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Applied Energy 88 (2011) 39693977

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Applied Energy
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/apenergy

Performance evaluation of a constant speed IC engine on CNG, methane enriched


biogas and biogas
R. Chandra a,, V.K. Vijay b, P.M.V. Subbarao c, T.K. Khura a
a
Department of Farm Power and Machinery, College of Agricultural Engineering and Post Harvest Technology, Central Agricultural University, Ranipool, Gangtok,
Sikkim 737 135, India
b
Centre for Rural Development and Technology, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, Hauz Khas, New Delhi 110 016, India
c
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, Hauz Khas, New Delhi 110 016, India

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:
Received 18 November 2010
Received in revised form 11 April 2011
Accepted 12 April 2011
Available online 4 May 2011
Keywords:
CNG
Methane enriched biogas
Biogas
CI engine
SI engine

a b s t r a c t
This paper presents the performance results of a 5.9 kW stationary diesel engine which was converted
into spark ignition mode and run on compressed natural gas (CNG), methane enriched biogas (BioCNG) and biogas produced from biomethanation of jatropha and pongamia oil seed cakes. The performance of the engine with 12.65 compression ratio was evaluated at 30, 35 and 40 ignition advance
of TDC. The maximum brake power produced by the engine was found at ignition advance of 35 TDC
for all the tested fuels. In comparison to diesel as original fuel, the power deteriorations of the engine
was observed to be 31.8%, 35.6% and 46.3% on compressed natural gas, methane enriched biogas and
raw biogas, respectively, due to its conversion from CI to SI mode. The methane enriched biogas showed
almost similar engine performance as compared to compressed natural gas in terms of brake power output, specic gas consumption and thermal efciency.
2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction
Gaseous fuels like natural gas, biogas and producer gas have
been explored as alternative to petrol and diesel to reduce the
petroleum import burden. Natural gas is a fossil fuel that has been
used and investigated extensively for use in spark ignition (SI) and
compression ignition (CI) engines [1]. Natural gas in compressed
form is already being used successfully as vehicle fuel in many
European countries, Argentina, Pakistan, India, etc. The natural
gas gaining popularity of as vehicle fuel due to following important
factors (i) CNG has higher octane number and lower cetane number which makes it superior fuel than gasoline, (ii) it is more economical as compared to petrol or diesel due to its low production
cost, (iii) operating and maintenance costs of natural gas based
vehicle are much lower than the diesel/gasoline fuelled vehicles,
(iv) natural gas vehicles reduces air pollution signicantly lower
than conventional fuel running vehicle, (v) CNG does not contain
lead or benzene, thus eliminates lead fouling of spark plugs and
lead or benzene pollution, and (vi) greenhouse gases emission from
combustion of CNG is about 25% lower than that of gasoline.
Natural gas contains 7598% methane with small percentages
of ethane, propane, butane. However, biogas primarily consists of
methane and carbon dioxide (about 60% methane and 40% carbon

Corresponding author. Tel./fax: +91 3592 251390.


E-mail address: ram.chandra6dec@gmail.com (R. Chandra).
0306-2619/$ - see front matter 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.apenergy.2011.04.032

dioxide) and has lower caloric value than natural gas. Methane in
biogas mixes readily with air and has high octane rating, making it
a suitable fuel for spark ignition engines. The energy utilization of
biogas is maximized when it is converted into electricity, which is
easy to use and transfer via a biogas generator and a small gas engine at a farm, which makes the process eco-friendly and energy
efcient [2]. The experimental results of operating a diesel engine
on dual fuel CNGdiesel revealed better engine performance in
terms of brake thermal efciency and lower emissions [3].
Methane and biogas are very stable against knocking and can
therefore be used in engines of higher compression ratios than petrol engines and thus, gains higher brake thermal efciency and
power [4]. Spark ignition engines using natural gas instead of gasoline can run at higher compression ratios and thus produces higher thermal efciencies. However, it increases nitrogen oxide
emissions, lowers emissions of carbon dioxide, unburned hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide [1]. The exhaust emissions from various kinds of operating fuels in internal combustion engines can be
controlled and the engine performance parameters can be signicantly improved by proper control of injection/ignition advance
timings and compression ratios [5]. It has also been reported that
the addition of up to 5% syngas to the landll gas reduces pollutant
emissions and improves engine efciency due to the presence of H2
and CO in syngas that allow complete combustion in the engine
cylinder [6].
Numerous research result data suggest that it is possible to increase the compression ratio as an effective means of improving

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R. Chandra et al. / Applied Energy 88 (2011) 39693977

Nomenclature
C
A/F
BSGC
C2H6
C3H8
CH4
CI
cm
CNG
CO
CO2
CR
g
h
HC
I
IA

degree Celsius
airfuel ratio
brake specic gas consumption
ethane
propane
methane
compression ignition
centimeter
compressed natural gas
carbon monoxide
carbon dioxide
compression ratio
gram
hour
hydrocarbon
current
ignition advance

performance of biogas fuelled engine when CO2 is present in


biogas. Moreover, the brake mean effective pressure and brake
thermal efciency values increases steadily with compression ratio
up to a critical value of 13:1. However, the higher the compression
ratio causes greater NOx emission. This results from the higher
maximum combustion temperature with the higher compression
ratio. The effects of compression ratio on total hydrocarbon emissions is almost same as that of NOx with the higher compression
ratio producing more unburnt hydrocarbon. Experimental results
indicate that the presence of carbon dioxide (as in case of biogas)
lowers the NOx emission, but since lower cylinder pressure result,
engine power and thermal efciency are reduced and the level of
unburnt HC is increased [710].
Biogas is becoming an attractive source of energy in many nations across the globe because it can be used to fuel a car or to
power city buses. It has been variously used for heating purposes
and/or electricity generation [11,12]. Furthermore, the upgradation
of biogas to bio-methane and feeding into the natural gas grid is an
effective way of integrating the biogas into the energy sector. It can
be successfully used as substitute for natural gas and as transportation fuel [13]. In view of above context, the objective of the present work was to determine the suitability of utilization of biogas
and methane enriched biogas in stationary diesel engine converted
into spark ignition engine with reference to the compressed natural gas fuel.

2. Experimental details and methodology


2.1. Selected fuels and their properties
The fuels selected for evaluation of engine performance were
compressed natural gas, methane enriched biogas and biogas produced from biomethanation of jatropha and pongamia oil seed
cakes. Some important fuel properties of these selected gaseous
fuels are given in Table 1. The compositional analyses of used fuels
(except C3H8 in case of CNG) were analyzed using PPQ column on a
Nucon make Gas Chromatograph. A substantial change in methane
and carbon dioxide contents in the produced biogas does not take
place unless there is drastic change in environmental operating
parameters and/or change in quality of input feed material. However, there is always a little variation in composition of produced
biogas with time according to the activities of anaerobic bacteria.
Regular measurement on gas composition was taken into care for

kg
kJ
kW
kWh
LHV
m3
MJ
MPa
N2
NOx
rpm
s
SI
SOx
TDC
V
k

kilo gram
kilo joule
kilo watt
kilo watt hour
lower heating value
cubic meter
mega joule
mega pascal
nitrogen
nitrogen oxides
revolution per minute
second
spark ignition
sulphur oxides
top dead centre
volt
relative air/fuel ratio

its variation during engine testing on the biogas produced from


jatropha and pongamia oil cakes.
Methane enrichment of biogas originally containing 65% methane and 32% carbon dioxide with 3% other gases was carried out
using a water scrubbing system. 95% purity methane was obtained
at the outlet when the system was operating at 1.0 MPa operating
column pressure and 2.5 m3/h biogas ow rate. Methane enriched
biogas was stored in 500 l mild steel tank at pressures lower than
1.0 MPa. Further, it was supplied to the engine by using a pressure
reducing valve.
2.2. Experimental engine test rig
5.9 kW single cylinder, air-cooled diesel engine having 1500
rated rpm was converted into spark ignition mode for utilization
to gaseous fuels. A magneto ignition system was mounted on the
crank shaft of the engine for supply of spark current to the spark
plug installed at the place of diesel fuel injector. Figs. 1 and 2
shows the schematic diagram of engine test rig and a view of installed setup in the Internal Combustion Engine Laboratory of the
Mechanical Engineering Department of the Indian Institute of
Technology Delhi.
The main components of the engine test rig were: (i) SI engine,
(ii) air intake and fuel mixing system, (iii) dynamometer, (iv) air
consumption measurement system, (v) engine speed measurement, (vi) load board, (vii) voltmeter, (viii) ammeter, and (ix) gas
ow meter.
Table 1
Some fuel properties of used fuels.
Property

Compressed
natural gas

Methane
enriched
biogas

Biogas

Composition (% v/v)

CH4 85%
C2H6 7%
C3H8 2%
N2 1%
CO2 5%
48 MJ/kg
0.78
34
14.5

CH4 95%
CO2 3%
Other gases 2%

CH4 65%
CO2 32%
Other gases 3%

40 MJ/kg
0.75

25 MJ/kg
1.11

540

650

Lower heating value


Relative density
Flame speed (cm/s)
Stoichiometric A/F
(kg of air/kg of fuel)
Auto ignition
temperature (C)

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R. Chandra et al. / Applied Energy 88 (2011) 39693977

Air Inflow

Biogas from biogas plant


Methane enriched biogas from
water scrubbing system

Orifice
OrificeMeter
Meter
Air Flow Measurement
Air Flow Measurement
Air Control Valve

Gas Control Valve

DC Resistive Loading
(Measurement of V & I) Venturi Mixer

DC Dynamometer

Flow control valves

Gas Flow Meter

Test Engine

Fig. 1. Schematic layout of experimental engine test setup.

Fig. 3. Air intake and fuel mixing system.

Fig. 2. A view of experimental test rig setup of 5.9 kW diesel engine converted to SI
mode.

2.2.1. Spark ignition engine


A single cylinder diesel engine of USHA International Limited
make (Model USHA-800) with original fuel injection timing set at
27 before TDC was used for the study. The diesel engine was converted into a gas engine with extensive changes in the basic engine
design such as removal of fuel injection pump and injector nozzle,
reduction in compression ratio to 12.65, mounting of the ignition
system with distributor, ignition coils, spark plug and electric plug,
a mixing device to maintain a constant airfuel mixture, a governing mechanism and a starting motor.
The compression ratio of the diesel engine was reduced by
inserting shims of proper thickness between the engine body and
cylinder block. Furthermore, the selected spark ignition advances
of the engine were obtained by changing the angle between the
TDC during compression stroke and spark delivery of the tted
ignition system on the crank shaft of the engine.
2.2.2. Air intake and fuel mixing system
A venturi type air intake and fuel gas supply system as shown in
Fig. 3 was used in the study. A ball type valve of 22.5 mm size was
installed for manually controlling the air supply and to maintain
the appropriate airfuel ratio at a particular engine load. In between the airfuel mixing system and intake to engine cylinder a
butter y valve of 22 mm size was installed. The butter y valve
was actuated by fuel pump governing mechanism to control the
engine speed at any particular load (after removing the fuel injection pump, the centrifugal governing mechanism was directly connected to the installed buttery valve).

2.2.3. Braking system


A 220 volts swinging eld type direct current dynamometer
was coupled with the engine on the ywheel side to apply the engine load. The dynamometer was also used as motor for auto starting of the engine. Further, the dynamometer was connected to an
incremental direct current resistive loading panel which applied
a braking load depending upon on/off of the particular amount of
volts and current resistive load selection. The engine speed at a
particular applied load was controlled by manually controlling
the proper airfuel mixture entering into engine cylinder. This
was ascertained by visual observation that the engine should run
without any misring/detonation and should not stop functioning.
2.2.4. Air consumption measurement
An air box of suitable volume (500600 times swept volume of
the engine cylinder) with a sharp edged orice on its one side was
connected before the air intake and fuel mixing system remotely
from the engine. The diameter of sharp edge orice was 25 mm.
An inclined water manometer was connected to the air box in
order to nd out the pressure difference. The position of intake
of the inclined manometer was just behind (25 mm) the centreline
of the sharp edge orice installed in air box. The mass ow rate of
air was estimated by using;

