Multiple Spark Ignition Approach to Burn Ammonia in a Spark-Ignition Engine: An Optical Study

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

6 Scopus citations


The future of the internal combustion (IC) engine relies on carbon-free fuels to mitigate climate change. Ammonia (NH3) is a promising carbon-free fuel, which can be used as an energy carrier for hydrogen (H2) and directly as a combustible fuel inside the engines. However, burning pure ammonia fuel is difficult due to its low flammability, burning velocity, and consequently large cycle-to-cycle variation. This study used a multiple-spark-plug approach to burn pure ammonia gas with reduced combustion duration and higher engine power output. The natural flame luminosity (NFL) imaging method was used to capture the multiple flames initiated by various ignition sites. In order to perform the experiment a customized liner having four spark plugs installed at equal spacing to each other, and to compare the results with conventional spark-ignition (SI) conditions, one spark plug was mounted at the center of the cylinder head. The results show that firing the single central spark plug generated lower in-cylinder pressure and heat release rate (HRR) along with higher combustion duration due to the low flame speed. However, adding more spark plugs increased the cylinder pressure generation and HRR along with creating shorter combustion duration for the same operating conditions. In addition, multiple flames produced by multiple plugs increased the engine power output and reduced the cyclic variation significantly due to higher-pressure generation. Additionally, NFL imaging was used to evaluate the flame intensity and flame area proportion for various ignition cases, and it was found that multiple spark plugs burned the air-fuel mixture more quickly with faster flame area proportion along with higher flame intensity. Furthermore, firing multiple spark plugs produced higher NOx emissions than the single spark plug case due to higher in-cylinder temperatures generated by multiple flame kernels.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSAE Technical Paper Series
PublisherSAE International
StatePublished - Apr 11 2023

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2023-05-04

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Pollution
  • Automotive Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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