The use of hydrogen augmented fuel is being investigated by various researchers as a method to extend the lean operating limit, and potentially reduce thermal NOx formation in natural gas fired lean premixed (LPM) combustion systems. The resulting increase in flame speed during hydrogen augmentation, however, increases the propensity for flashback in LPM systems. Real-time in-situ monitoring of flashback is important for the development of control strategies for use of hydrogen augmented fuel in state-of-the-art combustion systems, and for the development of advanced hydrogen combustion systems. The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) and Woodward are developing a combustion control and diagnostics sensor (CCADS), which has already been demonstrated as a useful sensor for in-situ monitoring of natural gas combustion, including detection of important combustion events such as flashback and lean blowoff. Since CCADS is a flame ionization sensor technique, the low ion concentration produced in pure hydrogen combustion raises concerns of whether CCADS can be used to monitor flashback in hydrogen augmented combustion. This paper discusses CCADS tests conducted at 0.2-0.6 MPa (2–6 atm), demonstrating flashback detection with fuel compositions up to 80% hydrogen (by volume) mixed with natural gas. NETL’s Simulation Validation (SimVal) combustor offers full optical access to pressurized combustion during these tests. The CCADS data and high-speed video show the reaction zone moves upstream into the nozzle as the hydrogen fuel concentration increases, as is expected with the increased flame speed of the mixture. The CCADS data and video also demonstrate the opportunity for using CCADS to provide the necessary in-situ monitor to control flashback and lean blowoff in hydrogen augmented combustion applications.

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