Air flow rate; kg=h C d  A 

q
2gqw =qa  sin hH  Ho

 qa  3600

where Cd is the coefcient of discharge of the orice, 0.62; A is the


cross sectional area of the orice, 0.0001961 m2; g is the acceleration due to gravity, 9.81 m/s2; H is the air ow head in manometer
when engine is ON, m; Ho is the air ow head in manometer when
engine is OFF, m; h is the inclination angle of water manometer, 15;
qw is the density of water, 1000 kg/m3; and qa is the density of air,
1.21 kg/m3.

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R. Chandra et al. / Applied Energy 88 (2011) 39693977

The air consumption rate was measured to calculate the relative


air/fuel ratio of the combustion taking place inside the combustion
chamber for different selected fuels and developed engine loads.

count of 10 g. The brake specic gas consumption was calculated


by using:

BSGC
2.2.5. Engine speed measurement
An Enercon make digital panel tachometer with proxy-methyl
photo reective sensor, model No. DT2006 was used to measure
the engine speed in rpm. The instrument has measurement range
of 19999 rpm with a sampling time of one second. For measurements, a photo-reective tape was mounted on the ywheel face
and the photo-reective sensor was mounted on a bracket near
the ywheel in such a way that the detecting distance was less
than 5 mm.

M
P

where BSGC is the brake specic gas consumption, g/kWh; M is the


mass of fuel consumed, g/h; and P is the brake power developed by
the engine, kW.
2.3.3. Brake thermal efciency
The brake thermal efciency of the engine on CNG, methane enriched biogas and raw biogas at different operating loads was
determined by using:

gth

P  3600
 100
M  LHV

2.2.6. Load board


It was an electrical resistance load board which consists of
incremental resistive loads and a rheostat for ne load adjustment
placed in series. The loading capacity of load board was 05.0 kW.

where gth is the brake thermal efciency, %; M is the mass of fuel


consumed, g/h; and LHV is the lower heating value of fuel, MJ/kg.

2.2.7. Voltmeter and ammeter


Voltmeter with 1 V least count and a range of 0250 V was used
for measurement of voltage. Ammeter with 1 A least count and a
range of 020 A was used to measure the current.

2.3.4. Relative air/fuel ratio


The estimation of the relative air/fuel ratio was calculated using
data of actual air and fuel consumption rates of the engine at any
engine load and is determined by using:

2.2.8. Gas ow meter


The rate of gas supplied to the engine was measured with a wet
type gas ow meter having an accuracy of 0.5%. The gas ow meter consists of a measuring drum made of stainless steel tted with
a spindle enclosed in a cylindrical, gas tight casing of stainless
steel. The measuring drum rotates on a horizontal axis. The instrument was lled with a sealing liquid (water) up to the marked level. The measuring drum is divided into four compartments and
the gas gets lled and discharged as the drum rotates.

Relative air=fuel ratio; k

2.3. Engine test parameters


The performance of the engine was evaluated on CNG, methane
enriched biogas and raw biogas as per the guidelines of the Bureau
of Indian Standard of IS:10000 [P5] [14]. The evaluated parameters
were as: (i) power developed by the engine (kW), (ii) engine speed
(rev/min), (iii) brake specic gas consumption (g/kWh), (iv) brake
thermal efciency (%), and (v) relative air/fuel ratio.
2.3.1. Brake power
The engine brake power output (kW) was measured by using:

