Export file:


  • RIS(for EndNote,Reference Manager,ProCite)
  • BibTex
  • Text


  • Citation Only
  • Citation and Abstract

Hybrid energy converter based on swirling combustion chambers: the hydrocarbon feeding analysis

School of Aerospace Engineering, University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Via Salaria 851, Rome 00138, Italy

Topical Section: Energy and Materials Science

This manuscript reports the latest investigations about a miniaturized hybrid energy power source, compatible with thermal/electrical conversion, by a thermo-photovoltaic cell, and potentially useful for civil and space applications. The converter is a thermally-conductive emitting parallelepiped element and the basic idea is to heat up its emitting surfaces by means of combustion, occurred in swirling chambers, integrated inside the device, and/or by the sun, which may work simultaneously or alternatively to the combustion. The current upgrades consist in examining whether the device might fulfill specific design constraints, adopting hydrocarbons-feeding. Previous papers, published by the author, demonstrate the hydrogen-feeding effectiveness. The project’s constraints are: 1) emitting surface dimensions fixed to 30 × 30 mm, 2) surface peak temperature T > 1000 K and the relative ∆T < 100 K (during the combustion mode), 3) the highest possible delivered power to the ambient, and 4) thermal efficiency greater than 20% when works with solar energy. To this end, a 5 connected swirling chambers configuration (3 mm of diameter), with 500 W of injected chemical power, stoichiometric conditions and detailed chemistry, has been adopted. Reactive numerical simulations show that the stiff methane chemical structure obliges to increase the operating pressure, up to 10 atm, and to add hydrogen, to the methane fuel injection, in order to obtain stable combustion and efficient energy conversion.
  Article Metrics

Keywords meso-combustor; hybrid energy-converter; methane-hydrogen/air combustion; whirl flow; fluid-structure interaction; computational fluid dynamics; detailed chemistry

Citation: Angelo Minotti. Hybrid energy converter based on swirling combustion chambers: the hydrocarbon feeding analysis. AIMS Energy, 2017, 5(3): 506-516. doi: 10.3934/energy.2017.3.506


  • 1.  Minotti A, Teofilatto P (2015) Swirling combustors energy converter: H2/Air simulations of separated chambers. Energies 8: 9930-9945.    
  • 2.  Minotti A (2016) Energy converter with inside two, three, and five connected H2/Air swirling combustor chambers: solar and combustion mode investigations. Energies 9: 461-475.    
  • 3. Harnessing Hybrids, Pan European Networks, 2013. Available from: http://www.paneuropeannet workspublications.com/st6/#/228/.
  • 4. Community Research and Development Information Service, 2013. Available from: http://cordis.europa.eu/result/rcn/153340fr.html.
  • 5. GRI-Mech Version 1.2 released 11/16/94. Available from: http://www.me.berkley.edu/gri_mech/.
  • 6. Minotti A, Ollier E. Hybrid energy converter based on swirling combustion and having a transversal heat path, FR 15 50448 (patent filed, 20/01/15).
  • 7.  Sui R, Prasianakis N, Mantzaras I, et al. (2016) An experimental and numerical investigation of the combustion and heat transfer characteristics of hydrogen-fueled catalytic microreactors. Chem Eng Sci 141: 214-230.    
  • 8.  Minotti A, Sciubba E (2010) LES of a meso combustion chamber with a detailed chemistry model: comparison between the flamelet and EDM models. Energies 3: 1943-1959.    
  • 9.  Minotti A, Cozzi F, Capelli F (2013) CH4/Air mesocombustor at 3 bar: numerical simulation and experiments. Appl Mech Mater 431: 137-150.    
  • 10. Cuthill EH, McKee J (1969) Reducing bandwidth of sparse symmetric matrices. In Proceedings of the Association for Computing Machinery 24th National Conference, New York, NY, USA, 157–172.
  • 11.  Shih TH, Liou WW, Shabbir A, et al. (1995) A new k-ε eddy-viscosity model for high reynolds number turbulent flows. Comput Fluids 24: 227-238.    
  • 12. GRIMech 3.0 Thermodynamic Database. Available online: http://www.me.berkley.edu/gri_ mech/ version30/files30/thermo30.dat (accessed on 6 December 2015).
  • 13. Anderson JD (1989) Hypersonic and High Temperature Gas Dynamics; McGraw Hill: New York, NY, USA, 12: 468–481.
  • 14.  Mathur C, Saxena SC (1966) Viscosity of polar gas mixture: Wilke's method. Flow Turbul Combust 15: 404-410.
  • 15. Magnussen BF (1981) On the structure of turbulence and a generalized eddy dissipation concept for chemical reaction in turbulent flow. In Proceedings of the 19th American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Aerospace Science Meeting, St. Louis, MO, USA, 12–15.
  • 16.  Gran IR, Magnussen BF (1996) A numerical study of a bluff-body stabilized diffusion flame. Part 2. Influence of combustion modelling and finite-rate chemistry. Combust Sci Technol 119: 191-217.
  • 17.  Issa RI (1986) Solution of implicitly discretized fluid flow equations by operator splitting. J Comput Phys 62: 40-65.    
  • 18. Ferzieger JH, Peric M (1996) Computational methods for fluid dynamics. Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg, Germany.
  • 19.  Van Leer B (1979) Toward the ultimate conservative difference scheme V. A second order sequel to godunov's method. J Comput Phys 32: 101-136.
  • 20. CRESCO: Centro computazionale di RicErca sui Sistemi Complessi. Available online: http://www.cresco.enea.it/english (accessed on 6 December 2015).
  • 21. Ponti G, Palombi F, Abate D, et al. (2014) The role of medium size facilities in the HPC ecosystem: the case of the new CRESCO4 cluster integrated in the ENEAGRID infrastructure. In Proceedings of the 2014 International Conference on High Performance Computing and Simulation (HPCS 2014), Bologna, Italy, 1030–1033.
  • 22. Silvestroni P (1992) Fondamenti di Chimica ED. IX, Masson-Veschi, 52–55.
  • 23. Fogler S (2006).Elements of Chemical Reaction Engineering(4th ED.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education. ISBN0-13-047394-4.


Reader Comments

your name: *   your email: *  

Copyright Info: © 2017, Angelo Minotti, licensee AIMS Press. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licese (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)

Download full text in PDF

Export Citation

Copyright © AIMS Press All Rights Reserved