A single cylinder spark ignited gasoline engine was modified to operate with natural gas. In such an engine, laser ignition was successfully demonstrated while transmitting the high-power laser pulses via solid core optical fibers. Subsequently, ignition studies were performed while using laser ignition (LI) and conventional spark ignition (SI). However, due to limitations imposed by the engine hardware the adverse conditions for ignition could not be simulated, i.e., of lean operation and high-pressures. As a result, the scope of the study was limited to comparing LI and SI ignition characteristics at various ignition timings. It was observed that both LI and SI resulted in reliable combustion over all ignition timings. Furthermore, LI resulted in higher rates of pressure rise and higher peak cylinder pressures. However, the higher NOx emissions resulting from such conditions might not be representative as the final performance of an engine as it is determined by optimizing ignition timing and other operating parameters.

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