Natural gas is known as a relatively clean fossil fuel due to its low carbon to hydrogen ratio compared to other transportation fuels, which yields a reduction of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and unburned hydrocarbons emissions. However, it has a low cetane number, which makes it a difficult fuel for use in compression ignition engines. A potential solution for this issue can be adding small amounts of argon, as a noble gas with a low specific heat to modify the intake conditions. In this numerical study, a commercial compression ignition engine has been modeled to evaluate the auto-ignition of natural gas with the modified intake conditions. Different amounts of argon added to the intake air are examined in order to attain the optimal operating conditions. A detailed chemistry solver is implemented on a 53-species chemical kinetics mechanism to calculate the rate constants. The results show that compression ignition of natural gas can be achieved by adding small amounts of argon to the intake air. It drastically increases the in-cylinder temperature and pressure near TDC, which enables the auto-ignition of the injected natural gas. Moreover, it leads to the reduction in ignition delay and heat release rate, and expands the combustion duration. Emissions analysis indicates that NOx and CO2 can be significantly diminished by increasing the amount of argon in the intake composition. This study introduces an efficient and clean compression ignition engine fueled with natural gas running in optimal operating conditions using argon addition to the intake.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.