V I
1000

Actual air=Fuel ratio


Stoichiometric air=Fuel ratio

A relative air/fuel ratio less than 1.0 is called rich mixture and
more than 1.0 is called lean mixture.
2.3.5. Errors in measurements
Three (four if variation among three was found more than 5%)
basic observational data were recorded for each selected parameter of engine testing. Statistical analysis using one way analysis
of variance (ANOVA) of the observed data has showed that, there
is no signicant variation in the recorded data at 95% condence
level (a = 5%).
3. Results and discussion
The parameters of engine performance on CNG, methane enriched biogas as well as raw biogas were determined for no load
and varying load conditions at three selected ignition advance
(IA) of 30, 35 and 40 from TDC. The average values of each engine performance parameters results are presented below in detail.
3.1. Brake power

where P is the brake power is developed by the engine, kW; V is the


voltage produced, V; and I is the current produced, A.
The power loss due to engine conversion from CI to SI mode was
calculated in respect to the original engine output power as given
by the engine manufacturer on diesel fuel.
2.3.2. Brake specic gas consumption
The mass of gas consumed was determined by multiplication of
the volumetric gas consumption to its density. In the present set up
volumetric gas consumption for biogas and methane enriched biogas was measured by using a gas ow meter and then calculated
for mass of gas consumption using density of biogas (1.11 kg/m3
for biogas containing 65% methane and rest 32% as carbon dioxide).
The time taken by the engine to consume a xed volume was measured using a stopwatch. However, for CNG the mass of gas consumption was measured using a weighing balance. CNG cylinder
was kept over a digital balance of 150 kg capacity having least

Fig. 4 shows the correlation between the brake load (%) and
brake power (kW) developed by the engine while operating on
compressed natural gas, methane enriched biogas and raw biogas.
The brake power developed by the engine was found increasing
with increase in brake load for the selected fuels at all three
selected ignition advances.
The maximum brake power output of the engine operated on
compressed natural gas at ignition advance of 30, 35 and 40
TDC were observed as 3.548, 3.914 and 3.763 kW and with maximum brake load development of 59.7%, 68.2% and 67.9% , respectively. Similarly, the engine operated on methane enriched biogas
at ignition advance of 30, 35 and 40 TDC were observed maximum brake power of 3.500, 3.800 and 3.650 kW, with maximum
brake load development of 59.2%, 66.6% and 66.2%, respectively.
However, the combustion of raw biogas produced from anaerobic
digestion of jatropha and pongamia oil seed cakes containing 65%
methane (v/v) used as fuel in the engine at ignition advance of
30, 35 and 40 TDC had resulted into maximum brake power

R. Chandra et al. / Applied Energy 88 (2011) 39693977

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Fig. 4. Brake power developed by the engine on selected fuels.

production of 2.581, 2.661 and 2.661 kW with maximum brake


load development of 53.4%, 53.5% and 51.9%, respectively.
It had been observed that in case of raw biogas, the power produced by the engine was almost similar at ignition advance of 35
and 40 TDC. However, the best performance was observed at an
ignition advance of 35 TDC. It is clear from the gure that above
30% brake load, the power development rate on raw biogas is signicantly decreased in comparison to CNG and methane enriched
biogas. The comparison of brake power output at ignition advance
of 30, 35 and 40 TDC had showed that the maximum power producing capability of the engine corresponds at 35 TDC ignition
advance.
The observed power reduction of CI engine when converted into
SI engine were 31.8%, 35.6% and 46.3% on CNG, methane enriched
biogas and raw biogas, respectively. Similar result has been
reported that due to conversion of engine from compression ignition to spark ignition there is 13% to 30% drops on power when
using natural gas without control of the stoichiometric relation
[15]. Furthermore, the engine running on biogas containing carbon
dioxide, the brake power development is reduces and specic fuel
consumption increases depending upon caloric value [16].
It is further, clear from the gure that maximum brake power
developed by the engine was 3.914 kW, 3.800 kW and 2.661 kW
on CNG, methane enriched biogas and raw biogas, respectively.
The methane enriched biogas has showed a 1.43 times more power
output over the raw biogas. An increase in 1.6 times of power output has been reported on methane enriched biogas over raw biogas
(cattle dung generated) when used in SI engine [16]. The trend of
the curve gave a clear cut advantage of use of methane enriched
biogas in engine operation for better power output over raw biogas.
Furthermore, an optimal ignition advance is necessary for proper
combustion of gaseous fuel in converted SI engine from CI engine.
In order to fully utilize the fuel energy during the combustion
stroke and to achieve a good combustion process with the pressure
peak optimally after TDC, it is necessary to advance the ignition
timing in spark ignition engines when biogas is used as sole fuel [4].
3.2. Engine speed
The observed variations in engine speed with respect to % brake
load, when the engine was operated on CNG, enriched biogas and

