Stability limits and exhaust NO performances of ammonia-methane-air swirl flames

Abdulrahman A. Khateeb, Thibault Guiberti, Xuren Zhu, Mourad Younes, Aqil Jamal, William L. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Ammonia is a promising fuel for heat and power generation because it is carbon-free and it can be produced from abundant chemicals and renewable energy sources. However, ammonia-air mixtures feature a low reactivity and stabilizing turbulent ammonia-air flames is challenging. In this study, the stability limits of technically-premixed ammonia-methane-air mixtures are measured for a wide range of ammonia additions in a laboratory-scale swirl burner. Results are compared to that obtained for baseline methane-air mixtures. Data show that increasing the ammonia addition increases the equivalence ratio at the lean blowout limit but also reduces the flames’ propensity to flashback. If the volume fraction of ammonia in the fuel blend exceeds a critical value, experiments also show that increasing the equivalence ratio at a fixed bulk velocity does not yield flashback and rich blow-out occurs instead. This significantly widens the range of equivalence ratios yielding stable flames. The critical ammonia volume fraction is a function of the Reynolds number and is xNH3 = 0.42 for Re = 7000 and xNH3 = 0.70 for Re = 3000. Because the ability to stabilize ammonia-methane-air flames is not practically relevant if NOx emissions are too large compared to that of conventional methane-air flames, exhaust NO concentrations are also measured. Consistent with previous studies, data show that, for non-marginal ammonia fuel fractions, good NO performances are not found for lean ammonia-methane-air mixtures and can only be achieved with slightly rich mixtures, which are within measured stability limits.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)110058
JournalExperimental Thermal and Fluid Science
StatePublished - Jan 24 2020

Cite this