Fire without smoke

Mar 31, 2008

Could combustion without flames be used to build industrial gas turbines for power generation that are much more efficient than current models and produce almost no polluting emissions? Researchers in the Middle East provide a possible answer in the current issue of the Inderscience publication, International Journal of the Environment and Pollution.

Mohamed Sassi of The Petroleum Institute in Abu Dabi (United Arab Emirates) and colleagues, Mohamed Hamdi and Hamaid Bentîcha, at the National School of Engineers of Monastir (Tunisia), explain that flameless combustion, or more precisely flameless oxidation (FLOX), has become a focus of industrial research. It has, they say, the potential to avoid one of the major noxious pollutants from gas turbines, NOx, or nitrogen oxides.

In flameless combustion, the oxidation of fuel occurs with a very limited oxygen supply at very high temperature. Spontaneous ignition occurs and progresses with no visible or audible signs of the flames usually associated with burning. The chemical reaction zone is quite diffuse, explains Sassi, and this leads to almost uniform heat release and a smooth temperature profile. All these factors could result in a much more efficient process as well as reducing emissions.

The team has now modeled flameless combustion in a so-called adiabatic combustor, of the kind typically used in gas turbine engines in which methane is burned to drive a turbine for electricity production. They carried out detailed calculations of reaction rates and have analyzed the chemical reactions taking place. "The main objective of our study was to provide a fundamental understanding of the physical and chemical processes that occur during combustion in high-temperature air or exhaust gases with a low content of oxygen," explains Sassi.

The results of the team's simulations clearly show that even at high operating temperatures and pressures, NOx emissions are reduced to very low levels, suggesting that flameless combustion could become an effective way of ameliorating pollution in power generation.

Source: Inderscience Publishers

Explore further: Australia confident of Antarctic marine reserve in 2015

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Will Apple Pay be mobile pay's kick-start?

6 hours ago

If anyone can get us to use our smartphones as wallets, it's Apple. That's what experts think about the recent launch of Apple Pay, the first mobile wallet to work on an iPhone.

Google execs discuss regulation, innovation and bobble-heads

8 hours ago

Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg help run Google, one of the world's best-known, most successful - and most controversial - companies. They've just published a new book, "How Google Works," a guide to managing what they ...

Developing the battery of the future

8 hours ago

The search for the next generation of batteries has led researchers at the Canadian Light Source synchrotron to try new methods and materials that could lead to the development of safer, cheaper, more powerful, ...

Gamers' funding fuels meteoric rise of 'Star Citizen'

9 hours ago

Chris Roberts' brain spun out a grand vision: a rich, immersive galaxy; exquisite spaceships traversing between infinite star systems with thousands of computer gamers manning the cockpits, racing, dogfighting and defending ...

Recommended for you

Australia confident of Antarctic marine reserve in 2015

2 hours ago

Australia said on Saturday it was confident its plans for a marine reserve to protect biodiversity in East Antarctica would succeed next year, after international talks in Hobart failed to agree on the measure.

Bladderwrack: Tougher than suspected

19 hours ago

The bladderwrack Fucus vesiculosus is actually one of the most important species of brown algae along the North Atlantic coasts. But for years their populations in the Baltic Sea were declining. Looking for the reasons, biolog ...

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

HeRoze
not rated yet Mar 31, 2008
Yep, the energy has to go somewhere, and heat is the major shortcoming in traditional engines. We spend lots of effort removing heat from engines (so they won't melt or cease), when this could be used for output. Neat stuff. Here come ceramic engines, or something similar, that can handle these temperatures.
zevkirsh
1 / 5 (1) Mar 31, 2008
i like the idea of using this type of process in a 'hard-hybrid' engine that uses a slow constant combustion process to power the batteries/supercapacitor of a car driven solely with an electric motor.
HeRoze
not rated yet Mar 31, 2008
seize... i can't even spell seize..
Ceasing is bad for engines, too.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.