Next generation gas turbines

ERC Synergy Grant 2023 for HYROPE – Hydrogen under pressure


HYROPE – Hydrogen under pressure, the project in which Professor Andreas Dreizler of the Institute of Reactive Flows and Diagnostics in the Department of Mechanical Engineering is involved, has been awarded more than twelve million euros in funding as part of the ERC Synergy Grant. The aim of the project is to develop gas turbines that do not emit the greenhouse gas CO2.

Gas turbines are used mainly in aviation and power generation. Due to their high power density and load flexibility, they can be used not only as baseload power plants, but also to compensate for the unavoidable intermittency of wind and solar power.

Project HYROPE – Hydrogen under pressure

Participating scientists: Andreas Dreizler (TUDa), James R. Dawson (Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU, Lead), Nicolas Noiray (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, ETHZ) and Laurent Sell (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, CNRS)

Funding: a total of 12.7 million euros, of which TU Darmstadt 2.5 million euros

Project term: 6 years

The researchers in the HYROPE project are working on the scientific basis for the development of next-generation gas turbines. A key feature of this new gas turbine technology is that they are powered not by natural gas, but by hydrogen or ammonia from renewable sources not emitting any CO2 , which is known to be a major contributor to global warming. However, there is a lack of understanding of the combustion physics of these fuels required to realize this new concept, especially at the high pressures prevailing in gas turbine combustors. The scientists involved in HYROPE are investigating the most important physico-chemical mechanisms that need to be understood for the stable and low-emission combustion of hydrogen and ammonia in new-generation gas turbine combustors.

Project partners are the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim; ETH Zurich; the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Toulouse, and TU Darmstadt. At TU Darmstadt, Professor Dreizler and his team are investigating how the diffusion and reaction properties of hydrogen or hydrogen-ammonia mixtures affect the internal structure of the reaction zone of combustion processes under turbulent flow conditions. These studies also include the effects of (unavoidable) wall heat loss. The auto-ignition mechanisms under turbulent flow conditions are also being investigated. Flame propagation and auto-ignition are phenomena that both play a key role in HYROPE's innovative concept for future gas turbine combustors.

As well as HYROPE, the TU project CultCryo – The Cultures of the Cryosphere. Infrastructures, Politics and Futures of Artificial Cooling is also included in the Synergy Grants funding. This is the first time that TU has been successful in this ERC funding line.

I heartly congratulate Alexander Friedrich and Andreas Dreizler on being awarded two ERC Synergy Grants! The two projects exemplify integral characteristics and strengths of research at our university: Scientists address urgent challenges and work on innovative solutions, taking interdisciplinary perspectives and collaborating with colleagues worldwide. HYROPE and CultCryo also illustrate the fruitful diversity of perspectives at TUDa. Whether they work on developing CO2-free gas turbines or analyzing the global system of artificial cooling, both focus on creative contributions for a more sustainable future.

Tanja Brühl, president of TU Darmstadt

Mainly experimental investigations

The Darmstadt investigations are mainly experimental in nature. Professor Dreizler and his team apply their expertise to the use of laser light for the non-intrusive measurement (that is, without disturbing the process) of flow properties, reaction zones topologies and thermochemical states in-situ, i.e. directly in the process, with very high resolutions. These measurements are made on specially designed test rigs that simulate important characteristics of gas turbine combustion in the laboratory. The unique experimental data obtained this way is used to understand the underlying mechanisms of flame stabilisation and suppression of pollutant emissions. From this understanding, Dreizler and his project partners derive mathematical models that are required for the numerical simulation of gas turbine combustion. The data is also used to validate the predictions of the numerical simulations. One particular focus of the HYROPE project is on high combustion pressures, which are only considered in very few laboratories.

About the person

Professor Dr. habil. Andreas Dreizler has been head of the Institute of Reactive Flows and Diagnostics in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at TU Darmstadt since 2008. In 2014, he received the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize of the German Research Foundation (DFG). He is the spokesperson of DFG-funded SFB/Transregio 150 and co-spokesperson of the cluster project Clean Circle, which is funded by the state of Hesse. He is also a member of the Academy of Sciences and Literature in Mainz; a member of acatech, the German Academy of Science and Engineering, and a Fellow of the International Combustion Institute.

The scientific work by Professor Dreizler and his team contributes to a better understanding of CO2-free combustion processes. With their high power densities, sustainable combustion technologies will play an important role in the efficient, low-emission and reliable use of chemical energy carriers derived from renewable sources. The group's international reputation is based on the development and use of advanced laser measurement methods in the study of fundamental combustion phenomena. For this work, Dreizler's team is developing test rigs that are used as benchmarks for the validation of mathematical models in numerical simulation tools by researchers and companies all over the world.

ERC Synergy Grants

The European Research Council's (ERC) Synergy Grants are awarded to teams of two to four internationally renowned researchers. The projects funded by the grants are expected to lead to discoveries at the interfaces between established disciplines and to significant progress at the frontiers of knowledge. The development of new methods and techniques, as well as unusual approaches are conceivable. The decisive factor for the funding is that the projects should only be possible with the cooperation of the nominated researchers.

Funding is available for up to six years with a maximum budget of ten million euros. It is possible to receive additional funding of four million euros.