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CFD Study of Dual Fuel Combustion in a Research Diesel Engine Fueled by Hydrogen


Superior fuel economy, higher torque and durability have led to the diesel engine being widely used in a variety of fields of application, such as road transport, agricultural vehicles, earth moving machines and marine propulsion, as well as fixed installations for electrical power generation. However, diesel engines are plagued by high emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate matter (PM) and carbon dioxide when conventional fuel is used. One possible solution is to use low-carbon gaseous fuel alongside diesel fuel by operating in a dual-fuel (DF) configuration, as this system provides a low implementation cost alternative for the improvement of combustion efficiency in the conventional diesel engine. An initial step in this direction involved the replacement of diesel fuel with natural gas. However, the consequent high levels of unburned hydrocarbons produced due to non-optimized engines led to a shift to carbon-free fuels, such as hydrogen. Hydrogen can be injected into the intake manifold, where it premixes with air, then the addition of a small amount of diesel fuel, auto-igniting easily, provides multiple ignition sources for the gas. To evaluate the efficiency and pollutant emissions in dual-fuel diesel-hydrogen combustion, a numerical CFD analysis was conducted and validated with the aid of experimental measurements on a research engine acquired at the test bench. The process of ignition of diesel fuel and flame propagation through a premixed air-hydrogen charge was represented the Autoignition-Induced Flame Propagation model included ANSYS-Forte software. Because of the inefficient operating conditions associated with the combustion, the methodology was significantly improved by evaluating the laminar flame speed as a function of pressure, temperature and equivalence ratio using Chemkin-Pro software. A numerical comparison was carried out among full hydrogen, full methane and different hydrogen-methane mixtures with the same energy input in each case. The use of full hydrogen was characterized by enhanced combustion, higher thermal efficiency and lower carbon emissions. However, the higher temperatures that occurred for hydrogen combustion led to higher NOx emissions.

Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: Italy

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