TTgoesH2: IGF lead technology — Integration of hydrogen as a climate-neutral energy carrier in industrial and commercial thermoprocessing technology

Pro­gram­me coope­ra­ti­on bet­ween the 7th Ener­gy Rese­arch Pro­gram­me of the Fede­ral Minis­try for Eco­no­mic Affairs and Cli­ma­te Action (BMWK) and the Indus­tri­al Coll­ec­ti­ve Rese­arch (Indus­tri­el­le Gemein­schafts­for­schung IGF)
1 Janu­ary 2021 to 31 Decem­ber 2023

Project description

The over­all pro­ject “TTgoesH2” is divi­ded into the fol­lo­wing subprojects:

  1. Deve­lo­p­ment of ultra-low-emis­si­on com­bus­ti­on sys­tems for ther­mopro­ces­sing plants using hydro­gen (ULoB­urn)
  2. Indus­tri­al com­bus­ti­on con­trol sys­tems for high vola­ti­le hydro­gen con­tents based on fla­me signals (Gre­Co­Con)
  3. Inno­va­ti­ve mate­ri­al con­cepts for use in hydro­gen and its com­bus­ti­on pro­ducts: Refrac­to­ries, steels, cera­mics for ther­mopro­ces­sing equip­ment (Res­In­Ma)

The IOB is direct­ly invol­ved in the ULoB­urn and Res­In­Ma subprojects.

Subproject 1 – ULoBurn

As part of the ener­gy tran­si­ti­on in Ger­ma­ny, efforts are being made to intro­du­ce more hydro­gen gene­ra­ted from rene­wa­ble sources into the gas trans­port net­works. With an increased hydro­gen con­tent, the gas pro­per­ties chan­ge. This poses par­ti­cu­lar chal­lenges for the ther­mopro­ces­sing indus­try, which pri­ma­ri­ly uses gas­eous fuels. Con­cepts are nee­ded for com­bus­ti­on sys­tems that gua­ran­tee low pol­lutant emis­si­ons under vary­ing fuel com­po­si­ti­ons, but also when using pure hydro­gen. Par­ti­cu­lar­ly with regard to NOx-emis­si­ons, the limits are expec­ted to be dra­sti­cal­ly lowe­red in the next few years. Num­e­rous phy­si­cal and che­mi­cal pro­per­ties of hydro­gen dif­fer signi­fi­cant­ly from tho­se of natu­ral gas. This fact has serious impli­ca­ti­ons for the design and deve­lo­p­ment of bur­ners, ther­mopro­ces­sing equip­ment and their peri­pherals. In the field of the use of alter­na­ti­ve fuels such as hydro­gen, SMEs in the indus­try still have litt­le expe­ri­ence, as such plants have only exis­ted in indi­vi­du­al cases to date. Howe­ver, this know­ledge is essen­ti­al for the deve­lo­p­ment of ultra-low-emis­si­on com­bus­ti­on sys­tems for tomorrow’s ther­mopro­ces­sing plants. The pro­ject aims to deve­lop and vali­da­te con­cepts and recom­men­da­ti­ons for the safe and eco­no­mic­al ope­ra­ti­on of ther­mopro­ces­sing plants under the influence of hydro­gen in the fuel.