raw biogas is shown in Fig. 5. The engine speeds at 30 of ignition


advance at no load condition on CNG, methane enriched biogas and
raw biogas were observed as 1521, 1515 and 1402 rpm, respectively. Similarly, at 35 and 40 of ignition advance the engine
speeds were observed as 1507 and 1532 rpm, 1503 and
1523 rpm, 1407 and 1412 rpm for respective fuels.
The range of engine speeds operating on CNG between no load
to 68.2 % of brake load was recorded as 14091544 rpm. Similarly,
the range of engine speeds operating on methane enriched biogas
between no load to 66.6% load of brake load was recorded as 1402
1537 rpm. However, the engine speeds on raw biogas was found in
the range of 12281437 rpm when brake load vary from no load to
53.5% load.
It is clear from the gure that, in all the cases engine speed
decreased with increase in the brake load. However, the decrease
in engine speed with increase in brake load was more pronounced
while engine was running on raw biogas. Furthermore, through out
the experiment the engine speed was always greater on methane
enriched biogas due to more power developed by the engine attributed with the higher caloric value per unit volume of the gas. The
engine speed data on methane enriched biogas was found comparable with that on compressed natural gas.
The observed engine speed was found lowest on raw biogas.
However, this observed engine speed was more than 1200 rpm.
Actually, this fact is due to that the spectral power of cycle-to-cycle
variation at low engine speed i.e. 1200 rpm is signicantly reduced
at compression ratio of 12.0. However, at more than 1200 rpm engine speed or higher compression ratio the cycle-to-cycle variation
is of less pronounced, as there is strong interdependence between
indicated mean effective pressure and main combustion duration
as well as total combustion duration, over a wide range of frequencies and engine cycles [17].
3.3. Brake specic gas consumption
Fig. 6 depicts the correlation between the % brake load and specic gas consumption (g/kWh) for operation of the engine on CNG,
methane enriched biogas and raw biogas. It is evident from gure
that the specic gas consumption on raw biogas is comparatively
very high at all working brake loads of the engine in comparison
to that of CNG and enriched biogas.

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R. Chandra et al. / Applied Energy 88 (2011) 39693977

Fig. 5. Speed developed by the engine on selected fuels.

Fig. 6. Variation of specic gas consumption rate of the engine on selected fuels.

The engine operated on compressed natural gas at 30 ignition


advance showed maximum brake specic gas consumption rate of
1550 g/kWh at brake load of 8.1% and a minimum brake specic
gas consumption rate of 465 g/kWh at brake load of 59.7%. Similarly, at 35 ignition advance maximum brake specic gas consumption rate of 1240 g/kWh at brake load of 8.2% and a
minimum brake specic gas consumption rate of 409 g/kWh at
brake load of 68.2% were recorded. The range of brake specic
gas consumption rates at 40 ignition advance were found as
1240531 g/kWh at brake loads of 8.1% and 67.9%, respectively.
The observed brake specic gas consumption rates of the engine
run with methane enriched biogas at an ignition advance of
30 were 1667 g/kWh as maximum at 7.6% brake load and 471 g/
kWh as minimum at 59.2% brake load. Similarly, the observed
brake specic gas consumption rates at an ignition advance of
35 were 1304 g/kWh as maximum at 7.8% brake load and

421 g/kWh as minimum at 66.6% brake load. Whereas, the brake


specic gas consumption rates at an ignition advance of 40 were
observed 1391 g/kWh as maximum at 7.7% brake load and 548 g/
kWh as minimum at 66.2% brake load.
The brake specic gas consumption rates of the engine run with
raw biogas at an ignition advance of 30 was found 3524 g/kWh as
maximum at 8.6% brake load and 651 g/kWh as minimum at 53.4%
brake load. Similarly, the brake specic gas consumption rates observed at an ignition advance of 35 were 3550 g/kWh as maximum at 8.6% brake load and 625 g/kWh as minimum at 53.5%
brake load. However, the brake specic gas consumption rates at
an ignition advance of 40 was observed 3674 g/kWh as maximum
at 8.6% brake load and 626 g/kWh as minimum at 51.9% brake load.
It is evident from the gure that the specic gas consumption
rate of engine was found to be less for methane enriched
biogas than raw biogas. This fact is due to that, methane enriched

