The research of the Combustion Technology Division of Engler-Bunte-Institut considers all aspects of modern fuel conversion technologies. Our classical field of research is the conversion of hydrocarbon-based fuels, covering both fundamental research on e.g. soot formation, combustion instabilities, combustion noise and applied combustion technology mainly for gas turbines (stationary and aero engines) and power plant applications. Moreover, climate change and increasing sustainability requirements are key drivers towards novel research fields, considering the following trends:
- A dominant research topic for the next few decades will be the sustainable supply of energy. Renewable energies, alternative fuels, energy storage and energy efficiency, as well as precise controllability and intelligent networks are essential ingredients of a sustainable energy future.
- Since alternative and regenerative energy sources will also be integrated into future manufacturing processes, the specific effects of their application in manufacturing (e.g. their fluctuating availability vs. continuous demand) need to be investigated and possible issues must be resolved.
- For a guaranteed, continuous energy supply, a major focus will be on systems engineering. This means that interdisciplinary collaborative research, especially with the material sciences, will gain in importance.
To address these challenges to our society our mid to long term research aims are:
- Novel fuels: Due to increased sustainability requirements, future gaseous and liquid fuels will tend to contain more hydrogen carriers (hydrogen and/or ammonia), synthetic and biogenic components and weak gases, while novel solid fuels derived from biomass or metals will be considered. In this context the detailed characterization and analysis of the combustion properties of such future fuels will be pursued.
- Fundamental processes: The underlying physical and chemical phenomena of the conversion of novel gaseous fuels e.g. ignition, flame formation and combustion stability will be investigated. For novel liquid fuels, spray formation, fuel-air mixing and subsequent combustion will be studied, while for solid fuels heterogeneous devolatilization, char conversion/oxide formation and the related homogeneous gas phase processes will be investigated.
- System interactions: The interaction of these novel combustion processes with material properties needs to be studied. Moreover, their interaction with other processes such as thermoelectric, electrochemical (electrolysis, fuel cells), solar thermal and solar chemical processes will be future research topics.
To achieve these research aims we use two complementary sets of research tools:
- Advanced experimental diagnostics: We employ both state-of-the art and emerging experimental techniques to explore all relevant physical phenomena at high spatial and temporal resolution. This field of research is mainly pursued by the Chair for Combustion Technology .
- Detailed simulations of reacting multiphase flows: Making use of modern high-performance computing resources, we develop advanced models for the accurate prediction of both fundamental physical aspects and process interactions in applied systems. This line of research is mainly addressed by the Chair for Simulation of Reacting Thermo-Fluid Systems.