Combustion of Gasoline for Meso Scale Power Applications
Access to the electric power grid in developing countries should not need large-scale infrastructure if clean, inexpensive and efficient individual power devices were available. There is demand for portable power applications that output power in the hundreds of watt range. These systems are referred to as meso-scale systems. Typical applications include non-grid connected homes, remote billboards, automotive auxiliary equipment, military personnel, campsites and human prosthetic devices. High power per unit mass is a very important requirement for these systems which make liquid hydrocarbons an ideal choice for the energy source. The issue with hydrocarbon fuels is that combustion at low flow rates (~ ml/min) is difficult. Injectors or vaporizers, such as those used in automotive engines, typically work at high pressures and relatively high flow rates. Electrostatic injectors can vaporize at low flow rates but they are cumbersome since they require high electric fields and are not suited for portable applications. The use of a flow blurring injector shows promise. A flow blurring injector which vaporizes liquid hydrocarbons at low flow rates has been developed. A system was built at Chiang Mai University, Thailand (CMU) to characterize the parameters effecting the combustibility of a hydrocarbon fuel and to investigate the suitability of this injector for use in meso-scale power systems. The results indicate that it could be used to generate power but care has to be taken to ensure flame stability.