A numerical investigation on methane combustion and emissions from a natural gas-diesel dual fuel engine using CFD model

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DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2017.07.071
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TypeArticle
Journal titleApplied Energy
ISSN0306-2619
Volume205
Pages153162
SubjectCFD model; dual fuel engine; methane emissions; post-combustion oxidation
AbstractNatural gas (NG)-diesel dual fuel engines have been criticized for their high emissions of unburned methane. The past research on methane emissions from dual fuel engines has focused on the measurement of methane concentration in exhaust gases. The development of approaches capable of minimizing methane emissions requests the detailed spatial distribution of methane in-cylinder during the combustion and post combustion processes. However, it is difficult to experimentally measure the spatial distribution of methane in-cylinder. This research presents a numerical study on the combustion process of a NG-diesel dual fuel engine using the computational fluids dynamics (CFD) model CONVERGE coupled with a reduced primary reference fuel (PRF) mechanism. The model was validated against the heat release process and the emissions of nitrogen oxide, methane and carbon monoxide measured in a single cylinder dual fuel engine. The validated CFD model was applied to investigate the combustion of methane and n-heptane and the spatial distribution of methane in the dual fuel engine. This is most likely the first attempt to visualize the spatial distribution of methane in dual fuel engines using CFD. The objective of this study is to numerically simulate the methane combustion process, especially the methane present outside the pilot spray, quantify the methane combustion in each combustion stage, and visualize the spatial methane distribution in cylinder. The results showed that the momentum produced by the pilot fuel injection and combustion pushed the combustion products of pilot fuel and methane within the pilot spray plume toward the unburned methane-air mixture. Such a movement enhanced the mixing of the hot combustion products and the relatively cold unburned methane-air mixture during the main combustion process and dominated the combustion of methane presented outside the pilot fuel spray plume. Based on the simulation results at a low load condition (4.05 bar), the main combustion process consumed 43–53% of the methane fumigated into the intake mixture. The post-combustion oxidation process consumed 17–29% of the intake methane, which was 36.2–51.8% methane that survived the main combustion process. In comparison, 27–35% methane emitted the engine without participating the combustion process. The unburned methane at exhaust valve opening was mainly observed at the center of the cylinder. In comparison, the contribution of the crevice and boundary layer around the cylinder liner to methane emissions was relatively small. The slip of methane through the dual fuel engines was due to the fact that the premixed mixture was too lean to support the propagation of the turbulent flame initiated by the pilot fuel and the lack of pilot fuel vapor reaching the center of the combustion chamber because of the geometric limitations of the fuel injection system and the reduced mass of pilot fuel injected into the cylinder. The approaches aiming to enhance the combustion of methane and minimize methane emissions from dual fuel engines should focus on those capable of increasing the volume of pilot fuel vapor formed after injected into the cylinder.
Publication date
PublisherElsevier
LanguageEnglish
AffiliationEnergy, Mining and Environment; National Research Council Canada
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number23002435
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Record identifier50429b40-a39a-4d54-9dfd-ecb371e3e6e7
Record created2017-11-10
Record modified2017-11-10
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