American Journal of Applied Sciences

An Investigation of Compressed Natural Gas Engine for Nitrogen Oxides Reduction

P. M. Diaz and B. Durga Prasad

DOI : 10.3844/ajassp.2012.1030.1036

American Journal of Applied Sciences

Volume 9, Issue 7

Pages 1030-1036


Problem statement: This study describes the use of Reformer Gas (RG) to alter NOx emission in a CNG-fueled HCCI engine. Comparison with diesel, natural gas has a very high octane number (?120) and high auto-ignition temperature (?600°C). Composed mostly of methane, natural gas is the only common fuel to manifest relatively pure, single-stage combustion. Other fuels have stronger low-temperature reaction and the required entropy for main stage combustion can be obtained from the low temperature heat release as a result of compression to moderate pressure and temperature. In deviation, the methane molecule resists destruction by free radicals and produces negligible heat release at low temperature. In consequences, in CNG-fueled HCCI engines the activation energy required for auto-ignition must be obtained by extreme levels of charge heating and compression. This causes inherently to a high rate of heat release. HCCI operation with pure CNG fuel was attained but not really practical due to very high NOx production. While HCCI operation is usually described as a low NOx technique, the knocking behavior when running with pure CNG raised the peak combustion temperature to a value well above normal combustion and the critical Zeldovich NOx production threshold, giving very high indicated NOx emissions. Approach: One approach to improving these properties is to convert part of the base CNG fuel to Reformer Gas (RG). In this study, modified COMET engine was operated in HCCI mode using a mixture of CNG fuel and simulated RG (75% H2 and 25% CO) can be produced on-board from CNG using low current and non-thermal plasma boosted fuel converter. Results: This study shows that despite of having various RG mass fractions, ? was the dominant factor in reducing NOx production and increasing RG mass fraction had only a small effect on increasing NOx. This disconnect between the overall equivalence ratio and RG fraction shows that the real benefit of the RG blending was to enable lean (high) operation. Higher ? also effectively reduced maximum pressure and maximum pressure rate. Conclusion: Note that due to the low achievable power levels, the NOx emissions continue to be high and further combustion enhancements and more controlled combustion would be needed to make the CNG-fuelled HCCI engine practical.


© 2012 P. M. Diaz and B. Durga Prasad. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.