Ever-increasing energy demand, limited non-renewable resources, requirement for increased operational flexibility, and the need for reduction of pollutant emissions are the critical factors that drive the development of next generation fuel flexible gas turbine combustors. The use of hydrogen and hydrogen-rich fuels such as syngas helps in achieving decarbonisation. However, high temperatures and flame speeds associated with hydrogen might increase the NOx emissions. Humidified combustion presents a promising approach for NOx control. Humidification inhibits the formation of NOx and also allows for operating on hydrogen and hydrogen-rich fuels. The challenge in the implementation of this technology is the combustor (burner) design, which must provide a stable combustion process at high hydrogen content and ultra-wet conditions. In the present work, we investigate the flow field and combustion characteristics of a generic triple swirl burner running on humidified and hydrogen enriched methane-air mixtures.
The investigated burner consists of three co-axial co-rotating swirling passages: outer radial swirler stage, and two inner concentric axial swirler stages. Reynold’s Averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) simulation approach has been utilized here for flow description within the burner and inside the combustor. We present the flow fields from isothermal and lean pre-mixed methane-air reactive simulations based on the characterization of velocity profiles, streamwise shear layers, temperature fields and NOx emissions. Subsequently, we investigate the effect of combustion on flow fields, and flame stabilization for hydrogen enriched methane-air mixtures as a function of hydrogen content. We also investigate the effect of humidified combustion on methane-hydrogen blends and present comparison of temperature estimations and NOx emissions.