R. Chandra et al. / Applied Energy 88 (2011) 39693977

biogas has higher percentage of methane which improves the heating and had reduced the gas consumption rate.
3.4. Brake thermal efciency
Fig. 7 presents the variations in brake thermal efciency with
respect to % brake load when engine was operated on CNG, methane enriched biogas and raw biogas. Maximum brake thermal efciency attained in case of engine running on CNG at 30, 35 and
40 of ignition advances were found as 18.8%, 22.2% and 19.4%,
respectively. The maximum brake thermal efciency of the engine
running on compressed natural gas was found as 22.2% at a brake
load of 59.5% and the corresponding brake power observed was
3.548 kW. Further, the maximum brake thermal efciency was
obtained at ignition advance of 35 TDC.
The maximum brake thermal efciency obtained in case of engine running on methane enriched biogas at 30, 35 and 40 of

3975

ignition advances were found as 21.8%, 26.2% and 20.9%, respectively. Similar to CNG, the maximum brake thermal efciency of
the engine operating on methane enriched biogas was found at
35 TDC ignition advance. The maximum value was found as
26.2% at a brake load of 59.0% and the corresponding brake power
was 3.500 kW.
The observed maximum brake thermal efciency of the engine
running on raw biogas at 30, 35 and 40 of ignition advances
were as 22.5%, 23.3% and 23.3%, respectively. The maximum value
of brake thermal efciency was found as 23.3% at a brake load of
53.5% at IA of 35 and 51.9% at IA of 40.
3.5. Relative air/fuel ratio
Fig. 8 illustrates the correlation between % brake load and relative air/fuel ratio of the engine run on CNG, methane enriched biogas and raw biogas. The operating range of relative air/fuel ratio of

Fig. 7. Variation of brake thermal efciency of the engine on selected fuels.

Fig. 8. Variation of relative air/fuel ratio of combustion for selected fuels.

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R. Chandra et al. / Applied Energy 88 (2011) 39693977

Table 2
Summary of the results.
Sl. no.

Engine parameter at 12.65 CR

Ignition advance (TDC)


30

35

40

Brake power output (kW)

3.548 kW (CNG)
3.500 kW (enriched biogas)
2.581 kW (biogas)

3.914 kW (CNG)
3.800 kW (enriched biogas)
2.661 kW (biogas)

3.763 kW (CNG)
3.650 kW (enriched biogas)
2.661 kW (biogas)

Engine speed range (rpm)

14091544 (CNG), 14021537 (enriched biogas), 12281437 (biogas)

Specic gas consumption (g/kWh)

4651550 (CNG)
4711667 (enriched biogas)
6513524 (biogas)

4091240 (CNG)
4211304 (enriched biogas)
6253550 (biogas)

5351240 (CNG)
5481391 (enriched biogas)
6263674 (biogas)

Maximum brake thermal efciency (%)

18.8 (CNG)
21.8 (enriched biogas)
22.5 (biogas)

22.2 (CNG)
26.2 (enriched biogas)
23.3 (biogas)

19.4 (CNG)
20.9 (enriched biogas)
23.3 (biogas)

Range of relative air/fuel ratio of combustion

1.11.5 (CNG)
1.01.9 (enriched biogas)
0.50.7 (biogas)

0.61.1 (CNG)
0.41.1 (enriched biogas)
0.50.8 (biogas)

0.61.8 (CNG)
0.81.5 (enriched biogas)
0.50.9 (biogas)

Maximum load development (%)

59.7 (CNG)
59.2 (enriched biogas)
53.4 (biogas)

68.2 (CNG)
66.6 (enriched biogas)
53.5 (biogas)

