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Numerical Predictions of a Swirl Combustor Using Complex Chemistry Fueled with Ammonia/Hydrogen Blends


Ammonia, a chemical that contains high hydrogen quantities, has been presented as a candidate for the production of clean power generation and aerospace propulsion. Although ammonia can deliver more hydrogen per unit volume than liquid hydrogen itself, the use of ammonia in combustion systems comes with the detrimental production of nitrogen oxides, which are emissions that have up to 300 times the greenhouse potential of carbon dioxide. This factor, combined with the lower energy density of ammonia, makes new studies crucial to enable the use of the molecule through methods that reduce emissions whilst ensuring that enough power is produced to support high-energy intensive applications. Thus, this paper presents a numerical study based on the use of novel reaction models employed to characterize ammonia combustion systems. The models are used to obtain Reynolds Averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) simulations via Star-CCM+ with complex chemistry of a 70%–30% (mol) ammonia–hydrogen blend that is currently under investigations elsewhere. A fixed equivalence ratio (1.2), medium swirl (0.8), and confined conditions are employed to determine the flame and species propagation at various operating atmospheres and temperature inlet values. The study is then expanded to high inlet temperatures, high pressures, and high flowrates at different confinement boundary conditions. The results denote how the production of NOx emissions remains stable and under 400 ppm, whilst higher concentrations of both hydrogen and unreacted ammonia are found in the flue gases under high power conditions. The reduction of heat losses (thus higher temperature boundary conditions) has a crucial impact on further destruction of ammonia post-flame, with a raise in hydrogen, water, and nitrogen through the system, thus presenting an opportunity of combustion efficiency improvement of this blend by reducing heat losses. Final discussions are presented as a method to raise power whilst employing ammonia for gas turbine systems.

Funding source: This research was partially funded by FLEXIS [project no. 80835].
Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: Mexico ; United States

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