Abstract

To address the shortage of fossil fuels and the environmental impact of exhaust emissions, research efforts in combustion seek to identify candidates for sustainable fuels. Hydrogen is an example, from which water is produced as the main combustion product. However, when used as neat hydrogen, it is very difficult to control hydrogen combustion due to its high flame speed, pre-ignition propensity, and flashback characteristics. One method to control hydrogen combustion is to blend it with a well-established fuel. Natural gas is a common fuel for use in engines or gas turbines. Natural gas is characterized by slow flame speeds and poor lean-burn ability; thus, engine power is decreased in the lean-burn region. Consequently, natural gas engines are typically operated at stoichiometric conditions to maximize output. Blending hydrogen to natural gas has several advantages: (i) Control of hydrogen’s ignition characteristics, (ii) extension of Natural gas’s lower flammability limit — making it easier to ignite, and (iii) reduced greenhouse gas emissions. In this study, the laminar burning speed (LBS) for neat natural gas and natural gas/hydrogen mixtures at 5 atm and 296 K were measured. Schlieren optical imaging was utilized to validate laminar flame conditions and further investigate the structure of natural gas/hydrogen flames. Results indicate that replacing 50% of natural gas with hydrogen increases the peak laminar burning velocity by a factor of ∼1.6 times. LBS simulations were conducted with NUI 1.1 and UCF NG/H2 mechanisms; Predictions by both mechanisms were found to be satisfactory for neat NG mixtures. However, for 50% NG/ 50% H2 mixture, the true LBS for fuel-lean conditions was under-predicted by both models, while predictions for fuel-rich conditions were satisfactory. Additionally, a literature review and similar experimental analysis will be performed for methane, ammonia, and hydrogen fuel blends to better understand the combustion phenomena of natural gas fuels.

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