Ignition delay time and laminar flame speed measurements of ammonia blended with dimethyl ether: A promising low carbon fuel blend

Gani Issayev, Binod Giri, Ayman M. Elbaz, Krishna P. Shrestha, Fabian Mauss, William L. Roberts, Aamir Farooq

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


Ammonia (NH3) has recently received much attention as a promising future fuel for mobility and power generation. The use of ammonia as a fueling vector can help curb global warming by cutting CO2 emissions because it is a carbon-free fuel and a hydrogen carrier with a high percentage of hydrogen atoms per unit volume. Liquid ammonia contains a higher volumetric density of hydrogen than liquid hydrogen. The low reactivity of ammonia, however, hinders its direct usage as a combustible fuel. One feasible way to boost the reactivity of ammonia is to target a dual-fuel system comprising of ammonia and a suitable combustion promoter. In this work, combustion properties of ammonia were investigated by blending it with various proportions of dimethyl ether (DME) using a rapid compression machine (RCM) and a constant volume spherical reactor (CVSR) over a wide range of experimental conditions. DME is a highly reactive fuel that may be produced in a sustainable carbon cycle with a net zero-carbon emission. Ignition delay times (IDTs) of NH3/DME blends were measured over a temperature (T) range of 649–950 K, pressures (P) of 20 and 40 bar, equivalence ratios (Φ) of 0.5 and 1 for a range of DME mole fractions (χDME) of 0.05–0.5 in the blends. In addition, the laminar burning velocities of NH3/DME blends were measured at P = 1, 3 and 5 bar, Φ = 0.8–1.3 and T = 300 K for χDME ranging from 0.18 to 0.47. Our results suggest that DME is a good ignition promoter, resulting in a significant shortening of IDTs and an increase of flame speeds of NH3. A detailed chemical model has been developed and validated against the experimental data. Overall, our kinetic model offered reasonable predictive capabilities capturing the experimental trends over a wide range of conditions. In the worst-case scenario, our model underpredicted IDTs by a factor of ∼2.5 while overpredicting laminar flame speed by ∼20%.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1353-1370
Number of pages18
JournalRenewable Energy
StatePublished - Oct 4 2021

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-10-19
Acknowledgements: Research reported in this publication was supported by the Office of Sponsored Research at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).


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