In the recent times, the interest towards ammonia combustion has been significantly increasing for two major reasons: a smarter use of the energy resources to reduce energy waste, and the need to control pollutant emissions. Indeed, the high energy density and ease of transportation (compared to hydrogen, for example) make ammonia an attractive platform molecule for the energy storage from intermittent resources, such that energy can be successively released on demand through combustion. Nevertheless, a fundamental understanding of ammonia chemistry has now been obtained yet, in particular for what concerns low-temperature and diluted conditions.
In order to fulfil such a knowledge gap, experimental measurements were performed at CNRS Nancy in ideal conditions, in order to cover a wide range of operating conditions. In parallel, the most critical reaction pathways were accurately evaluated via an ab initio methodology, and a comprehensive kinetic model was created and included in the CRECK framework. This allowed to understand and interpret the peculiar features of ammonia oxidation at low and intermediate temperatures and in diluted conditions, and to obtain a reference kinetic mechanism which can be applied to predict ammonia combustion properties in the heavier CFD applications.
Assistant Professor, Chemical Plants, Politecnico di Milano