Hydrogen is well recognized as a suitable fuel for spark-ignition engine applications that has many unique attractive features and limitations. It is a fuel that can continue potentially to meet the ever increasingly stringent regulations for exhaust and greenhouse gas emissions. The application of hydrogen as an engine fuel has been tried over many decades by numerous investigators with varying degrees of success. The performance data reported often tend not to display consistent agreement between the various investigators mainly because of the wide differences in engine type, size, operating conditions used and the differing criteria employed to judge whether knock is taking place or not. With the ever-increasing interest in hydrogen as an engine fuel, there is a need to be able to model extensively various features of the performance of spark ignition (S.I.) hydrogen engines so as to investigate and compare reliably the performance of widely different engines under a wide variety of operating conditions. The paper employs a quasi-dimensional two-zone model for the operation of S.I. engines when fuelled with hydrogen. In this approach, the engine combustion chamber at any instant of time during combustion is considered to be divided into two temporally varying zones: a burned zone and an unburned zone. The model incorporates a detailed chemical kinetic model scheme of 30 reaction steps and 12 species, to simulate the oxidation reactions of hydrogen in air. A knock prediction model, developed previously for S.I. methane-hydrogen fuelled engine applications (Shrestha and Karim 1999(a) and 1999(b)) was extended to consider operation on hydrogen. The effects of changes in operating conditions, including a very wide range of variations in equivalence ratio on the onset of knock and its intensity, combustion duration, power, efficiency and operational limits were investigated. The results of this predictive approach were shown to validate well against corresponding experimental results of our own and those of others, obtained mostly in a variable compression ratio CFR engine. On this basis, the effects of changes in some of the key operational engine variables, such as compression ratio, intake temperature and spark timing are presented and discussed. Some guidelines for superior knock free-operation of engines on hydrogen are made also.

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