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NGCM-22: Advanced simulation tools for prediction of flash-back in hydrogen-rich gas turbine combustion

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  • Full or part time
    Dr R D Kahanda Koralage
    Dr E.S. Richardson
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

This project will involve high-fidelity numerical simulation of flash-back in hydrogen-rich flows, and develop analytical tools based on combustion theory and statistical methods in order to understand and predict the risk of flash-back in gas turbine systems.

Applicants should have a first-class degree in a relevant discipline of engineering, physics or mathematics, experience in programming, strong interest to work on state-of-the art simulation and to apply this to real-world problems. Furthermore, skills supporting communication across discipline boundaries are desired.

Hydrogen-rich fuels present opportunities to reduce the carbon intensity of energy supply, but they also present significant technical challenges. Hydrogen-rich fuels are produced from processing of bio-mass and other low-carbon energy sources, and they are expected to make an increasingly important contribution both to power generation and transport applications. However, hydrogen is significantly more reactive and diffusive than conventional hydrocarbon fuels; these properties facilitate stabilisation of very dilute low-emission combustion conditions, but they also increase risks of explosions caused by ‘flash-back’. Established designs and design rules are not applicable to the design of hydrogen-rich combustors, and more advanced computational modelling is required in order to accelerate the development of gas turbines optimised for hydrogen-rich fuels.

The objective of this project is to use next-generation computational modelling to establish design rules and simulation methods for assessing the risks of flash-back in hydrogen-rich fuels. The methodology involves analysis of full-resolution calculations (Direct Numerical Simulation) of flame propagation in turbulent channel flows across a range of flow conditions and fuel compositions. The turbulent combustion simulations are computationally intensive and employ and further develop highly efficient simulation software that can exploit the latest supercomputers. These simulations result in large data sets that are rich in detailed information that is not available from current laboratory measurements. Efficient analytical tools need to be developed based on combustion theory and statistical methods in order to identify the mechanisms by which flash-back is occurring in hydrogen-rich combustion systems; to recognise flow features that can be exploited in order to preclude the possibility of flash-back; and to develop engineering models that can robustly predict the risk of flash-back.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr. Ranga Dinesh Kahanda Koralage, Energy Technology research group (Email: [email protected], Tel: +44 (0) 2380 592872), or Dr Edward Richardson, Aerodynamics and Flight Mechanics research group (Email: [email protected], Tel: +44 (0) 2380 594897).

This project is run through participation in the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Next Generation Computational Modelling ( For details of our 4 Year PhD programme, please see

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