The sCO2 power cycle concept is identified as a potentially efficient, economical, and pollutant free power generation technique for future power generation. Recent work in the literature provides some strategies and best operating conditions for direct-fired sCO2 combustors based on zero-dimensional reactor modeling analysis, however there is a need for a detailed investigation using accurate combustion chemical kinetics and thermophysical models. Here, the sCO2 combustor is modelled by coupling perfectly stirred reactor (PSR) and plug flow reactor (PFR) models. The real gas effects are incorporated using the Soave-Redlich-Kwong (SRK) equation of state. Also, the detailed Aramco 2.0 kinetic mechanism is used for the combustion kinetic rates.

It is found that the primary zone must be diluted either with thirty or forty-five percent of the total CO2 in the cycle to have a feasible combustor design. However, the forty-five percent dilution level at 950 K and 1000 K yielded a better consumption of CO, O2 and CH4. Also, the cross-sectional area of the sCO2 combustor can be scaled-down to 10 to 20 times smaller than a traditional combustor with the same power output. Further, from this investigation, it is also recommended to have a gradually increasing secondary dilution in the dilution zone, by using progressively larger diameter holes. This design would help retain relatively high temperature in the initial portion of the dilution zone and would help consume fuel species such as, CO and CH4.

It appears that, for sCO2 combustors “lean burn” is the better strategy over stoichiometric burning to eliminate CO build up at the combustor exit. The lean burn condition at equivalence ratio (ϕ) equal to 0.9 is recommended for sCO2 combustor operation. Also, the length of the dilution zone can be scaled-down to 50% by lean burn operation of the combustor. It is also observed that the lean burn increases the net turbine power. Current work provides crucial design considerations for the development of advanced sCO2 combustors to be used with direct-fired power cycles.

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