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Technical Paper

A Feasibility Evaluation of a Thermal Plasma Fuel Reformer for Supplemental Hydrogen Addition to Internal Combustion Engines

One scenario for reducing engine out NOx in a spark ignition engine is to introduce small amounts of supplemental hydrogen to the combustion process. The supplemental hydrogen enables a gasoline engine to run lean where NOx emissions are significantly reduced and engine efficiency is increased relative to stoichiometric operation. This paper reports on a mass and energy balance model that has been developed to evaluate the overall system efficiencies of a thermal reformer-heat exchanger system capable of delivering hydrogen to the air intake of a gasoline engine. The mass and energy balance model is utilized to evaluate the conditions where energy losses associated with fuel reformation may be offset by increases in engine efficiencies.
Technical Paper

Experimental Evaluation of SI Engine Operation Supplemented by Hydrogen Rich Gas from a Compact Plasma Boosted Reformer

It is well known that hydrogen addition to spark-ignited (SI) engines can reduce exhaust emissions and increase efficiency. Micro plasmatron fuel converters can be used for onboard generation of hydrogen-rich gas by partial oxidation of a wide range of fuels. These plasma-boosted microreformers are compact, rugged, and provide rapid response. With hydrogen supplement to the main fuel, SI engines can run very lean resulting in a large reduction in nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions relative to stoichiometric combustion without a catalytic converter. This paper presents experimental results from a microplasmatron fuel converter operating under variable oxygen to carbon ratios. Tests have also been carried out to evaluate the effect of the addition of a microplasmatron fuel converter generated gas in a 1995 2.3-L four-cylinder SI production engine. The tests were performed with and without hydrogen-rich gas produced by the plasma boosted fuel converter with gasoline.
Technical Paper

Onboard Plasmatron Reforming of Biofuels, Gasoline and Diesel Fuel

Compact plasmatron devices can provide important new possibilities for reducing engine pollution, making use of alternative fuels and increasing the engine efficiency. These improvements involve the use of the plasmatron as a compact, rugged, rapid response and highly flexible means of converting a wide range of hydrocarbon fuels into hydrogen rich gas onboard a vehicle. Opportunities for engine operation with a greater variety of fuels and fuel combinations could be significantly increased by use of plasmatron devices. In addition to the capability of using alternative fuels, large reductions in pollutant emissions from SI engines are possible. Very lean operation, by hydrogen addition to the main fuel, can reduce NOx production by large factor relative to stoichiometric combustion without a catalytic converter, and provide a reduction of more than a factor of ten relative to operation with a three way catalytic converter at stoichiometric air to fuel ratios.