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International Journal of Hydrogen Energy 32 (2007) 4279 – 4284

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Experimental study on a spark ignition engine fuelled by
methane–hydrogen mixtures
S. Orhan Akansu ∗ , Nafiz Kahraman, Bilge Çeper
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Erciyes University, 38039 Kayseri, Turkey

Received 26 February 2007; received in revised form 23 May 2007; accepted 23 May 2007
Available online 9 July 2007

Abstract
In this study, effects on a spark ignition engine of mixtures of hydrogen and methane have been experimentally considered. This article
presents the results of a four-cylinder engine test with mixtures of hydrogen in methane of 0, 10, 20 and 30% by volume. Experiments have
been made varying the equivalence ratio. Equivalence ratios have been selected from 0.6 to 1.2. Each fuel has been investigated at 2000 rpm
and constant load conditions. The result shows that NO emissions increase, HC, CO and CO2 emission values decrease and brake thermal
efficiency (BTE) values increase with increasing hydrogen percentage.
䉷 2007 International Association for Hydrogen Energy. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Hydrogen; Methane; Spark ignition engine; Emissions

1. Introduction ignition engines is usually obtained through measures such as
the employment of optimum spark timing, improved chamber
Most of the energy requirement in the world is supplied by design and increased turbulence. The extent of increase in the
fossil fuels. Fossil fuel reserves are becoming exhausted at an level of turbulence in engines is usually limited and are nec-
alarming rate. Furthermore, burning of the fossil fuels generates essarily associated with the use of excessive turbulence that
noxious pollutants, which threaten the very survival of life in includes excessive heat transfer and higher NOx emissions in
the world [1]. Therefore, there are requirements for much more optimum chamber geometry. Hence, there is a need to enhance
clean fuels. Natural gas (NG) offers considerable potential as the combustion process without bringing about some of these
an alternative fuel to petrol for internal combustion engines [2]. disadvantages. One approach is the addition to methane a small
One of the problems with petroleum is the emission of pol- amount of hydrogen, a fuel having much cleaner and faster rate
lutants, such as CO2 , NOx , CO and hydrocarbons (HC). Much of burning than methane.
greater amounts of coal are known to exist but conventional Nagalingam et al. [4] investigated hydrogen enriched CNG
coal burning technology is much more polluting than most (hythane). He noted that the power was reduced due to the
other fuels, particularly in terms of the greenhouse gas emis- lower volumetric heating value of hydrogen compared with
sions per unit of useful energy released [3]. In order to decrease methane. However, since the flame speed of hydrogen was sig-
these pollutions, alternative fuels are being considered such as nificantly higher than that of CNG, less spark advance was
methane, hydrogen and mixtures of hydrogen and methane. required to produce maximum brake torque (MBT). Yusuf in
A major difficulty in the operation of engines, whether of his M.Sc. thesis used 99% methane (CH4 ) and 80.08/19.92
the spark ignition or compression ignition types, on lean mix- CH4 /H2 mixture [5]. He used a Nissan 510 type, 1952 cc, max-
tures of methane and air is the associated low flame propaga- imum HP 92 and maximum speed 5200 rpm; bore 85:0 mm,
tion velocity. Some improvement to the burning rate in spark stroke 86:0 mm, compression ratio 8.5:1 and a four-cylinder
engine. He analyzed flame front growth rate (FFGR), and SI
∗ Corresponding author. time for various equivalence ratios. Equivalence ratio of 0.535
E-mail address: akansu@erciyes.edu.tr (S.O. Akansu). was discarded because of lean limits of combustion of methane.

0360-3199/$ - see front matter 䉷 2007 International Association for Hydrogen Energy. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.ijhydene.2007.05.034

