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LES of future hydrogen assisted power gas turbines for effective carbon capture integration

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Required Education : Master ou Ecole d'ingénieur
Start date : 1 October 2022
Mission duration : 36 months
Deadline for applications : 30 June 2022
Salary : 2500 euros brut mensuel


The achievement of the EU targets established for 2030 for a more sustainable, cost-effective and environmentally-neutral energy production will not only require increasing the penetration of renewable energy sources (RES) into the actual mix, but necessarily point to reduce the carbon footprint of the conventional technologies based on the use of natural gas which is required to complement and compensate intermittent availability of RES. The PhD project proposed here is directly linked to this second aspect and is supported by the H2020 TRANSITION project which will start in September 2022.


Description of the H2020 TRANSITION project:

The consortium of TRANSITION gathers six European entities including both research institutes and companies: Università degli studi di Firenze (UNIFI, IT), CERFACS (Fr), SINTEF Energy and Ocean (No), DEUTSCHES ZENTRUM FUR LUFT – UND RAUMFAHRT (DLR, GER), Nuovo Pignone Firenze (Backer Hughes, IT) and TotalEnergies (Fr).

The main objective of TRANSITION is to pave the way for carbon-neutral energy generation from natural gas-fired power plants using gas turbines (GT), by enabling a highly efficient Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) process in the post-combustion phase. This will be achieved by the development of advanced hydrogen assisted combustion technologies capable to permit stable engine operations with high Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) rates leading to high CO2 content in the exhaust gas sent to the CCS unit. Two distinct scenarios will be considered: 

  1. Validate retrofit hydrogen-based burners targeting 50% EGR rate
  2. Prove more aggressive technologies adopting hydrogen/oxygen flame piloting to reach 60% EGR rate.

During the project, experimental tests (from atmospheric up to full-engine pressure) will support the technology assessment and the validation of high-fidelity numerical CFD models. CERFACS is work-package leader coordinating the high-fidelity numerical activities. Overall CCS-GT system integration will be also carried out with technical and economic analysis. TRANSITION outcomes will enable the decarbonisation of GT-based power plants, which are among the most efficient energy thermal generators adopted in several energy-intensive applications. The multi-fuel capabilities and the retrofit opportunity of the developed systems will allow targeting hard-to-decarbonize sectors enabling an efficient transition to a net greenhouse gas neutral EU economy.

Example of LES of a turbulent hydrogen/air flame with AVBP code

Picture of the DLR HBK-S test rig adopted for high-pressure validation tests that will be studied in the project


Description of the PhD work:

The main objective of this PhD is both to develop a numerical model to perform Large Eddy Simulation of turbulent hydrogen fueled methane/air flames enriched with EGR, and to analyze the effect of hydrogen fueling and EGR enrichment on turbulent flame structure, flame stabilisation mechanisms and pollutant emissions. The steps of this work are the followings:

  1. Literature review on EGR enrichment effects and multi-fuels turbulent flame modeling
  2. Training on ARCANE
  3. Derivation of a reduced chemical kinetic scheme from existing detailed chemistries for describing the bi-fuel flame structure and pollutant emissions using the reduction code ARCANE co-developed by Cornell University and CERFACS.
  4. Training on AVBP
  5. Coupling of the semi-detailed chemistry with the existing Thickened Flame turbulent combustion model. Specific attention will be paid to the modeling of non-premixed flame structure and multi-fuels.
  6. Implementation of the numerical model in the LES compressible solver AVBP developed by CERFACS and validation in canonical flame configurations.
  7. Large Eddy Simulation of two academic dedicated test-rigs operated at UNIFI and DLR within the TRANSITION project. Validation of the numerical approach will be carried out by comparison with detailed measurements, and a joint experimental-numerical analysis will finally help to understand the effect of EGR enrichment in existing gas turbines.

During the PhD, multiple interactions between the project partners and visiting periods will take place.



E. Riber (riber@cerfacs.fr), D. Laera (laera@cerfacs.fr) & B. Cuenot (cuenot@cerfacs.fr)