Homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) is a potentially attractive operating mode for stationary natural gas engines. Increasing demand for efficient, clean burning engines for electrical power generation provides an opportunity to utilize HCCI combustion if several inherent difficulties can be overcome. Fuel composition, particularly the higher hydrocarbon content (ethane, propane, and butane) of the fuel is of primary concern. Fuel composition influences HCCI operation both in terms of design, via compression ratio and initial charge temperature, and in terms of engine control. It has been demonstrated that greater concentrations of higher hydrocarbons tend to lower the ignition temperature of the mixture significantly. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate, through simulation, the effect of fuel composition on combustion in HCCI engines. Engine performance over a range of fuels from pure methane to more typical natural gas blends is investigated. This includes both the impact of various fuels and the sensitivity of engine operation for any given fuel. Results are presented at a fixed equivalence ratio, compression ratio, and engine speed to isolate the effect of fuel composition. Conclusions are drawn as to how the difficulties arising from gas composition variations may affect the future marketability of these engines.

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