Operational characteristics of an air breathing Rotating Detonation Combustor (RDC) fueled by natural gas-hydrogen blends are discussed in this paper. Experiments were performed on a 152 mm diameter uncooled RDC with a combustor to inlet area ratio of 0.2 at elevated inlet temperature and combustor pressure while varying the fuel split between natural gas and hydrogen over a range of equivalence ratios. Experimental data from short-duration (∼6sec) tests are presented with an emphasis on identifying detonability limits and exploring detonation stability with the addition of natural gas. Although the nominal combustor used in this experiment was not specifically designed for natural gas-air mixtures, significant advances in understanding conditions necessary for sustaining a stable, continuous detonation wave in a natural gas-hydrogen blended fuel were achieved. Data from the experimental study suggests that at elevated combustor pressures (2–3bar), only a small amount of natural gas added to the hydrogen is needed to alter the detonation wave operational mode. Additional observations indicate that an increase in air inlet temperature (up to 204°C) at atmospheric conditions significantly affects RDC performance by increasing deflagration losses through an increase in the number of combustion (detonation/Deflagration) regions present in the combustor. At higher backpressure levels the RDC exhibited the ability to achieve stable detonation with increasing concentrations of natural gas (with natural gas / hydrogen-air blend). However, losses tend to increase at intermediate air preheat levels (∼120°C). It was observed that combustor pressure had a first order influence on RDC stability in the presence of natural gas. Combining the results from this limited experimental study with our theoretical understanding of detonation wave fundamentals provides a pathway for developing an advanced combustor capable of replacing conventional constant pressure combustors typical of most power generation processes with one that produces a pressure gain.

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