BSNOx val. 30◦ ). average indicated output efficiency. average combustion duration (◦ CA). Akansu et al. was decreased. average power certain conditions. and calculated thermal efficiency varying performed the test with a four-stroke cycle single cylinder SI the equivalence ratio. four-stroke cycles.95). The lean operation enables improvement of ther- operation with at least 38% of cycles not completing combus. If a catalytic converter is used. 30/70 and 20/80 CH4 /H2 candidate for NG. haust emissions and efficiency might have been increased under tigated apparent flame initiation speed (m/s).0). gas–hydrogen mixtures and under various equivalence ratios.5:1. conducted an experiment with 100/0.0:1 and a four-cylinder engine. They obtained great effects of combustion and CO. a single-cylinder research engine at compression ratio 8. investigated combustion and of four. bore 89 mm. and efficiency of a turbocharged lean-burn NG and hydrogen age ignition lag. They stated that the addition of some hydrogen to were conducted studying emissions out of an engine fuelled methane in a SI engine enhanced the performance. Larsen and Wallace investigated emissions output difference. 80/20. for the SI engine. shown to lower the partial burn limit from an equivalence ratio the increase of  significantly reduced them. ratio 8. Their experimental (from  = 0. and an increase in peak BSNO at =0. 1588 cc. aver. BSFC of 85/15 CNG/H2 mixture is This paper investigated the performances and emissions ofa less than that of NG.58 to 1. They tions. BSNO in 100/0. BSHC. nonetheless. a decrease in BSHC up to 60% (from =0. [7] and Yusuf [8] exper.O. lean limit combustion of NG was reduced promotion due to the hydrogen premixing. 70/30. knocking regions in different H2 different loads and different equivalence ratios for NOx .54. Akansu et al. particularly with a mixture of NG and approximately 15% hydrogen by when operating on relatively low equivalence ratio mixtures. with results obtained with respect to the matrix and statistical testing . stud. 60/40. water producing a power gain and avoiding knock appears to be about cooled. 60/40. Ilbas et al. engine [16]. different equivalence ratio and different CO/CO2 . to pure methane. Lean limit of combustion was defined as conditions. 3:135 l. emissions lower levels with retarded ignition timing without deteriorating while decreasing best efficiency spark advantage.0) and decrease in BSFC up to 14% and hydrogen–methane–air mixtures [11]. 50/50.58–0. Shrestha and Karim investigated proportions about 15% without increasing combustion duration and igni. crease. BSFC values reduce for both NG and spark-ignited engine fuelled with various fractions of natural 85/15 CNG/H2 mixtures while spark timing(BTDC) values in.. power SI engine numerically [6].61 to 0. stroke 84 mm and compression 20–25% by volume over the range of conditions considered. ITE. bore 85:0 mm. and BSNOx concentra. 20◦ . 30% (for volumetric fraction =40%). 70/30. There was a corresponding increase in brake ied experimentally laminar-burning velocities of hydrogen–air power up to 8% (at  = 1. 40/60. They concluded that when compared () (or the decrease of ). and CH4 percentages. volume [9].e. some amount of hydrogen was added to the methane as a fuel compression ratio 9. stroke 70 mm. Their calculations show that the maximum CH4 /H2 percentage by changing equivalence ratios. The optimum concentration of hydrogen in the fuel mixture for let Lumina. 90/10. The engine was tested at 1000 rpm. When ratio of 13. methane and hydrogen mix. a decrease in BSCO up to 40% tant burning velocity and caused a widening of the flammability (for  > 0. of 0. maximum HP 88 The maximum power output was shown to be at 20◦ BTDC. / International Journal of Hydrogen Energy 32 (2007) 4279 – 4284 Dulger investigated an 80% CNG and 20% H2 mixture burning increasing concentration of hydrogen in the engine. to 26% (from  = 0. in internal combustion Karim et al. numerical study on local entropy generation in a burner fuelled BSCO2 . maximum cylinder pressure. Experiments were performed using a 3. The large positive and negative tem. Yapıcı et al. They used than that of CNG. BSFC. hydrogen ad- study demonstrated that increasing the hydrogen percentage in dition up to 60% by volume resulted in a decrease in BSCO2 up the hydrogen–methane mixture caused an increase in the resul. carried out a They analyzed brake power. emissions with regard to methane and hydrogen use [13].0). They inves.8:1. ues are decreased drastically. For pollutant production. Experiments ratios [14]. with the increasing con- imented the same mixture with a different engine. Yusuf used centration of hydrogen in the engine. best engine with a bore × stroke of 85 × 88 mm and a compression efficiency spark advance and light loading condition. output increased. however the increase could be maintained at ture increased brake thermal energy (BTE) and NOx . performance characteristics of the engine fied the engine and decided to use only a single cylinder instead increased drastically. 20/80 and 10/90 CH4 /H2 per- tion delay. For 10◦ BTDC and 20◦ BTDC. load and reaction rates decreased with the increase of equivalence ratio speed (700 and 900 rpm). They concluded that regarded as the best gaseous 80/20. 80/20. which has six cylinders. Swain et al. mal efficiency and reduction of HC and NOx exhaust emission tion. exhaust temperatures and engine efficiencies. [10]. spark advance. a Toyota 2TC type year 1976 1:6 l.83 of approximately 30% hydrogen + 70% methane) could be a competitive alter.34. BSHC of CNG is higher than that of fuel mixture. unburned HC thermal efficiency. 1. The BTDC (10◦ . on utilization of NG–hydrogen mixtures. By hydrogen addition. Shudo et al.0).58 to limits. spark degree (BTDC). If and maximum speed 6000 rpm. gen premixing. researched native fuel for existing combustion plants. BSCO. but for 30◦ BTDC. But Bauer and Forest studied the effect of hydrogen addition to BSNOx emission values of 85/15 CNG/H2 mixture are higher the performance of methane-fuelled vehicles [15]. BSHC. 40/60 with various fuels. They tested at different speeds.1 Chevro.4280 S. of 100/0. BSCO. He measured BSHC. especially under lean from 0. They suggested that a hydrogen–methane mixture (i. 90/10. average mixture fuelled engine [17]. Moreover. He modi. Thermal efficiency was increased and unburned HC methane–hydrogen mixture is compared to pure methane oper. Wallace and Cattelan experimentally studied NG centages in different compression rates by varying equivalence and hydrogen mixtures in a combustion engine. NG–hydrogen mixtures have decreased ex- proportions by varying equivalence ratios [12]. hydrogen addition up to 60% by volume was perature gradients occurred in the axial direction. In this study.58 to 1. NOx emissions tended to increase with hydro- ation with same equivalence ratios. power output decreased. equivalence ratios could be reduced simultaneously.

