This report documents the first year's effort towards a 3-year program to develop micropilot ignition systems for existing pipeline compressor engines. In essence, all Phase I goals and objectives were met. We intend to proceed with the Phase II research plan, as set forth by the applicable Research Management Plan. The objective for Phase I was to demonstrate the feasibility of micropilot ignition for large bore, slow speed engines operating at low compression ratios. The primary elements of Micropilot Phase I were to develop a single-cylinder test chamber to study the injection of pilot fuel into a combustion cylinder and to develop, install and test a multi-cylinder micropilot ignition system for a 4-cylinder, natural gas test engine. In all, there were twelve (12) tasks defined and executed to support these two (2) primarily elements in a stepwise fashion. Task-specific approaches and results are documented in this report. Research activities for Micropilot Phase I were conducted with the understanding that the efforts are expected to result in a commercial product to capture and disseminate the efficiency and environmental benefits of this new technology. An extensive state-of-art review was conducted to leverage the existing body of knowledge of micropilot ignition with respect to retrofit applications. Additionally, commercially-available fuel injection products were identified and applied to the program where appropriate. This approach will minimize the overall time-to-market requirements, while meeting performance and cost criteria. The four-cylinder prototype data was encouraging for the micro-pilot ignition technology when compared to spark ignition. Initial testing results showed: (1) Brake specific fuel consumption of natural gas was improved from standard spark ignition across the map, 1% at full load and 5% at 70% load. (2) 0% misfires for all points on micropilot ignition. Fuel savings were most likely due to this percent misfire improvement. (3) THC (Total Hydrocarbon) emissions were improved significantly at light load, 38% at 70% load. (4) VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) emissions were improved above 80% load. (5) Coefficient of Variance for the IMEP (Indicated Mean Effective Pressure) was significantly less at lower loads, 76% less at 70%. These preliminary results will be substantiated and enhanced during Phase II of the Micropilot Ignition program.
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