This study investigates the effects of introducing electronically excited oxygen on trends in exergy destruction during hydrogen combustion. Electronically excited oxygen enhances many properties of combustion. By understanding how it alters the chemical kinetics, and hence the destruction of exergy, it may be possible to improve the overall exergetic efficiency of combustion thereby reducing fuel use to achieve desired energy conversion.

A numerical model was developed of an adiabatic plug flow reactor using CHEMKIN-PRO; in conjunction with a hydrogen oxidation mechanism that includes explicit reaction pathways for various electronically excited species. Exergy destruction was calculated for cases where singlet oxygen composed 0%–100% of the oxidizer while maintaining a stoichiometric oxidizer-fuel ratio; all other inlet conditions were held fixed.

Results show that an optimal range of exergetic combustion efficiency exists between 0%–20%, with the maximum occurring at approximately 10%. A detailed assessment of the total exergy destruction reveals that, for the optimal range of exergetic combustion efficiencies, as much as 60% of the total exergy destruction occurs prior to ignition. For inlet percentages of singlet oxygen greater than 20%, the majority of the total exergy destruction occurs after ignition. This paper examines the phenomenological events taking place in the reaction mechanism that give rise to the destruction of exergy during combustion. Understanding these mechanisms and the effects of introducing excited oxygen into the combustion process, sheds light on how we might use excited oxygen to increase the exergetic efficiency of combustion.

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