5:1) [18]. 1. To reduce HC emis. 5: Air tank. Experimental apparatus and test procedure the test fuels at a variety of conditions that span the practical operating range of normal automotive engines are measured. the discovery that simultaneously lower levels Ignition line 1-3-4-2 of NOx and HC emissions can be achieved with methane and Bore 80. They examined a V 8 Crusader Maximum engine cycle 5950 rpm T7400 spark engine at one particular speed (3800 rpm. Thus. Fuel is supplied to engine tios [19].O. 9: Fuel select key. 8: Regulator. 10 7 5 6 12 8 9 11 4 3 2 1 Fig. / International Journal of Hydrogen Energy 32 (2007) 4279 – 4284 4281 clearly demonstrated the potential of methane and hydrogen Table 1 mixture to reduce the exhaust concentrations of regulated pol. 11: Digital balance. for low HCs and low NOx . CO2 . Results and discussions lean-burn NG–hydrogen combustion was favorable for getting higher thermal efficiency and lower emissions.. The experimental sions could be obtained because of the conflicting requirements set-up is shown schematically in Fig. 80/20 carried out with 100/0. The emissions Emission standard 15. 3: Engine.04 of primary concern in a lean-fuelled engine were HC and NOx . 4: Engine cooling unit. The fuel blends with different fractions of NG–hydrogen while for low NOx . 6: Control unit. The composition of this mixture can be set independently from engine operation. 12: Exhaust gas analyzer. ciyes. sure CO. measurements and the uncertainties in the calculated results are gen fraction was larger than a certain value (20%). 10:1. A Sun MGA 1500 gas analyzer was used to mea- (20%) whereas engine power output and thermal efficiency in. 80/20 and 70/30 CH4 /H2 propor- and 74/26.5. 90/10 and 80/20 Compression ratio 10:1 CNG/H2 percentage mixtures.  must be less than 1. Extremely low emissions were not All work was conducted in the Engine Laboratory in the de- possible without exhaust after treatment. S. They concluded that the engine lean-burn limit was intake port through gas mixer. Power (DIN) 77 kW. The accuracies of the creased with further increasing hydrogen fraction when hydro. NO. Akansu et al. 2: Hydrokinetic dynamometer. They designed a fuel supply system Tork (DIN) 153 N m. The ignition timing of cific excessive air ratio. com. . 1. Engine Definition code RDA Consequently.6 mm Stroke 88 mm hydrogen mixture fuelling had important implications. partment of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Er- sions. were prepared in the CNG tank. of hydrogen into NG decreased the exhaust HC concentrations and increased NOx concentration. Addition shown in Table 2. This All test measurements are analyzed in the constant load and is a four-stroke cycle four-cylinder spark ignition engine with 2000 rpm. 90/10. (4000 rpm) and implemented a device that provides the engine with a hy- drogen/NG mixture in various proportions. Experimental rig: 1: Engine Chassis. CH4 /H2 proportions by varying excessive air ra. HC and  values. the engine has been adjusted as constant for all fuel fractions ficiency decreased with the increase of hydrogen fraction in (as 30◦ BTDC). 105 PS pression ratio 8. and the amount of fuel and air extended by the addition of hydrogen into NG. 90/10.3 ( must be higher than 0. 7: Main fuel tank. studied experimentally with 100/0. The measurements were obtained between 88 NG when the hydrogen fraction was less than a certain value and 92 N m. 10: Fuel tank. They stated that for methane and hydrogen mixture with low a bore × stroke of 80. For a spe. tions by varying equivalence ratios. engine power output and thermal ef. In this study. Engine volume 1796 cc Sierens and Rosseel investigated 100/0. The engine details are given in Table 1. experiments were Huang et al.  must be at least 1. This present work was carried out on a Ford engine. an engine operating on 3.6 × 88 mm and a compression ratio of hydrogen content (up to 20%) a limited improvement in emis. The exhaust emissions from the test engine operating with 2. Engine specifications lutants and increase the efficiency of SI engine.77). ratios are controlled by a manual valve.

