Bosch Hydrogen Burner Simulations

Project: Research direct

Description

Climate change, due to global warming, is a worldwide issue which demands urgent and ambitious action. Many countries have committed to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by 80% from 1990 levels by 2050. In order to meet this challenge, and support hard-to-decarbonise uses, they will have to almost completely decarbonise heat. Currently most heating is provided by burning natural gas, which consists mainly of methane. Electrify heating is extremely costly as the electricity infrastructure is not currently able to support this large additional load. From both energy system and end-use points of view, gas offers significant capabilities that cannot practically be matched with electricity. In 2015, the H21 Leeds City Gate report outlined a detailed technical case for widespread conversion of the UK gas distribution network from natural gas to hydrogen. The energy flow characteristics of hydrogen are remarkably similar to those of methane, and of course, hydrogen produces no CO2 at the point of use. However, there are currently no suitable products available to replace natural gas boilers for either domestic or commercial applications. Furthermore, the differences between methane and hydrogen present a number of challenges in appliance design, not least in the area of combustion. Hydrogen has much lower activation energy and higher diffusivity than methane in air, these properties bring with them much wider explosive limits and a significantly higher flame speed. These differences mean that the currently popular pre-mixed burner designs would suffer from flash-back when supplied with hydrogen, even with substantial modifications. The wide explosive limits of hydrogen make partial pre-mixing problematic, and current designs of diffusion burner are unlikely to meet the demanding NOx requirements from recent regulations. The project aims to make a wide sweep of available burner designs, evaluating them in order to identify the most promising concept for future hydrogen boiler technology. This technology will then be developed to a high maturity, such that it can be quickly and confidently applied to a range of boiler products with minimal development iterations. Simulation offers two benefits to such a project; in the early stages, fast coarse optimisation and evaluation of novel concepts and later on, detailed optimisation and sensitivity analysis to mature a chosen concept. 
People involved in this project: Jeroen van Oijen & Denis Efimov
Short titleHydrogen Burner Simulations
AcronymHydroHeat
StatusActive
Effective start/end date1/02/1931/01/20