67.9 (CNG)
66.2 (enriched biogas)
51.9 (biogas)

engine run on compressed natural gas at ignition advance of 30, 35


and 40 TDC were observed as 1.11.5, 0.61.1 and 0.61.8, respectively. It is clearly evident from the Fig. 8 that the engine supplied
with lean airfuel mixture at an ignition advance of 30 and 40
TDC. However, at an ignition advance of 35 TDC engine was provided with rich mixture (k < 1.0). Therefore, the resulting effect
had shown more power output and higher brake thermal efciency
of the engine.
The operating range of relative air/fuel ratio of combustion of
methane enriched biogas containing 95% methane at ignition
advance of 30, 35 and 40 TDC were found as 1.01.9, 0.41.1
and 0.81.5, respectively. Result similar to the natural gas was also
observed for the methane enriched biogas. This fact is due to, that
the methane enriched biogas contained 95% methane and is almost
equivalent to the natural gas.
The operating range of relative air/fuel ratio of combustion of
raw biogas containing 65% methane at ignition advance of 30,
35 and 40 TDC were observed as 0.50.7, 0.50.8 and 0.50.9,
respectively. It is clearly evident that the engine run on raw biogas
supplied with rich mixture (k < 1.0) at all three selected ignition
advance. However, the power output and brake load development
capability was found lowest. This is due to reason that the raw
biogas had low caloric value (MJ/kg) and also contained about
3035% carbon dioxide in the volume, which may change the combustion behaviour of the airfuel mixture. On the other hand, the
raw biogas was supplied directly from gas holder of the biogas
plant, where the pressure was about 100 mm of water column
(0.01 bar). This may be resulted into lower volumetric efciency
of the engine. The results obtained were also consent that the best
combustion performance always occurs at values near k = 1.0. The
supply of the right mixture of air and fuel is therefore of utmost
importance for the performance of a spark ignition engine [4]. Further, the engines operating close to the stoichiometric air/fuel ratio
display lower levels of emissions of toxic gases [17].
Enhanced methane concentration in biogas (as in methane enriched biogas) signicantly improves the engine performance and
reduces emissions of hydrocarbons. The lean limit where the HC
emission rises sharply is also extended. The real benet of removal
of CO2 from biogas was obtained when the engine operated with
lean fuelair mixtures with k in the range of 0.80.95. The methane
enriched biogas by removal of CO2 from raw biogas increase the
methane and oxygen concentrations in the charge and thus leads
to faster combustion and also higher power outputs as comparable
to compressed natural gas at a given equivalence ratio [18].

Table 2 shows the summary of the results obtained from the


engine performance in order to utilize biogas and methane
enriched biogas as fuel in internal combustion engines.
4. Conclusions
The performance results of stationary 5.9 kW diesel engine converted into spark ignition mode indicated that the maximum brake
power producing capability of the engine corresponds to 35 TDC
ignition advance for compressed natural gas, methane enriched
biogas and raw biogas at compression ratio of 12.65. The observed
power losses due to conversion of diesel engine into spark ignition
engine had been 31.8%, 35.6% and 46.3% for compressed natural
gas, methane enriched biogas and raw biogas, respectively. The engine test results obtained in terms of brake power output, specic
gas consumption and thermal efciency on methane enriched biogas containing 95% methane has showed that the engine performance is almost similar to that of compressed natural gas. Thus,
the gaseous fuel methane enriched biogas is as good as natural
gas. Further, the biogas is renewable and CO2 neutral fuel in terms
of net emissions of carbon to the atmosphere.
Acknowledgements
Authors are highly thankful to Centre for Rural Development
and Technology and Mechanical Engineering Department, Indian
Institute of Technology Delhi, New Delhi, India for providing necessary facilities, support and nancial funding to conduct this research work. Authors are also thankful to Prof. S.K. Rautaray,
Head Department of Farm Power and Machinery, College of Agricultural Engineering and Post Harvest Technology (Central Agricultural University), Ranipool, Gangtok, Sikkim, India for his kind help
in preparation and editing of manuscript.
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