Subproject 2 – GreCoCon

In many indus­tri­al high-tem­pe­ra­tu­re pro­ces­ses, the gene­ra­ti­on of pro­cess heat by tech­ni­cal com­bus­ti­on pro­ces­ses is still indis­pensable. In the cour­se of con­stant­ly tigh­tening emis­si­on limits, start­ing from lar­ge-sca­le plants, com­bus­ti­on con­trol sys­tems are now also incre­asing­ly being instal­led on smal­ler fur­naces, which regu­la­te the ratio of com­bus­ti­on air and fuel gas on the basis of the exhaust gas com­po­si­ti­on after the pro­cess, whe­re the cont­act of fur­nace atmo­sphe­re and pro­duct has alre­a­dy taken place. At lar­ge indus­tri­al fur­naces with sen­si­ti­ve pro­ces­ses (e.g., glass, cera­mics), pos­si­ble varia­ti­ons in fuel gas com­po­si­ti­on are detec­ted pri­or to the pro­cess based on a cos­t­ly ana­ly­sis of the fuel. This pro­blem will beco­me even more acu­te if signi­fi­cant­ly hig­her fluc­tua­tions in fuel com­po­si­ti­on occur in the future. Fluc­tua­tions in the com­po­si­ti­on of natu­ral gas can alre­a­dy occur today, which can lead to dif­fi­cul­ties in the com­bus­ti­on pro­cess in some plants becau­se the com­bus­ti­on air ratio can­not be read­jus­ted. With an addi­tio­nal feed-in of high vola­ti­le frac­tions of hydro­gen, the com­bus­ti­on pro­per­ties chan­ge signi­fi­cant­ly and make it indis­pensable to use con­sider­a­b­ly more con­trol tech­no­lo­gy in com­bus­ti­on pro­ces­ses in the future. Here, the focus must be on cost-effec­ti­ve and relia­ble sys­tems that are available for the lar­ge num­ber of plant types, espe­ci­al­ly for SMEs. Curr­ent­ly, the­re are no methods on the mar­ket that rea­li­ze a simp­le, low-cost com­bus­ti­on con­trol sys­tem for reac­ting to gas qua­li­ty fluc­tua­tions upstream of or clo­se to the com­bus­ti­on pro­cess, espe­ci­al­ly against the back­ground of a future hydro­gen feed into the natu­ral gas network.

The rese­arch objec­ti­ve is the­r­e­fo­re to deve­lop low-cost, fast con­trol sys­tems for the fuel-air ratio based on opti­cal signals from the fla­me, such as UV radia­ti­on inten­si­ty and fla­me lift-off.

Subproject 3 – ResInMa

In the near future, the use of hydro­gen for pro­cess heat gene­ra­ti­on will affect almost all manu­fac­tu­ring com­pa­nies. Time­ly pre­pa­ra­ti­on of exis­ting plants and deve­lo­p­ment of opti­mi­zed new plants is the­r­e­fo­re eco­no­mic­al­ly sen­si­ble and neces­sa­ry.
The effects of hydro­gen and water vapour in the fur­nace atmo­sphe­re and in fur­nace com­pon­ents have alre­a­dy been stu­di­ed for some mate­ri­als used in fur­nace con­s­truc­tion. At high tem­pe­ra­tures, sili­ca­te-based mate­ri­als decom­po­se under hydro­gen and water vapour atmo­sphe­res. The pro­cess is depen­dent on the tem­pe­ra­tu­re and the par­ti­al pres­su­res of hydro­gen and water vapour, respec­tively. The dama­ge mecha­nisms are lar­ge­ly known and inves­ti­ga­ted. In exis­ting plants and plant con­cepts, the­se dama­ge mecha­nisms were con­side­red accor­ding to the cur­rent fuel gas com­po­si­ti­ons, or the effects could be lar­ge­ly igno­red becau­se they were mar­gi­nal. By using pure hydro­gen as fuel or fuel admix­tu­re, the­se con­cepts are no lon­ger suf­fi­ci­ent to gua­ran­tee a high plant life­time, sin­ce the par­ti­al pres­su­res of hydro­gen and water vapour increase. The pro­blem is exa­cer­ba­ted by enri­ching the com­bus­ti­on air with oxygen.

Com­pa­nies ope­ra­ting in the indus­try are faced with seve­ral unknowns in both cases:

    • Effects of hydro­gen and oxy­gen admix­tu­re on bur­ner ope­ra­ti­on (fla­me length, fla­me tem­pe­ra­tu­re, fla­me speed)
    • Effects on fur­nace atmo­sphe­re (flue gas tem­pe­ra­tu­re, com­po­si­ti­on and velo­ci­ty, dew point tem­pe­ra­tu­re) and refrac­to­ry lining

    The know­ledge of the­se unknowns is neces­sa­ry to esti­ma­te effects on mate­ri­als and deve­lop appro­pria­te coun­ter­me­a­su­res. This is com­pli­ca­ted by the fact that the pro­cess con­di­ti­ons are also sub­ject to fluc­tua­tions due to expec­ted varia­ti­ons in the fuel gas properties.

