Chistopher M. Douglas

Project title: Resolvent Analysis of Combustion Instabilities in Hydrogen Jet Flames (ReACH)

Host Institution: École Polytechnique (L’X)

Host Supervisor: Prof. Lutz Lesshafft

Co-host Institution: Technical University of Munich (TUM)

Co-host Supervisor: Prof. Wolfgang Polifke

Summary project: Presently, combustion accounts for more than 80% of the world’s energy conversion, and also contributes the lion’s share of greenhouse gas emissions. There have been major advances in renewable energies, in particular solar and wind. However, these technologies remain fundamentally intermittent and face tremendous challenges in the areas of reliability, energy storage and energy density. The combustion of “green hydrogen,” i.e. hydrogen generated from renewable sources, offers a solution to these problems, with viable applications in power generation, propulsion, and transport. It retains many of combustion’s key advantages such as energy storage, portability, and density, but without any carbon footprint.

Nonetheless, hydrogen is an exceptionally energetic and fast-burning fuel compared to traditional hydrocarbons, and hydrogen flames can react sensitively, powerfully, and in some cases destructively when perturbed. Such properties represent a pressing fundamental issue which is actively limiting progress in real-world carbon-free energy conversion systems. The specific aim of this project is to investigate the dynamics of hydrogen jet flames’ response to disturbances using the framework of resolvent analysis. Such work will directly contribute to a variety of scientific and engineering challenges surrounding hydrogen combustion, with clear connections to broader issues associated with decarbonized energy and climate change.

Chistopher M. Douglas