The urgent need for low-emission and low-carbon solutions in distributed power generation and transport is often paired with recent trends towards increasingly high power densities. As a practical consequence, an important class of future gas turbines will be fired using novel and unconventional carbon-free fuels (i.e. hydrogen and/or ammonia) and characterized by large combustors surface-to-volume ratios. Those developments, to be implemented in a device while conserving today’s severe pollutants’ emissions and efficiency standards, will require precise answers to several open questions of fundamental scientific character jointly with an assessment of possible consequences on the gas turbine cycle performance.
Ammonia can be conveniently used as a hydrogen-carrying molecule, for high density storage and long-distance transportation. It can be converted back into hydrogen, or directly used for electricity production by combustion in a gas turbine, pure or in blends with hydrogen after partial decomposition. Combustion of ammonia/hydrogen blends is a very desirable option if ammonia and hydrogen are to become prominent energy carriers, but right now the combustion properties of such burnable mixtures and the operating conditions of a turbine fuelled with these are very little known.
The project ADONIS directly seeks answers to three fundamental open questions of high relevance to the development of micro gas turbines (MGT) in the ~100 kWe power range that use ammonia and ammonia-hydrogen mixes as carbon-free energy carrier:
1) flame-wall interaction;
2) combustion dynamics;
3) fuel injection strategy.
All these processes have significant impact on the stability, efficiency, emissions and, ultimately, overall cycle performance of the gas turbine. Therefore, new fundamental insights gained in the investigation of these three topics will be condensed, as main project result, to provide an updated, state-of-the-art realistic assessment of the gas turbine
We expect ADONIS to be a significant step forward to the mastery of ammonia combustion in MGT. Such technologies could have a major impact on the future renewable energy global industry. As an efficient energy carrier, ammonia allows for safe and efficient long-term storage of large quantities of hydrogen, and long-range maritime transport of renewable energy, equilibrating global energy imbalance. Its usage in MGT could be especially precious for small, isolated or insular communities, that could find in it an energy import or mean of energy storage adapted to their needs and respectful of their sometimes fragile ecosystems.