Enhancing ammonia engine efficiency through pre-chamber combustion and dual-fuel compression ignition techniques

Xinlei Liu*, Qinglong Tang, Hong G. Im

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In pursuit of unleashing ammonia's potential in internal combustion engines, an extensive computational study was conducted to explore the effects of two advanced combustion techniques: pre-chamber combustion (PCC) and dual-fuel compression ignition (DF−CI) on a heavy-duty ammonia engine. In the PCC mode, hydrogen was introduced into the pre-chamber (PC) to generate distributed reacting jets, with a small energy fraction of 0.5%. The case featuring a slightly narrower PC throat (diameter of 5.4 mm) yielded the highest indicated thermal efficiency (ITE) of 50.4%, owing to the rapid distribution of reacting jets and advanced combustion phasing. Further increase in hydrogen energy fraction and reduction in throat diameter resulted in a lower ITE because of the enhanced wall heat transfer loss. The DF−CI mode also exhibited significant potential for achieving high efficiency. Through a systemic optimization of parameters such as diesel injection timing, spray included angle, injection pressure, swirl ratio, and piston shape, a significantly enhanced ITE of 50.3% was attained, 7.2% higher than the baseline scenario. The improvement was primarily attributed to the promoted mixing of diesel with air. Among the design parameters, the swirl ratio and spray included angle exhibited the most significant impact on the engine performance. Overall, both the PCC and DF−CI modes were found to yield high ITE and low ammonia emissions. However, because 20% of the diesel energy fraction was utilized to mitigate ammonia slip in the DF−CI mode, notably higher greenhouse gas emissions (carbon dioxide of 96 g/kW-h) were generated than in the PCC mode. In this regard, the ammonia-hydrogen PCC mode should be a more promising solution to achieve zero-carbon emissions for future ammonia engines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number140622
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
StatePublished - Jan 10 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Elsevier Ltd


  • Ammonia
  • Dual-fuel
  • Hydrogen
  • Pre-chamber combustion
  • Spark ignition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • General Environmental Science
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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