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Influence of steam addition and elevated ambient conditions on NOx reduction in a staged premixed swirling NH3/H2 flame

Pugh, Daniel, Bowen, Philip, Valera-Medina, Agustin, Giles, Anthony, Runyon, Jon and Marsh, Richard 2019. Influence of steam addition and elevated ambient conditions on NOx reduction in a staged premixed swirling NH3/H2 flame. Proceedings of the Combustion Institute 37 (4) , pp. 5401-5409. 10.1016/j.proci.2018.07.091

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There is growing interest in the application of renewably-generated NH3 to support future energy requirements, however combustor designs and strategies require considerable development to reduce NOx emissions in particular. A turbulent swirl burner was used to experimentally and numerically appraise potential pathways for operational NOx reduction with a premixed NH3/H2/air flame. Reactants were supplied at elevated temperature with parametric changes made to pressure and humidity. Favourable agreement was demonstrated between exhaust gas measurements and chemical kinetic simulations with a reactor network model, showing NOx emissions to be sensitive to operational equivalence ratio, increasing by several orders of magnitude across the experimental range. The lowest NOx concentrations were achieved at the richest conditions, accompanied by high unburned fuel fractions in the product stream. An increase in combustor pressure remarkably reduced exhaust NOx concentrations primarily due to enhanced NH2 formation, and subsequent NO consumption in the post-flame zone. Reactant humidification was explored in detail for the first time with this fuel, and shown to reduce NOx production limiting thermal pathways with the extended Zel’dovich mechanism. NO consumption in the post-flame zone was also enhanced through an increase in OH-produced NH2, and together with pressure, resulted in elevated exhaust NH3 concentrations. Whilst this effect was comparatively small, it meant that leaner humidified operation could be employed to reduce unburned fuel fractions without a NOx penalty. Emissions performance was further improved by the application of staged combustion, with secondary airflow used to improve fuel burnout. Humidity and pressure were optimised in the staged configuration to achieve operation with sampled respective NOx and NH3 exhaust fractions of 32 and 50 ppmvd (15%O2), at a globally lean equivalence ratio. There is considerable scope for further system optimisation through improved mixing of secondary air and increased ambient pressure.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Engineering
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the CC-BY Attribution 4.0 International license.
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 1540-7489
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 27 July 2018
Date of Acceptance: 21 July 2018
Last Modified: 23 Apr 2022 15:38

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