Hydrogen micromix combustion is a promising concept to reduce the environmental impact of both aero and land-based gas turbines by delivering carbon-free and ultra-low-NOx combustion without the risk of autoignition or flashback. As a part of the ENABLEH2 project, the current study focuses on the influence of design parameters on the micromix hydrogen combustion injectors. This study provides deeper insights into the design space of a hydrogen micromix injection system via numerical simulations. The key geometrical design parameters of the micromix combustion system are the sizing of the air gates and the hydrogen injector orifices together with the offset distance between air gate and hydrogen injection, the mixing distance and the injector to injector spacing.
This paper first presents results of the numerical simulation of four designs, down selected from a series of combinations of the key design parameters, including cases with low and high momentum flux ratio, weak and strong flame-flame interaction. It was discovered that the hydrogen/air mixing characteristics, and flame to flame interactions, are the main factors influencing the combustor gas temperature distributions, flame lengths and the corresponding NOx production.
The current study then focused on the effect of air gate geometry on the mixing characteristics, flame shape and temperature distribution. The momentum flux ratio was kept constant throughout this investigation by keeping the air gate area constant. Variations of the original baseline air gate design were studied, followed by a study of various novel air gate geometries, including circular, semi-circular and elliptical shapes.
It is concluded that NOx production is influenced by a number of factors including jet penetration flame interactions and air gate shape and that there is a “Sweet Spot” that results in the lowest practicable NOx production. Flatter and wider air gate shapes tend to yield the lowest temperature and consequently the lowest NOx. Reduced interaction between flames also tends to reduce NOx and by manipulating hydrogen penetration, there is the potential to further reduce the NOx production.