The use of highly reactive fuels in the lean premixed combustion systems employed in stationary gas turbines can lead to many practical problems, such as unwanted autoignition in regions not designed for combustion. In the present study, autoignition characteristics for hydrogen, diluted with up to 30 vol. % nitrogen, were investigated at conditions relevant to reheat combustor operation (p = 15 bar, T >1000 K, hot flue gas, relevant residence times). The experiments were performed in a generic, optically accessible reheat combustor, by applying high-speed imaging and particle image velocimetry. Autoignition limits for different mixing section (temperature, velocity) and fuel jet (N2 dilution) parameters are described. The dominant factor influencing autoignition was the temperature, with an increase of around 2% leading to a reduction of the highest possible H2 concentration without “flame-stabilizing autoignition kernels” of approximately 16 vol. %. Furthermore, the onset and propagation of the ignition kernels were elucidated using the high-speed measurements. It was found that the ability of individual autoignition kernels to develop into stable flames depends on the initial position of the kernel and the corresponding axial velocity at that position. While unwanted autoignition occurred prior to reaching the desired operating point for most investigated conditions, for certain conditions the reheat combustor could be operated stably with up to 80 vol. % H2 in the fuel.

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