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Title: Effect of Fuel Wobbe Number on Pollutant Emissions from Advanced Technology Residential Water Heaters: Results of Controlled Experiments

The research summarized in this report is part of a larger effort to evaluate the potential air quality impacts of using liquefied natural gas in California. A difference of potential importance between many liquefied natural gas blends and the natural gas blends that have been distributed in California in recent years is the higher Wobbe number of liquefied natural gas. Wobbe number is a measure of the energy delivery rate for appliances that use orifice- or pressure-based fuel metering. The effect of Wobbe number on pollutant emissions from residential water heaters was evaluated in controlled experiments. Experiments were conducted on eight storage water heaters, including five with “ultra low-NO{sub X}” burners, and four on-demand (tankless) water heaters, all of which featured ultra low-NO{sub X} burners. Pollutant emissions were quantified as air-free concentrations in the appliance flue and fuel-based emission factors in units of nanogram of pollutant emitter per joule of fuel energy consumed. Emissions were measured for carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NO{sub X}), nitrogen oxide (NO), formaldehyde and acetaldehyde as the water heaters were operated through defined operating cycles using fuels with varying Wobbe number. The reference fuel was Northern California line gas with Wobbe number ranging from 1344more » to 1365. Test fuels had Wobbe numbers of 1360, 1390 and 1420. The most prominent finding was an increase in NO{sub X} emissions with increasing Wobbe number: all five of the ultra low-NO{sub X} storage water heaters and two of the four ultra low-NO{sub X} on-demand water heaters had statistically discernible (p<0.10) increases in NO{sub X} with fuel Wobbe number. The largest percentage increases occurred for the ultra low-NO{sub X} water heaters. There was a discernible change in CO emissions with Wobbe number for all four of the on-demand devices tested. The on-demand water heater with the highest CO emissions also had the largest CO increase with increasing fuel Wobbe number.« less
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OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22); USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
Country of Publication:
United States