In this work a numerical investigation is carried out on a model combustor characterized by swirl flow conditions, fed with a biomass derived syngas fuel (which incorporates CH4, CO and H2) and operated in laboratory at atmospheric pressure. The combustor internal aerodynamics and heat release in case of syngas combustion have been simulated in the framework of CFD-RANS techniques, by means of different available models and by adopting different levels of kinetic mechanism complexity. In particular, the applicability of reduced mechanisms involving CO and H2 species and also of detailed kinetic mechanisms are assessed. The results obtained by means of the CFD simulations on the model combustor and a comparison with available experimental data on flow field and thermal field are presented in the paper. In the test-case of syngas-air swirled flames, the turbulent non premixed combustion “flamelet” model with detailed non-equilibrium chemistry, originally developed for methane-air combustion, provides encouraging results in terms of temperature distribution. Nevertheless, a simpler chemical path including the main fuel species integrated in a general purpose, widely used in industry, turbulent combustion model still provides acceptable results.

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