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Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Combustion, Fuels, and Emissions

Prechamber Equipped Laser Ignition for Improved Performance in Natural Gas Engines

[+] Author and Article Information
Bader Almansour

Department of Mechanical
and Aerospace Engineering,
University of Central Florida,
4000 Central Florida Boulevard,
Orlando, FL 32816
e-mail: bader@knights.ucf.edu

Subith Vasu

Department of Mechanical
and Aerospace Engineering,
University of Central Florida,
4000 Central Florida Boulevard,
Orlando, FL 32816
e-mail: subith@ucf.edu

Sreenath B. Gupta

Argonne National Laboratory,
362-G212, 9700 South Cass Avenue,
Lemont, IL 60439
e-mail: sgupta@anl.gov

Qing Wang

Princeton Optronics, Inc.,
1 Electronics Drive,
Mercerville, NJ 08619
e-mail: qwang@princetonoptronics.com

Robert Van Leeuwen

Princeton Optronics, Inc.,
1 Electronics Drive,
Mercerville, NJ 08619
e-mail: rleeuwen@princetonoptronics.com

Chuni Ghosh

Princeton Optronics, Inc.,
1 Electronics Drive,
Mercerville, NJ 08619
e-mail: cghosh@princetonoptronics.com

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Combustion and Fuels Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENGINEERING FOR GAS TURBINES AND POWER. Manuscript received February 1, 2017; final manuscript received February 20, 2017; published online April 25, 2017. Editor: David Wisler.The United States Government retains, and by accepting the article for publication, the publisher acknowledges that the United States Government retains, a nonexclusive, paid-up, irrevocable, worldwide license to publish or reproduce the published form of this work, or allow others to do so, for United States government purposes.

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power 139(10), 101501 (Apr 25, 2017) (6 pages) Paper No: GTP-17-1042; doi: 10.1115/1.4036291 History: Received February 01, 2017; Revised February 20, 2017

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 (LI) instead of standard spark ignition (SI). However, under lean conditions, flame speed reduces, thereby offsetting any efficiency gains resulting from the higher ratio of specific heats, γ. 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 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 kWh) and the industry standard for ignition stability (coefficient of variation of integrated mean effective pressure (COV_IMEP) < 5%). Test results and data analysis are presented identifying the combustion mechanisms leading to the improved performance.

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References

Figures

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Fig. 3

Schematic of the engine test setup

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Fig. 2

Ignition geometries that were tested: (a) spark ignition (SI), (b) single-point laser ignition (LI), and (c) prechamber laser ignition (PCLI)

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Fig. 1

Laminar burning velocities calculated for typical conditions at the time of ignition for three different excess air ratios

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Fig. 8

Combustion duration for the three ignition systems

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Fig. 4

(a) Ignition delay and (b) combustion duration for the three prechamber geometries for λ = 1.58

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Fig. 5

(a) Ignition delay and (b) combustion duration for D1 and D3

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Fig. 6

Pressure traces and heat release rates

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Fig. 7

Ignition delay for the three ignition systems

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Fig. 9

Relative performance of SI, LI, and PCLI

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