Hydrogen represents a possible alternative gas turbine fuel for future low emission power generation once it can be combined with the use of renewable energy sources for its production. Due to its different physical properties 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. This makes the development of new combustion technologies an essential and challenging task for the future of hydrogen fueled gas turbines.

The newly developed and successfully tested “DLN Micromix” combustion technology offers great potential to burn hydrogen in gas turbines at very low NOx emissions. The mixing of hydrogen and air is based on the jet in cross-flow (JICF) principle, where the gaseous fuel is injected perpendicular into the crossing air stream. The reaction takes place in multiple miniaturized diffusion flames with an inherent safety against flashback and the potential of low NOx emissions due to a short residence time of the reactants in the flame region.

Aiming to further develop an existing burner design in terms of an increased energy density, a redesign is required in order to stabilize the flames at higher mass flows while maintaining low emission levels.

For this reason, a systematic numerical analysis using CFD is carried out, to identify the interactions of combustion, radiation and heat conduction in the adjacent burner wall by conjugate heat transfer (CHT) methods. Different combustion models are applied, starting from a hybrid eddy break-up model to more advanced turbulence-chemistry interaction approaches considering detailed chemical mechanisms. Those allow an improved prediction of the different NO-pathways of production and consumption. The results of the simulations are in good agreement with atmospheric test rig data of optical flame structure, measured combustor surface temperatures and NOx emissions.

The numerical methods help reducing the effort of manufacturing and testing to few designs for single validation campaigns, in order to confirm the flame stability and NOx emissions in a wider operating condition field. Further on, the more detailed CFD-simulations support the understanding of decisive mechanisms to reduce the numerical work to the most important models for further industrial applications in future.

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