The need to shift to carbon-free energy generation is impelling, but renewable energy sources such as wind and solar are intermittent. Significant storage and additional energy sources are needed to guarantee continuous supply of heat and power. To limit global warming, these sources need to be carbon-free/neutral. Hydrogen represents a promising alternative in future energy generation. It can be produced using renewable sources by electrolysis from excess energy or by gasification, stored, and then converted in highly efficient gas turbines delivering electrical energy and heat in peak demand periods. But it does not come without challenges. Hydrogen has unique combustion properties that differentiate it from traditional natural gases. They dramatically affect flame dynamics and combustion stability, particularly at the high-pressure conditions at which gas turbines operate. HYPOTHESis supports the paradigm shift to a carbon-free society by developing greater fundamental and applied understanding on combustion dynamics and control of pure and highly-enriched hydrogen flames and enabling future gas turbines to be operated at up to 100% hydrogen content. We will perform an extensive experimental campaign using our medium-pressure combustor to enable single stage hydrogen combustion at high pressure. Using both physics and machine learning based methods, novel models will be developed for predicting and controlling the dynamical behaviour of hydrogen flames. This will lead to (1) the understanding of the dynamics of hydrogen combustion, with a focus on the scaling of its properties at high pressure, for which little is yet known; (2) the establishment of new design strategies, thermoacoustic prediction methods and control tools that are of paramount importance for practical applications enabling industry to use hydrogen as a safe and clean future fuel. Ultimately, the proposed research will help in significantly accelerating the shift towards a carbon-free society.
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