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Research Papers: Internal Combustion Engines

Lean-Burn Stationary Natural Gas Engine Operation With a Prototype Laser Spark Plug

[+] Author and Article Information
Dustin L. McIntyre, Steven D. Woodruff, John S. Ontko

National Energy Technology Laboratory, United States Department of Energy, 3610 Collins Ferry Road, Morgantown, WV 26507

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power 132(7), 072804 (Apr 19, 2010) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4000292 History: Received May 21, 2009; Revised May 22, 2009; Published April 19, 2010; Online April 19, 2010

An end pumped passively Q-switched laser igniter was developed to meet the ignition system needs of large bore lean burn stationary natural gas engines. The laser spark plug used an optical fiber coupled diode pump source to axially pump a passively Q-switched Nd:YAG laser and transmit the laser pulse through a custom designed lens. The optical fiber coupled pump source permits the excitation energy to be transmitted to the spark plug at relatively low optical power, less than 250 W. The Q-switched laser then generates as much as 8 mJ of light in 2.5 ns, which is focused through an asymmetric biconvex lens to create a laser spark from a focused intensity of approximately 225GW/cm2. A single cylinder engine fueled with either natural gas only or hydrogen augmented natural gas was operated with the laser spark plug for approximately 10 h in tests spanning 4 days. The tests were conducted with fixed engine speed, fixed boost pressure, no exhaust gas recirculation, and laser spark timing advance set at maximum brake torque timing. Engine operational and emissions data were collected and analyzed.

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Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Lateral view of diode side pumped laser showing absorption patterns

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Figure 2

Cross section of side pumped laser rod showing off-centered and uneven absorption pattern

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Figure 3

Lateral view of diode end pumped laser showing absorption patterns

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Figure 4

Cross section of end pumped laser rod showing centered and even absorption pattern

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Figure 5

End pumped laser cavity construction and optical components

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Figure 6

Scale comparison of end pumped laser from current work and side pumped laser from previous work

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Figure 7

Structural diagram of laser spark plug, associated optics and engine adaptor

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Figure 8

Sealing lens design comparison: (a) current design and (b) previous design

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Figure 9

Photo of laser spark plug engine setup

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Figure 10

Engine test facility schematic

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Figure 11

Total NOx emissions data for the two tests as a function of equivalence ratio

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Figure 12

Carbon dioxide emissions data for the two tests as a function of equivalence ratio

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Figure 13

Total hydrocarbons emissions data for the two tests as a function of equivalence ratio

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