In this paper, the thermodynamic potentialities and limits of the H2/O2 cycles are investigated. Starting from the conventional gas turbine and steam turbine technology, the paper qualitatively tackles problems related to a change of oxidizer and fuel: from these considerations, an internal combustion steam cycle (ICSC) is analyzed where steam, injected in the combustion chamber together with oxygen and hydrogen, is produced in a regenerative way and plays the important role of inert. A proper parametric analysis is then performed in order to evaluate the influence of the main working parameters on the overall performance of H2/O2 cycles. All the results are carried out neglecting the energy requirements for O2 and H2 production systems, but taking into account their work compression only. This choice permits great freedom in the definition of these thermodynamic cycles and allows general considerations because there is no need of any specification about H2 and/or O2 production systems and their integration with thermodynamic cycles. Therefore this paper can be framed in a context of oxygen and hydrogen centralized production (by nuclear or renewable energy sources for example) and in their distribution as pure gases in the utilization place. Adopting realistic assumptions, TIT of about 1350°C, the potentialities of H2/O2 cycles are very limited: the net efficiency attains a value of about 50%. Instead, adopting futurist assumptions, TIT = I700°C, a different H2/O2 cycle scheme can be proposed and more interesting performance is attained (a net efficiency value over 60%). The thermodynamic and technological aspects are completely addressed in the paper, underlining the great importance of the choice of the main working parameters.

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