Hydrogen-Enriched Natural Gas Swirling Flame Characteristics: A Numerical Analysis
Keywords:Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), Gas Turbine, Hydrogen, Combustion, Natural Gas, Flame
Increasing the amount of hydrogen (H2) in natural gas mixtures contributes to gas turbine (GT) decarbonisation initiatives. Hence, the swirling flame characteristics of natural gas mixtures with H2 are investigated in the current work using a numerical assessment of a single swirl burner, which is extensively employed in GT combustors. The baseline numerical and experimental cases pertained to natural gas compositions largely consisting of methane (CH4). The results show that the numerical model adequately describes the swirling component of the flame observed in the experiment. Altogether, the findings show that hydroxyl (OH) radical levels increase in H2-enriched CH4 flames, implying that greater OH pools are responsible for the change in flame structure caused by considerable H2 addition. The addition of 10 % H2 is predicted to raise the peak flame temperature by 4 % compared to the baseline CH4 flame. Therefore, adding 10 % H2 into a GT combustor without any flowrate tuning raises the risk of turbine material deterioration and increased thermal NOx emission. Due to the lower volumetric Lower Heating Value (LHV) of H2, which needs a higher volumetric fuel flow rate than burning natural gas/CH4 at the same thermal output, the addition of 2 % H2 is predicted to reduce the peak flame temperature by 4 % compared to the baseline CH4 flame. Hence, if 2 % H2 is fed into a GT combustor without any flowrate tuning, the required load may not be obtained. When compared to the baseline CH4 case, the addition of 5 % H2 is predicted to provide almost identical peak flame temperature, which can be postulated that the addition of 5 % H2 can produce roughly the same peak flame temperature as the pure CH4 flame because the Wobbe Index is comparable. Therefore, it reveals that incorporating 5 % H2 in the natural gas-fired GT combustor with nearly no modification is viable. More research, however, is required to fully capture the flame structure and strain for assessing transient-related phenomena such as flashback and blow off by raising the H2 proportion and utilising a higher precision turbulence model.
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