehicle by diverting a fraction of the gasoline to a plasmatron where a partial oxidation reaction is initiated with an electrical discharge, producing a plasmatron gas containing primarily hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen. Two different gas mixtures were used to simulate the plasmatron output. An ideal plasmatron gas (H2, CO, and N2) was used to represent the output of the theoretically best plasmatron. A typical plasmatron gas (H2, CO, N2, and CO2) was used to represent the current output of the plasmatron. A series of hydrogen addition experiments were also performed to quantify the impact of the non-hydrogen components in the plasmatron gas.