Converting existing compression ignition (CI) engines to spark ignition (SI) operation can increase the use of natural gas (NG) in heavy-duty engine applications and reduce the reliance on petroleum fuels. Gas fumigation upstream of the intake manifold and the addition of a spark plug in place of the diesel injector to initiate and control the combustion process is a convenient approach for converting existing diesel engines to dedicated NG operation. Stoichiometric operation and a three-way catalytic converter can help the engine to comply with increasingly strict emission regulations. However, as the CI-to-SI conversion usually maintains the conventional geometry of a CI engine (i.e., maintains the flat cylinder head and the bowl-in piston), the goal of this study was to observe some of the effects that the diesel conversion to stoichiometric NG SI operation will have on the engine’s performance and emissions. Dynamometer tests were performed at a constant engine speed at 1300 rpm but various spark timings. The experimental results for a net indicated mean effective pressure ∼ 6.7 bar showed that ignition timing did not affect the end of combustion due to the slow-burn inside the squish. Moreover, the less-optimal conditions inside the squish led to increased carbon monoxide (CO) and unburned hydrocarbon (UHC) emissions. While the combustion event was stable with no signs of knocking at the medium load conditions investigated here, the results suggest that the engine control needs to optimize the mass fraction trapped inside the squish region for a higher efficiency and lower emissions.

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