Last updated on April 24, 2014 at 21:24 EDT
Low-swirl Burner for Turbines and Furnaces Image 2
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Low-swirl Burner for Turbines and Furnaces (Image 2)

July 3, 2012
Close-up of a still from a simulation produced during a study on lean, hydrogen-air mixtures showing a cutaway profile of the concentration of hydroxyl molecules (that are produced and consumed at the flame). Red areas mark regions of intense combustion; fine gray-blue vortex structures at the base of the flame mark turbulence. Combustion produces over 80 percent of the nation's energy, but also a large percent of air pollutants. Robert Cheng and colleagues at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) developed a low-swirl burner for turbines and furnaces. Requiring no pilot light or moving parts, it is a nozzle fitted to the end of a fuel pipe. Inside the nozzle, airfoil-like vanes make the flow of fuel swirl and expand radially as it exits the pipe, creating a local stagnation region where a bowl-shaped flame can sit indefinitely. If enough swirl is added to hold the flame steady, while not trapping any hot combustion products in a recirculation above the flame, it can burn lean with ultralow emissions. This simulation was created by LBNL's Center for Computational Sciences and Engineering and the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center. Credit: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory