Special Section on 2018 Clean Energy

NH3 as a Transport Fuel in Internal Combustion Engines: A Technical Review

[+] Author and Article Information
Herry Lesmana

Centre for Energy (M473),
The University of Western Australia,
35 Stirling Highway,
Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
e-mail: herry.lesmana@research.uwa.edu.au

Zhezi Zhang

Centre for Energy (M473),
The University of Western Australia,
35 Stirling Highway,
Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
e-mail: zhezi.zhang@uwa.edu.au

Xianming Li

National Institute of Clean and
Low-Carbon Energy,
Xiaotangshan Future Science & Technology City,
Changping District,
P.O. Box 001,
Beijing 102211, China
e-mail: lixianming@nicenergy.com

Mingming Zhu

Centre for Energy (M473),
The University of Western Australia,
35 Stirling Highway,
Crawley 6009, WA, Australia
e-mail: mingming.zhu@uwa.edu.au

Wenqiang Xu

National Institute of Clean and
Low-Carbon Energy,
Xiaotangshan Future Science & Technology City,
Changping District,
P.O. Box 001,
Beijing 102211, China
e-mail: xuwenqiang@nicenergy.com

Dongke Zhang

Centre for Energy (M473),
The University of Western Australia,
35 Stirling Highway,
Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
e-mail: dongke.zhang@uwa.edu.au

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENERGY RESOURCES TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received July 31, 2018; final manuscript received February 8, 2019; published online March 11, 2019. Assoc. Editor: Ashwani K. Gupta.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 141(7), 070703 (Mar 11, 2019) (12 pages) Paper No: JERT-18-1595; doi: 10.1115/1.4042915 History: Received July 31, 2018; Revised February 08, 2019

Ammonia (NH3) is an excellent hydrogen (H2) carrier that is easy to bulk manufacture, handle, transport, and use. NH3 is itself combustible and could potentially become a clean transport fuel for direct use in internal combustion engines (ICEs). This technical review examines the current state of knowledge of NH3 as a fuel in ICEs on its own or in mixtures with other fuels. A particular case of interest is to partially dissociate NH3 in situ to produce an NH3/H2 mixture before injection into the engine cylinders. A key element of the present innovation, the presence of H2 is expected to allow easy control and enhanced performance of NH3 combustion. The key thermochemical properties of NH3 are collected and compared to those of conventional and alternative fuels. The basic combustion characteristics and properties of NH3 and its mixtures with H2 are summarized, providing a theoretical basis for evaluating NH3 combustion in ICEs. The combustion chemistry and kinetics of NH3 combustion and mechanisms of NOx formation and destruction are also discussed. The potential applications of NH3 in conventional ICEs and advanced homogenous charge compression ignition (HCCI) engines are analyzed.

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

NH3 flame speed in air at ambient temperature and elevated pressures [52]

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Proposed reaction paths from NH3 to NO and N2 in NH3/O2 flames [79]

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Fig. 3

A comparison of NH3, H2, CH4, and NH3/H2 flame speeds in air at atmospheric pressure and ambient temperature [52,53,68,69]

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Minimum ignition energy of NH3, H2, and partially dissociated NH3 mixtures in air at ambient temperature and atmospheric pressure over a wide range of ER [18,67]. ◻: H2; ○: NH3; •: NH3/H2/N2 (8 vol% H2, 2.8 vol% N2); △: NH3/H2/N2 (18.5 vol% H2, 6.1 vol% N2); ♦: NH3/H2/N2 (32.8 vol% H2, 11 vol% N2).

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Flammability limits of NH3/H2/N2 in air at 400 °C and 1 atm [65]

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

A comparison of simulation (lines) and experimental (symbols) results of ignition delay time [73] of NH3/air combustion at a pressure of 1.4-30 atm, and ER of 1.0. Symbols: Experiments [81]; Dash lines: Song et al. mechanism [72]; Dotted line: Mathieu and Petersen mechanism [81]; Solid line: Otomo et al. mechanism [73].

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

A comparison of simulation (lines) and experimental (symbols) results of NH3/air laminar flame speeds [73] as a function of ER at different temperature and pressure

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

A comparison of predicted and measured results of the laminar flame speed of NH3/H2/Air mixtures at ambient temperature, ER of 1, and pressure of (a) 1 atm, (b) 3 atm, (c) 5 atm. Symbols: Experiments (Ichikawa et al. [85], Lee et al. [53], Li et al. [68], Kumar et al. [87]); Lines: Simulated data (Song et al. [72], Otomo et al. [73]).

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 9

Schematic of the NH3 fuel system with an on-board dissociation unit in an SI engine using direct fuel injection and turbocharger

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 10

NH3 storage and handling system [76]

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Fig. 16

Effect of CR on the indicated thermal efficiency of NH3/H2 fueled SI engine in comparison to gasoline fueled engine at an engine speed of 1200 rpm [23]

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Fig. 11

Effect of H2 on the power output of NH3 fueled SI engine in comparison to gasoline fueled engine at CR 9.4:1 [10]

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Fig. 12

Effect of CR on the indicated mean effective pressure of an SI engine fueled with different fuels at various ER and engine speed of 1200 rpm [23]

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 13

Comparison of brake-specific fuel consumption versus brake mean effective pressure of NH3/H2 and gasoline fueled SI engine performance with a CR of 11:1 and engine speed of 2500-3500 rpm [31]

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 14

Comparison of brake-specific energy consumption versus brake mean effective pressure of NH3/H2 (17 vol% H2) and gasoline fueled SI engine with a CR of 11:1 and engine speed of 2500–3500 rpm [35]

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 15

Comparison of brake thermal efficiency versus brake mean effective pressure of NH3/H2 and gasoline fueled SI engine performance with a CR of 11:1 and engine speed of 2500-3500 rpm [31]

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 17

Effect of ER on NO emission of NH3 and gasoline fueled SI engines with CR of 10:1 and engine speed of 1800 rpm [12]

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Fig. 18

NOx emissions of a SI engine fueled with NH3/H2 (20 vol% H2) and gasoline at various ER with CR of 7:1 and engine speed of 1000 rpm [27]

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 19

NOx emission of NH3/H2 fueled engine with a CR of 9:1 and engine speed of 1200 rpm [23]



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