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Book Chapter


The Ultra-Lean Partially Stratified Charge Approach to Reducing Emissions in Natural Gas Spark-Ignited Engines

Bartolucci, L., Chan, E., Cordiner, S., Evans, R., Mulone, V. (2019): The Ultra-Lean Partially Stratified Charge Approach to Reducing Emissions in Natural Gas Spark-Ignited Engines. - In: Srinivasan, K. K., Agarwal, A. K., Krishnan, S. R., Mulone, V. (Eds.), Natural Gas Engines: For Transportation and Power Generation, (Energy, Environment, and Sustainability), Singapore : Springer, p. 29-63.
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Lean-burn natural gas engines can be used to reduce exhaust emissions significantly. However, as the mixture is leaned out, the occurrence of extinction and incomplete combustion increases, resulting in poor performance and stability, as well as elevated levels of unburned hydrocarbon (UHC) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions. The partially stratified charge (PSC) method can be used to mitigate these issues, while extending the lean misfire limit (LML) beyond its equivalent, homogeneous level. In this chapter, the PSC ignition and combustion processes are examined following a comprehensive experimental and numerical approach. Experiments are conducted in an idealized PSC configuration, using a constant volume combustion chamber (CVCC), to identify the principle enabling mechanisms of the PSC methodology. Engine tests conducted in a single-cylinder research engine (SCRE) demonstrate the feasibility of various PSC implementations in improving performance and emission characteristics in real-world settings. Complementary numerical analyses for the CVCC are obtained through large eddy simulations (LES), while Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes (RANS) simulations are conducted for SCRE with reduced chemical kinetics. The corresponding simulated results provide additional insights in characterizing the effect of fuel stratification on flame kernel maturation and flame propagation, the interplay between chemistry and turbulence at different overall air–fuel ratios, as well as formation of major pollutant species.