A Computational Study of Ammonia Combustion

  • Ruslan Khamedov

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The utilization of ammonia as a fuel is a pragmatic approach to pave the way towards a low-carbon economy. Ammonia compromises almost 18 % of hydrogen by mass and accepted as one of the hydrogen combustion enablers with existing infrastructure for transportation and storage. From an environmental and sustainability standpoint, ammonia combustion is an attractive energy source with zero carbon dioxide emissions. However, from a practical point of view, the direct combustion of ammonia is not feasible due to the low reactive nature of ammonia. Due to the low combustion intensity, and the higher nitrogen oxide emission, ammonia was not fully investigated and there is still a lack of fundamental knowledge of ammonia combustion. In this thesis, the computational study of ammonia premixed flame characteristics under various hydrogen addition ratios and moderate or intense low oxygen dilution (MILD) conditions were investigated. Particularly, the heat release characteristics and dominant reaction pathways were analyzed. The analysis revealed that the peak of heat release for ammonia flame occurs near burned gas, which raises a question regarding the physics of this. Further analysis identified the dominant reaction pathways and the intermediate species (NH2 and OH), which are mainly produced in the downstream and back diffused to the leading edge and produce some heat in the low-temperature zone. To overcome low reactivity and poor combustion performance of pure ammonia mixture, the onboard ammonia decomposition to hydrogen and nitrogen followed by blending ammonia with hydrogen is a feasible approach to improve ammonia combustion intensity. With increasing hydrogen amount in the mixture, the enhancement of heat release occurs due to both transport and chemical effect of hydrogen. Another approach to mitigate the low reactive nature of ammonia may be eliminated by applying the promising combustion concept known as MILD combustion. The heat release characteristics and flame marker of ammonia turbulent premixed MILD combustion were investigated. The high fidelity numerical simulation was performed to answer fundamental questions of ammonia turbulent premixed combustion characteristics.
Date of AwardMay 2020
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Physical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorHong G. Im (Supervisor)


  • ammonia combustion
  • carbon-free fuel
  • Direct numerical simulation
  • heat release rate
  • numerical simulation
  • turbulent premixed combustion

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