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research-article

prechamber equipped laser ignition (PCLI) for improved performance in natural gas engines

[+] Author and Article Information
Bader Almansour

University of Central Florida 4000 Central Florida Blvd, Orlando, FL 32816
bader@knights.ucf.edu

Subith Vasu

University of Central Florida 4000 Central Florida Blvd, Orlando, FL 32816
subith@ucf.edu

Sreenath B. Gupta

Argonne National Laboratory 362-G212, 9700 south Cass Ave., Lemont, IL 60439
sgupta@anl.gov

Qing Wang

Princeton Optronics, Inc. 1 Electronics Drive, Mercerville, NJ 08619
qwang@princetonoptronics.com

Robert Van Leeuwen

Princeton Optronics, Inc. 1 Electronics Drive, Mercerville, NJ 08619
rleeuwen@princetonoptronics.com

Chuni Ghosh

Princeton Optronics, Inc. 1 Electronics Drive, Mercerville, NJ 08619
cghosh@princetonoptronics.com

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4036291 History: Received February 01, 2017; Revised February 20, 2017

Abstract

Lean-burn operation of stationary natural gas engines offers lower NOx emissions and improved efficiency. A proven pathway to extend lean-burn operation has been to use laser ignition instead of standard spark ignition. However, under lean conditions, flame speed reduces thereby offsetting any efficiency gains resulting from the higher ratio of specific heats, ?. The reduced flame speeds, in turn, can be compensated with the use of a prechamber to result in volumetric ignition, and thereby lead to faster combustion. In this study, the optimal geometry of PCLI was identified through several tests in a single-cylinder engine as a compromise between autoignition, NOx and soot formation within the prechamber. Subsequently, tests were conducted in a single-cylinder natural gas engine comparing the performance of three ignition systems: standard electrical spark ignition (SI), single-point laser ignition (LI), and prechamber equipped laser ignition (PCLI). Out of the three, the performance of PCLI was far superior compared to the other two. Efficiency gain of 2.1% points could be achieved while complying with EPA regulation (BSNOx < 1.34 kW-hr) and the industry standard for ignition stability (COV_IMEP < 5%). Test results and data analysis are presented identifying the combustion mechanisms leading to the improved performance.

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