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

Advanced Catalytic Igniters Technology for Small Compact Engine Applications

[+] Author and Article Information
Shahrokh Etemad

Precision Combustion, Inc.,
North Haven, CT 06473
e-mail: setemad@precision-combustion.com

Benjamin D. Baird, Sandeep Alavandi

Precision Combustion, Inc.,
North Haven, CT 06473

1Present address: Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT 06824.

Contributed by the Combustion and Fuels Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENGINEERING FOR GAS TURBINES AND POWER. Manuscript received July 4, 2014; final manuscript received July 16, 2014; published online December 9, 2014. Editor: David Wisler.

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power 137(6), 061502 (Jun 01, 2015) (7 pages) Paper No: GTP-14-1328; doi: 10.1115/1.4028617 History: Received July 04, 2014; Revised July 16, 2014; Online December 09, 2014

Development of technologies that allow small, high power density engines such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), unmanned marine vehicles (UMV), and unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) to operate on single logistic fuel such as JP-8 is one of government goals. To advance this goal, a lightweight, compact, and retrofit capable ignition source is critical. Compared to standard spark igniters and noncatalytic glow plugs, the use of catalytic glow plugs will provide benefits of lower required compression ratio, improved igniter life, reduced electrical energy requirements, and overall reduction in system weight and size. Experimental testing demonstrated a significant increase in surface temperature (160+ °C) with impingement of a fuel spray compared to a conventional glow plug with engine testing demonstrating the use of catalyst allows stable engine operation at reduced power requirements. Computational analysis was performed to provide insight into the catalyst behavior. Analytical studies suggested increased stability due to both heat release due to exothermic catalytic reaction and production of reactive species. This technology would allow high power density engines to use heavy fuels, while potentially reducing electric power supply and engine complexity and weight, both of which would allow greater range and/or payload capacity. This paper discusses the feasibility of advanced igniters technology as an enabling component for the use of heavy fuels in small, high power density internal combustion engines. The paper presents and discusses analytical investigation, experimental test results, and durability testing data in an internal combustion engine environment.

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References

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Curran, H. J., Gaffuri, P., Pitz, W. J., and Westbrook, C. K., 1998, “A Comprehensive Modeling Study of n-Heptane Oxidation,” Combust. Flame, 114(1–2), pp. 149–177. [CrossRef]

Figures

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Fig. 1

Close up of glow plug powered by 12 V input

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Fig. 2

Atmospheric spray rig

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Fig. 3

Change in catalytic glow plug surface temperature with impingement of JP-8. Glow plug voltage of 8 V.

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Fig. 4

Change in catalytic glow plug surface temperature with impingement of gasoline. Glow plug voltage of 8 V.

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Fig. 5

Difference of peak surface temperature of glow plug with cyclic JP-8 spray impingement and steady state surface temperature. Variable JP-8 spray flow rate and glow plug voltage.

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Fig. 6

Engine prior to full assembly into test bed

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Fig. 7

Close up of test bed engine showing glow plug

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Fig. 9

Effect of catalytic glow plugs aging on smoke tendency and sustainability of operation. Hours refers to total amount of time of catalytic plug operation at “standard” conditions. Compression ratio of 11.5:1. Pump diesel as fuel.

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Fig. 10

Schematic of computational reactor model

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Fig. 11

Auto-ignition delay as a function of stage 2 temperature delta. P = 10 atm, air temperature of 600 K.

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Fig. 12

Auto-ignition delay as a function of stage 3 exit temperature. P = 10 atm, air temperature = 600 K, 1.0% impinged flow.

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