Controlling parameters of excess enthalpy combustion
Excess enthalpy combustion utilizes heat recirculation, in which heat is transferred from hot products to cold reactants to effectively preheat the reactants, in order to achieve improved combustion performance through the extension of flammability limits and increased burning rate. This research examines the effect of key parameters in excess enthalpy combustion on combustion stability, fuel conversion, and product species production through experimental and numerical investigation. Operating condition parameters that are studied include inlet reactant equivalence ratio and inlet velocity, and reactor geometry parameters that are studied include reactor channel height and length. Premixed reactants, including gaseous and liquid fuels, are investigated at rich and lean conditions. The examination of liquid fuels and the ability of a reactor to support rich and lean combustion of both gaseous and liquid fuels is a significant demonstration of a reactor’s flexibility for practical applications. This research experimentally and numerically examines excess enthalpy combustion in a counter-flow reactor. First, the counter-flow reactor, previously used for thermal partial oxidation of gaseous hydrocarbon fuels, is used in experiments to reform a liquid hydrocarbon fuel, heptane, to syngas. The effect of inlet operating conditions, including reactant equivalence ratio and inlet velocity, on combustion stability and product composition is explored. Second, lean combustion is demonstrated through experiments in the same counter-flow reactor previously used in reforming studies. The effect of inlet operating conditions, including reactant equivalence ratio and inlet velocity, on combustion stability and pollutant concentrations in combustion products is studied. An analytical model, previously developed for rich combustion, is adapted to qualitatively predict the behavior of the counter-flow reactor in response to changes in lean operating conditions. Third, lean combustion in the counter-flow reactor is further studied by examining the combustion of increasingly complex gaseous and liquid fuels. Again, the effect of inlet operating conditions, including reactant equivalence ratio and inlet velocity, on combustion stability and pollutant concentrations in combustion products is studied. Fourth and finally, a computational scaling study examines the impact of counter-flow reactor channel geometry on combustion stability, temperature increase above adiabatic values, heat recirculation, and fuel and product species conversion efficiency.