The gas engine is a very efficient possibility of a technological approach for the conversion of chemically bound energy into mechanical or electrical power. Degrees of efficiency achieved thus far through the electrification of natural gas amount to up to 45% depending on the engine size and further potentials are already being opened up. Gas engines therefore do not need to fear a comparison with diesel engines in terms of efficiency. The modern gas engines have considerable advantages regarding emissions. The state of the art for the NOx emissions of natural gas engines can presently be given as 0.7 g/kWh (diesel 5 g NOx/kWh) with practically particle-free combustion. As a result of these features the gas engine is especially suitable for the very efficient process of cogeneration of heat and power, through which total degrees of fuel efficiency of about 90% can be attained. As such, the gas engine is even superior to all previously introduced types of fuel cells. The utilization of H2-rich gases as fuel can be seen as a new field of application of gas engines. Jenbacher AG already has many years of experience in the field of “H2-rich fuels” with optimization of combustion control and mixture formation. The H2 content extend from 100% to very low caloric values of gases in the range of 1.67 MJ/Nm3. The gases to be utilized by the gas engines come primarily from thermal pyrolysis processes of biomass or RDF fuels. A very good efficiency behavior with uncommonly low NOx emissions can be determined as the common result of all gas engine sizes. In the case of the high NH3 content of e.g. wood gas, despite the extreme lean-burn operation through the primary formation of NOx from the fuel, no NOx minimum can be attained. For the future, making the step into H2-rich fuel technology particularly regarding emissions means a big step towards the low NOx concepts and thus the further reduction of engine emissions.

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