Experimental investigation of prechamber autoignition in a natural gas engine for cogeneration
A novel ignition concept based on autoignition in an unscavanged prechamber is currently being developed at the Laboratory for Industrial Energy Systems (LENI). On a single cylinder test engine a series of experimental runs (CR=8.5-14, =1-1.6, RPM=1150/1500 min−1) have been realized with natural gas as fuel, comparing the new ignition concept to standard spark ignition. The comparison is based on fuel efficiency and exhaust emissions (CO, THC, NOx). The feasibility of operating the engine in auto-ignition mode has been demonstrated, and the potential of prechamber autoignition, in particular in the lean combustion regime, is indicated by the trends in fuel efficiency and emission concentration. The resistive heating of the prechamber walls has been shown to be an effective mean to trigger ignition. The prechamber could clearly be identified as primary ignition location. A reduction of the cycle-by-cycle variations - due to mixture fluctuations - is necessary to exploit the full potential of this engine concept.