A study was carried out to evaluate the potential of hydrogen enrichment to increase the tolerance of a stoichiometrically fuelled natural gas (NG) engine to high levels of dilution by exhaust gas recirculation (EGR). This provides significant gains in terms of exhaust emissions without the rapid reduction in combustion stability typically seen when applying EGR to a methane-fuelled engine.
This paper gives the envelope of benefits from hydrogen enrichment. In parallel the performance of a catalytic exhaust-gas reforming reactor was studied in order that it could be used as an onboard source of hydrogen-rich EGR. It was shown that sufficient hydrogen was generated with currently available prototype catalysts to allow the engine, at the operating points considered, to tolerate up to 25% EGR, while maintaining a coefficient of variability of indicated mean effective pressure (IMEP) below 5%. This level of EGR gives a reduction in NO emissions greater than 80% .