Design and experimental investigation of an oxy-fuel combustion system for magnetohydrodynamic power extraction

Manuel Johannes Hernandez, University of Texas at El Paso


A general consensus in the scientific and research community is the need to restrict carbon emissions in energy systems. Therefore, extensive research efforts are underway to develop the next generation of energy systems. In the field of power generation, researchers are actively investigating novel methods to produce electricity in a cleaner, efficient form. Recently, Oxy-Combustion for magnetohydrodynamic power extraction has generated significant interest, since the idea was proposed as a method for clean power generation in coal and natural gas power plants. Oxy-combustion technologies have been proposed to provide high enthalpy, electrically conductive flows for direct conversion of electricity. Direct power extraction via magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) can occur as a consequence of the motion of “seeded” combustion products in the presence of magnetic fields. However, oxy-combustion technologies for MHD power extraction has not been demonstrated in the available literature. Furthermore, there are still fundamental unexplored questions remaining, associated with this technology, for MHD power extraction. In this present study, previous magnetohydrodynamic combustion technologies and technical issues in this field were assessed to develop a new combustion system for electrically conductive flows. The research aims were to fully understand the current-state-of-the-art of open-cycle magnetohydrodynamic technologies and present new future directions and concepts. The design criteria, methodology, and technical specifications of an advanced cooled oxy-combustion technology are presented in this dissertation. The design was based on a combined analytical, empirical, and numerical approach. Analytical one-dimensional (1D) design tools initiated design construction. Design variants were analyzed and vetted against performance criteria through the application of computational fluid dynamics modeling. CFD-generated flow fields permitted insightful visualization of the design concepts. Therefore, numerical computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models were developed to design and optimize the combustion flow fields of oxy-fuel combustion systems. These models were analyzed to understand the boundary layer and heat transfer profile and qualitative behaviors in the product designs. Advanced materials for high-temperature applications were assessed for their possible implementation in the product design. A trade-off analysis indicated that this scheme may incur elevated product cost and a difficulty in manufacturing. Active cooling strategies were considered for product development. A rocket-based cooling scheme, regenerative cooling, was implemented to provide active cooling. In the hot gas path (HGP) cooling design, CFD models were developed to predict the variation of heat removal along the oxy-combustion wall for various operating conditions. The oxy-combustion technology was manufactured using electrical discharge machining (EDM). The product development lifecycle in this dissertation encompassed preliminary design, detailed design, and demonstration and validation of the product. Towards the final stages of the product development, Fuel-rich oxy combustion experiments were carried out to demonstrate and observe flame characteristics from the designed technology and to predict heat transfer loads. The demonstration findings of oxy-combustion flames are presented in this work to contribute the developing field of MHD direct power extraction, which lacks oxy-combustion design data and qualitative combustion datasets. The findings show that this oxy-combustion concept is capable of providing a high-enthalpy MHD environment for seeding, in order to render the flow to be conductive. Based on previous findings, temperatures in the range of 2800-3000 K may enable magnetohydrodynamic power extraction. The combustor hardware design was developed to contribute to engineered systems rated less than 100 kW for demonstration. The product hardware was designed to produce gas velocities of 2000 m/s gas and temperatures within the following range of 2800-3000 K. In the injection system, the momentum flux ratio (MFR) was estimated to be 16. The heat loss fraction in this oxy-combustion system, based on CFD and analytical calculations, at optimal operating conditions, was estimated to be less than 10 percent. Furthermore, the heat transfer design removed approximately 7 MW/m2. The experimental performance of oxy-combustion systems demonstrates promise for advanced power generation applications.

Subject Area

Design|Aerospace engineering|Mechanical engineering

Recommended Citation

Hernandez, Manuel Johannes, "Design and experimental investigation of an oxy-fuel combustion system for magnetohydrodynamic power extraction" (2016). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10252802.