Natural gas is a promising alternative fuel to meet strict engine emission regulations in many countries. Natural gas engines can operate at lean burn and stoichiometric conditions with different combustion and emission characteristics. In this paper, the operating envelope, fuel economy, emissions, cycle-to-cycle variations in indicated mean effective pressure and strategies to achieve stable combustion of lean burn natural gas engines are highlighted. Stoichiometric natural gas engines are briefly reviewed. To keep the output power and torque of natural gas engines comparable to those of their gasoline or Diesel counterparts, high boost pressure should be used. High activity catalyst for methane oxidation and lean deNOx system or three way catalyst with precise air-fuel ratio control strategies should be developed to meet future stringent emission standards. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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