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Knock Mitigation and Power Enhancement of Hydrogen Spark-Ignition Engine through Ammonia Blending


Hydrogen and ammonia are primary carbon-free fuels that have massive production potential. In regard to their flame properties, these two fuels largely represent the two extremes among all fuels. The extremely fast flame speed of hydrogen can lead to an easy deflagration-to-detonation transition and cause detonation-type engine knock that limits the global equivalence ratio, and consequently the engine power. The very low flame speed and reactivity of ammonia can lead to a low heat release rate and cause difficulty in ignition and ammonia slip. Adding ammonia into hydrogen can effectively modulate flame speed and hence the heat release rate, which in turn mitigates engine knock and retains the zero-carbon nature of the system. However, a key issue that remains unclear is the blending ratio of NH3 that provides the desired heat release rate, emission level, and engine power. In the present work, a 3D computational combustion study is conducted to search for the optimal hydrogen/ammonia mixture that is knock-free and meanwhile allows sufficient power in a typical spark-ignition engine configuration. Parametric studies with varying global equivalence ratios and hydrogen/ammonia blends are conducted. The results show that with added ammonia, engine knock can be avoided, even under stoichiometric operating conditions. Due to the increased global equivalence ratio and added ammonia, the energy content of trapped charge as well as work output per cycle is increased. About 90% of the work output of a pure gasoline engine under the same conditions can be reached by hydrogen/ammonia blends. The work shows great potential of blended fuel or hydrogen/ammonia dual fuel in high-speed SI engines.

Funding source: This research was funded by NSF, grant number 2225803.
Related subjects: Applications & Pathways

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