5% Fig.0 1.8 0.95 equivalence ratios.9.1.7 0.2 Equivalence ratio Equivalence ratio Fig.9 ratio for percentage of NG and hydrogen.0 1.85 but BSCO values expo.05% HC ∓1 ppm 6 Calculated results Uncertainty 0. BSNO values versus equivalence ratios for the percentage methane– hydrogen mixture.O. equivalence ratios for the various NG and hydrogen percent- age values illustrated in Fig. BSCO values are quite 3.8 0. Therefore. 2.6 and 0. Carbon monoxide (CO) emissions The brake specific carbon monoxide (BSCO) emissions are of H2 percentage with varying of CO2 concentrations have a plotted versus equivalence ratio for different H2 mixtures in strong relationship with equivalence ratio. 3 shows CO2 percentage values versus the equivalence combustion.2. 3. While the crease.3. As the hydrogen percentage 3.9 1.8 0. CO2 percentage values increase and equivalence ratio between 0. Nitrogen oxide (NO) emissions less. Combustion of mixture points of CO2 are in 0.6 0.1 1.1 1.2 0 0. when the H2 percentage values in the CH4 BSCO values are most concentrated with fuel-rich mixtures. Variations of experimental results of BSCO values versus the equiv- alence ratio.6 0. While the equiva- Fig. (fuel–air) in cylinder is to be corrected. 3.2 Torque ∓2% Equivalence ratio Power ∓2% Thermal efficiency ∓2. then after the maximum points. CO2 percentage values de- nentially increase equivalence ratio from 0. BSNO values also increase.0. As seen in this figure. Fig. decrease. BSNO should get its maximum value at . If H2 amount is increased the mixture fuel.7 0. Therefore. BSNO values decrease equivalence ratio from 0.2.6 0.9 for both NG combustion and NG–hydrogen Fig.7 0. BSNO values reach the peak at  = 0. Akansu et al. The 0. BSCO values for all hydrogen–methane mixtures have near values.9 1. CO2 percentage values decrease. BSCO values linearly decrease lence ratio is increased. The maximum there will be incomplete combustion. / International Journal of Hydrogen Energy 32 (2007) 4279 – 4284 Table 2 11 The accuracies of the measurements and the uncertainties in the calculated results 10 Measurements Accuracy Temperatures ∓1 ◦ C 9 CO2 % Speed ∓2 rpm Load ∓2 N Time ∓1% 8 NOx ∓10 ppm 100% CH4 90% CH4 + 10% H2 CO 0. CH4 amount H2 percentage values are increasing. 4.0 1.9 1.4282 S. The maximum points to 1. BSCO values decrease.85 to 1.1 1. Carbon dioxide (CO2 ) emissions increases. as are increased. increasing with equiv- alence ratio (lean mixtures). Variations of CO2 concentrations with equivalence ratio for different H2 percentage.2. Theoretically. 4. 2.05% 80% CH4 + 20% H2 7 70% CH4 + 30% H2 CO2 0.92 value of equivalence ratio is adequate for The brake specific nitrogen oxide (BSNO) values versus low emission of CO. 600 100%CH4 12 90%CH4 + 10%H2 500 80%CH4 + 20%H2 100% CH4 70%CH4 + 30%H2 90% CH4 + 10% H2 10 80% CH4 + 20% H2 70% CH4 + 30% H2 400 BSCO (gr/kwh) 8 BSNO (gr/kwh) 300 6 200 4 100 2 0 0.

