This study investigates the performance and the conditions under which flameless oxidation can be achieved for a given annular adiabatic combustor. Numerical modelling of velocity, temperature and species fields are performed for different flow configurations of air and methane streams injected into a proposed design of a gas-turbine combustor. Parametric analysis was performed by systematically varying several parameters: radius of a recirculation zone, radius of the combustor, location of air and fuel ports, air and fuel velocities magnitudes and injection angles. The analysis was performed initially using a three-step global chemistry model to identify a design (geometry and operating conditions) that yield flameless combustion regime. The selected design was then modelled using a skeletal (46 reactions) and a detailed (309 reactions) chemical kinetics mechanism. The k–ε turbulence model was used in the most calculations. Overall, similar qualitative flow, temperature, and species patterns were predicted by both kinetics models; however the detailed mechanism provides quantitatively more realistic predictions. An optimal flow configuration was achieved with exhaust NOx emissions of < 7.5 ppm, CO < 35ppm, and a pressure-drop < 5%, hence meeting the design criteria for gas turbine engines. This study demonstrates the feasibility of achieving ultra-low NOx and CO emissions utilising a flameless oxidation regime.

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