Due to market demands aimed at increasing the efficiency and the power density of gas engines, existing ignition systems are rapidly approaching their limits. To avoid this, gas engine manufacturers are seeking new technologies. From the viewpoint of gas engine R&D engineers, ignition of the fuel/air mixture by means of a laser has great potential. Especially the thermodynamic requirements of a high compression ratio and a high power density are fulfilled well by laser ignition. Results of measurements on the test bench confirm the high expectations — with a BMEP of 1.8 MPa it was possible to verify NOx values of a non-optimized system of 30 ppm (70 mg/Nm3 @ 5 % O2) with very high combustion stability. Despite this, considerable developmental steps are still necessary to adapt the laser ignition concept fully to desired objectives (especially costs).

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