With a much larger global warming potential (GWP) and much shorter lifespan, the reduction of methane emissions offers an additional opportunity and a relatively quick way of mitigating climate change in the near future. However, the emissions from coal mining in the form of ventilation air methane (VAM), usually in ultra-lean concentration, pose the most significant technical challenge to the mitigation of methane emission. Therefore, a better understanding of ultra-lean methane combustion is essential. With three 5 mm × 50 mm rectangle cross-section slot jets, a novel sandwich-type triple-jet burner is proposed to provide stable combustion of an ultra-lean methane-air mixture with equivalence ratios from 0.3 to 0.88, and 0.22 in extreme conditions. The ultra-lean methane flame in the center of the triple-jet burner is supported by the two lean outer flames at an equivalence ratio Φ = 0.88. The flow field and combustion chemical reactions are predicted by detailed numerical simulation with GRI-Mech 3.0 reaction mechanisms. Two-dimensional numerical results are validated with those obtained by experimental particle image velocimetry (PIV), as well as visual flame height and temperature measurements. An ultra-lean methane-air mixture has to burn with external support. In addition, the ultra-lean flame is non-propagating with a relatively low temperature. The ultra-lean center flame is seen to start from the outer flame and incline perfectly to the post-flame temperature and OH concentration profiles of the outer lean flame. The adjacent stronger flame provides heat and active radicals, such as OH and HO2, from the post-flame region and in the wall proximity of the gap between the adjacent flame and the central ultra-lean jet to initiate and maintain the combustion of the central ultra-lean flame. The outstanding wall-proximity radical of HO2 is found to be the main contributor to the initiation and stabilization of the central ultra-lean flame by providing a low-temperature oxidation of fuel through the following reaction: HO2 + CH3 ↔ OH + CH3O. The major chemical reaction paths contributing to fuel decomposition and oxidation of the supported ultra-lean center flame are also identified and delineated.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology
- Energy (miscellaneous)
- Control and Optimization
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering