Fuel 337 (2023) 127178              

Gaseous fueling of an adapted commercial automotive spark-ignition engine: simplified thermodynamic modeling and experimental study running on hydrogen, methane, carbon monoxide and their mixtures


In the present work, methane, carbon monoxide, hydrogen and the binary mixtures 20% CH4–80% H2, 80% CH4–20% H2, 25% CO–75% H2 (by volume) were considered as fuels of a naturally aspirated port-fuel injection four-cylinder Volkswagen 1.4 L spark-ignition (SI) engine. The interest in these fuels lies in the fact that they can be obtained from renewable resources such as the fermentation or gasification of residual biomasses as well as the electrolysis of water with electricity of renewable origin in the case of hydrogen. In addition, they can be used upon relatively easy modifications of the engines, including the retrofitting of existing internal combustion engines. It has been found that the engine gives similar performance regardless the gaseous fuel nature if the air-fuel equivalence ratio (λ) is the same. Maximum brake torque and mean effective pressure values within 45-89 N·m and 4.0-8.0 bar, respectively, have been obtained at values of λ between 1 and 2 at full load, engine speed of 2000 rpm and optimum spark-advance. In contrast, the nature of the gaseous fuel had great influence upon the range of λ values at which a fuel (either pure or blend) could be used. Methane and methane-rich mixtures with hydrogen or carbon monoxide allowed operating the engine at close to stoichiometric conditions (i.e. 1 < λ < 1.5) yielding the highest brake torque and mean effective pressure values. On the contrary, hydrogen and hydrogen-rich mixtures with methane or carbon monoxide could be employed only in the very fuel-lean region (i.e. 1.5 < λ <2). The behavior of carbon monoxide was intermediate between that of methane and hydrogen.

The present study extends and complements previous works in which the aforementioned fuels were compared only under stoichiometric conditions in air (λ = 1). In addition, a simple zero-dimensional thermodynamic combustion model has been developed that allows describing qualitatively the trends set by the several fuels. Although the model is useful to understand the influence of the fuels properties on the engine performance, its predictive capability is limited by the simplifications made.