A change in the combustion concept of gas turbines from conventional isobaric to constant volume combustion (CVC), such as in pulse detonation combustion (PDC), promises a significant increase in gas turbine efficiency. Current research focuses on the realization of reliable PDC operation and its challenging integration into a gas turbine. The topic of pollutant emissions from such systems has so far received very little attention. Few rare studies indicate that the extreme combustion conditions in PDC systems can lead to high emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx). Therefore, it is essential already at this stage of development to begin working on primary measures for NOx emissions reduction, if commercialization is to be feasible.
The present study evaluates the potential of different primary methods for reducing NOx emissions produced during pulsed detonation combustion of hydrogen. The considered primary methods involve utilization of lean combustion mixtures or its dilution by steam injection or exhaust gas recirculation. The influence of such measures on the detonability of the combustion mixture has been evaluated based on detonation cell sizes modelled with detailed chemistry. For the mixtures and operating conditions featuring promising detonability, NOx formation in the detonation wave has been simulated by solving the one-dimensional reacting Euler equations. The study enables an insight into the potential and limitations of considered measures for NOx emissions reduction and lays the groundwork for optimized operation of pulse detonation combustion systems.