It is well known that adding hydrogen to natural gas extends the lean limit of combustion and that in this way extremely low emission levels can be obtained: even the equivalent zero emission vehicle (EZEV) requirements can be reached. The emissions reduction is especially important at light engine loads. In this paper results are presented for a GM V8 engine. Natural gas, pure hydrogen and different blends of these two fuels have been tested. The fuel supply system used provides natural gas/hydrogen mixtures in variable proportion, regulated independently of the engine operating condition. The influence of the fuel composition on the engine operating characteristics and exhaust emissions has been examined, mainly but not exclusively for 10 and 20 percent hydrogen addition. At least 10 percent hydrogen addition is necessary for a significant improvement in efficiency. Due to the conflicting requirements for low hydrocarbons and low $NOx,$ determining the optimum hythane composition is not straight-forward. For hythane mixtures with a high hydrogen fraction, it is found that a hydrogen content of 80 percent or less guarantees safe engine operation (no backfire nor knock), whatever the air excess factor. It is shown that to obtain maximum engine efficiency for the whole load range while taking low exhaust emissions into account, the mixture composition should be varied with respect to engine load. [S0742-4795(00)02001-9]

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