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research-article

Performance of a Laser Ignited Multi-Cylinder Lean Burn Natural Gas Engine

[+] Author and Article Information
Bader Almansour

University of Central Florida Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering 4000 Central Florida Blvd, Orlando, FL 32816
bader@knights.ucf.edu

Subith Vasu

University of Central Florida Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering 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:10.1115/1.4036621 History: Received October 03, 2016; Revised April 19, 2017

Abstract

Market demands for lower fueling costs and higher specific powers in stationary natural gas engines has engine designs trending towards higher in-cylinder pressures and leaner combustion operation. However, Ignition remains as the main limiting factor in achieving further performance improvements in these engines. Addressing this concern, while incorporating various recent advances in optics and laser technologies, laser igniters were designed and developed through numerous iterations. Final designs incorporated water-cooled, passively Q-switched, Nd:YAG micro-lasers that were optimized for stable operation under harsh engine conditions. Subsequently, the micro-lasers were installed in the individual cylinders of a lean-burn, 350 kW, inline 6-cylinder, open-chamber, spark ignited engine and tests were conducted. The engine was operated at high-load (298 kW) and rated speed (1800 rpm) conditions. Ignition timing sweeps and excess-air ratio (Lambda) sweeps were performed while keeping the NOx emissions below the USEPA regulated value (BSNOx < 1.34 g/kW-hr), and while maintaining ignition stability at industry acceptable values (COV_IMEP <5 %). Through such engine tests, the relative merits of (i) standard electrical ignition system, and (ii) laser ignition system were determined. A rigorous combustion data analysis was performed and the main reasons leading to improved performance in the case of laser ignition were identified.

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