A numerical model with detailed gas-phase chemistry and transport was used to predict homogeneous fuel conversion processes and to capture the important features (e.g., the location, temperature, thickness and structure of a flame) of laminar oxy-fuel diffusion flames stabilized on the sweep side of an oxygen permeable ion transport membrane (ITM). We assume that the membrane surface is not catalytic to hydrocarbon or syngas oxidation. It has been demonstrated that an ITM can be used for hydrocarbon conversion with enhanced reaction selectivity such as oxy-fuel combustion for carbon capture technologies and syngas production. Within an ITM unit, the oxidizer flow rate, i.e., the oxygen permeation flux, is not a pre-determined quantity, since it depends on the oxygen partial pressures on the feed and sweep sides and the membrane temperature. Instead, it is influenced by the oxidation reactions that are also dependent on the oxygen permeation rate, the initial conditions of the sweep gas, i.e., the fuel concentration, flow rate and temperature, and the diluent. In oxy-fuel combustion applications, the sweep side is fuel-diluted with CO2, and the entire unit is preheated to achieve a high oxygen permeation flux. This study focuses on the flame structure under these conditions and specifically on the chemical effect of CO2 dilution. Results show that, when the fuel diluent is CO2, a diffusion flame with a lower temperature and a larger thickness is established in the vicinity of the membrane, in comparison with the case in which N2 is used as a diluent. Enhanced OH-driven reactions and suppressed H radical chemistry result in the formation of products with larger CO and H2O and smaller H2 concentrations. Moreover, radical concentrations are reduced due to the high CO2 fraction in the sweep gas. CO2 dilution reduces CH3 formation and slows down the formation of soot precursors, C2H2 and C2H4. The flame location impacts the species diffusion and heat transfer from the reaction zone towards the membrane, which affects the oxygen permeation rate and the flame temperature. © 2012 The Combustion Institute.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||14|
|Journal||Combustion and Flame|
|State||Published - Mar 2013|