Development of an Open Path Laser Ignition System for a Large Bore Natural Gas Engine
Using a laser, as opposed to a conventional (electrical) spark plug, to create a combustion initiating spark is potentially advantageous for several reasons: flexibility in choosing and optimizing the spark location, in particular to move the spark away from solid heat sinks; production of a more robust spark containing more energy; and obviation of electrode erosion problems. Design considerations for implementing open path laser ignition on a large bore natural gas engine are presented. Implementation issues and on-engine test results for laser ignition in a single cylinder of a large bore natural gas engine are discussed. The data shows that when the laser spark is optimally located in the cylinder the combustion duration is significantly shortened.