Bret Windom, associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, is leading CSU’s research team in developing kinetic hydrogen combustion models.
This work is part of a larger four-year, $4.5 million US Department of Energy project led by Solar Turbines to develop a retrofittable dry, low-emissions gas turbine combustion system that can run on 100% hydrogen as well as blends of hydrogen and natural gas.
“We’re currently in phase one of this project, where we’re developing combustion models and supporting computer-aided engineering of the combustor design,” Windom said.
In collaboration with Solar Turbines, Windom’s team will also be studying the turbine’s potential to run on varying fuel blends of natural gas and hydrogen and what, if any, modifications need to be made to the equipment to account for the enhanced reactivity of hydrogen and its unique combustion behaviours.
This research could play a key role in advancing hydrogen-powered turbine technology, work that could have scalable impacts on decarbonisation in the industrial and power generation sectors.
“We have a track record of taking solutions from the laboratory and getting them into the field at scale, and the addition of the turbine in our lab facility is going to allow us to do that now,” Windom said.
For CSU student Miguel Valles Castro, the addition of the turbine will bring more than just new equipment into the lab; it will broaden opportunities for students to develop and apply their research skills in a real-world setting.
Valles Castro is a mechanical engineering doctoral student, graduate research assistant and Cogen Renewable Energy Fellow working with Windom on internal combustion engine modelling.
“The Energy Institute at CSU has many years of experience in internal combustion engines and other renewable energy devices to reduce emissions,” Valles Castro said. “The arrival of the turbine is exciting because it expands our areas of expertise.”