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.