so maximum NO emissions occurs below the of rich mixtures. 5. In the case of lean burn ( < 0.9.5. higher than 0. These values are similar in character to [19]. BSNO has little variation from 20% hydrogen fraction of NG–hydrogen The results of this study can be summarized as follows: combustion to 10% hydrogen fraction of NG–hydrogen com- bustion.0. In the tract number 104M413 is gratefully acknowledged. 3. when equivalence ratio is nitrogen increase very strongly with increasing flame temper. Fig. BTE values increase on in- hydrogen percentage is increased. If equivalence ratio is between 0. For a spe. and this is due to the increase of 4. there will be decrease in position to  = 0. Brake thermal efficiency Acknowledgment Fig. i.2 Equivalence ratio 11 0. BSUHC literature data. / International Journal of Hydrogen Energy 32 (2007) 4279 – 4284 4283 2.4. Turkey under Con- more fallen than stoichiometric equivalence ratio value.0 80% CH4 + 20% H2 16 70% CH4 + 30% H2 Brake Thermal Efficiency (%) Unburned HC (gr/kwh) 1. however. 6 shows the BTE versus the equivalence ratios.85 equivalence ra- flame temperature.O. stoichiometric equivalence ratio. When the • In the case of lean mixture.6 0. In future studies. The formation of NO and other oxides of a certain level of thermal efficiency.9 1. cific excessive air ratio.7 0. should be for slightly rich mixtures. In the case mation of NO.e. different ignition timing and rpm. those that have the highest The highest efficiency values are about 0. BSUHC values decrease equivalence ratio from 0. BTE values stoichiometric formation point of 1. BTE values increase (as in [7]). CO and CO2 emissions values decrease with increas- Fig.9 for • The experiment measurements gave results coherent with both NG combustion and NG–hydrogen combustion.0 1.6 to operating internal combustion engines fuelled by natural 0. creasing H2 percentage.8 0. BSNO concentration increases with the increase of hydrogen fraction.2 14 0.6 15 1. The brake thermal efficiency (BTE) versus the equivalence ratios.9 1.4 70% CH4 + 30% H2 12 0. Conclusions peak combustion temperature by hydrogen addition.0 1.8 100% CH4 13 90% CH4 + 10% H2 80% CH4 + 20% H2 0.9. 0.0 (rich mix. Unburned HC emissions low levels. combustion is not complete. decrease. tios. are reduced by excess air (lean mixture) until reduced flamma- bility of the mixtures causes a net increase in HC emissions.8 0.6 0.9 [20]. These values are similar in character to [15]. S.1 1. concentration increases when  is higher than 1. • NO emission values increase with increasing H2 percent- age. HC emissions gas (NG)–hydrogen mixtures. specific heat ratios values are This financial support from TUBITAK. increasing H2 percentage.2 Fig. BSUHC values versus equivalence ratios for different methane– Equivalence ratio hydrogen mixture.9. • HC. 6. This would imply that the highest concentration of NOx on increasing H2 percentage. on increasing equivalence ratio. NG (methane) of cleanest fossil fuels and hy- Following the increase in the fraction of hydrogen in H2 /CH4 drogen of cleanest world fuel mixtures have indicated that at- mixture.9. . • This study would give forth ideas to help in designing and ture). Akansu et al. BSUHC values reach its lowest point value at about  = 0. Consequently. after that. Oxygen fraction is also needed for the for. ature.1. BSUHC values decrease.1 1.2 its values increased.7 0. the combustion chamber temperature is expected to mospheric pollutants decrease and BTE values increased with be increased.  = 0. As mixture in-homogeneity in cylinder shifts the maximum BSNO complete combustion does not occur. the existence of local case of rich mixtures ( > 1). 5 shows the brake specific unburned hydrocarbon ing H2 percentage.6 and 0.0 0.4 17 100% CH4 90% CH4 + 10% H2 2. experiments can be made with different loads.9.75) NO values are of 3. (BSUHC) values versus the equivalence ratios. In the case of lean mixtures ( < 1).

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