CFD based exploration of the dry-low-NOx hydrogen micromix combustion technology at increased energy densities
Combined with the use of renewable energy sources for its production, hydrogen represents a possible alternative gas turbine fuel within future low emission power generation. Due to the large difference in the physical properties of hydrogen compared to other fuels such as natural gas, well established gas turbine combustion systems cannot be directly applied for dry-low-NOx (DLN) hydrogen combustion. Thus, the development of DLN combustion technologies is an essential and challenging task for the future of hydrogen fuelled gas turbines.
The DLN micromix combustion principle for hydrogen fuel has been developed to significantly reduce NOx-emissions. This combustion principle is based on cross-flow mixing of air and gaseous hydrogen which reacts in multiple miniaturized diffusion-type flames. The major advantages of this combustion principle are the inherent safety against flash-back and the low NOx-emissions due to a very short residence time of reactants in the flame region of the micro-flames.
The micromix combustion technology has been already proven experimentally and numerically for pure hydrogen fuel operation at different energy density levels. The aim of the present study is to analyze the influence of different geometry parameter variations on the flame structure and the NOx emission and to identify the most relevant design parameters, aiming to provide a physical understanding of the micromix flame sensitivity to the burner design and identify further optimization potential of this innovative combustion technology while increasing its energy density and making it mature enough for real gas turbine application.
The study reveals great optimization potential of the micromix combustion technology with respect to the DLN characteristics and gives insight into the impact of geometry modifications on flame structure and NOx emission. This allows to further increase the energy density of the micromix burners and to integrate this technology in industrial gas turbines.