    Final­ly, a com­plex test will be car­ri­ed out con­side­ring all the fin­dings from the sub­pro­jects of the “TTgoesH2” lead tech­no­lo­gy pro­ject. The fin­dings will be sum­ma­ri­zed in recom­men­da­ti­ons for action.

    Project goals

    Sub­pro­ject 1 – ULoBurn:

    • Inves­ti­ga­ti­on of the resul­ting pol­lutant emis­si­ons of a pre­com­pe­ti­ti­ve recup­er­a­tor bur­ner (with exter­nal air pre­hea­ting) as a func­tion of the air sta­ging, the inter­nal exhaust gas recir­cu­la­ti­on as well as during fla­me­l­ess com­bus­ti­on when using hydro­gen as fuel
    • Sys­te­ma­tic inves­ti­ga­ti­on of the effi­ci­en­cy of recup­er­a­ti­ve bur­ners when using hydro­gen as a fuel, as well as the deve­lo­p­ment of new con­cepts for incre­asing efficiency
    • Test­ing of indus­tri­al recup­er­a­ti­ve bur­ners (with inter­nal air pre­hea­ting) for dif­fe­rent sce­na­ri­os of hydro­gen admix­tu­re to natu­ral gas
    • Deri­va­ti­on of recom­men­da­ti­ons for the retro­fit­ting of exis­ting plants and the con­s­truc­tion of new plants with regard to safe­ty tech­no­lo­gy, pol­lutant emis­si­ons and pro­cess win­dows or sta­bi­li­ty limits

      Sub­pro­ject 2 – GreCoCon:

      • Fun­da­men­tal cha­rac­te­riza­ti­on of the signal beha­vi­or of indus­tri­al sen­sors at high hydro­gen con­tents in the fuel gas
      • Deve­lo­p­ment of con­trol con­cepts based on dif­fe­rent mea­su­re­ment signals, e.g. purely opti­cal, che­mi­lumi­ne­s­cence-based / com­bi­na­ti­on of mea­su­re­ment of chan­ges in ioniza­ti­on cur­rent as well as fla­me intrin­sic glow
      • Tech­ni­cal imple­men­ta­ti­on of a com­bus­ti­on con­trol sys­tem based on the deve­lo­ped con­trol concepts
      • Test­ing of the con­trol sys­tem on indus­tri­al bur­ners of dif­fe­rent power clas­ses with regard to ther­mopro­cess and boi­ler applications
      • Test­ing of the con­trol sys­tem on H2-opti­mi­zed oxy-fuel bur­ners of sub­pro­ject 1 (ULoB­urn)

        Sub­pro­ject 3 – ResInMa:

        • Expe­ri­men­tal and nume­ri­cal inves­ti­ga­ti­ons to deter­mi­ne the boun­da­ry conditions
        • Inves­ti­ga­ti­on of the influence of hydro­gen on the strength of steels under cyclic ther­mal and ther­mo­me­cha­ni­cal loading
        • Esti­ma­ti­on of the influence of dif­fe­rent dama­ge mecha­nisms and reac­tions on refrac­to­ries, cera­mics and coatings
        • Deter­mi­na­ti­on of the long-term beha­vi­or of sel­ec­ted mate­ri­als under the deter­mi­ned boun­da­ry con­di­ti­ons under atmo­sphe­ric-cyclic loa­ding and con­ti­nuous loading
        • Deter­mi­na­ti­on and quan­ti­fi­ca­ti­on of the dama­ge cau­sed by hydro­gen and water vapor to the mate­ri­al samples
        • Deve­lo­p­ment of a mate­ri­al con­cept for the effi­ci­ent use of hydro­gen in ther­mopro­ces­sing plants

          Project participants


          Lukas San­kow­ski, M.Sc.

          +49 241 80–26079


          The­se pro­jects are fun­ded by the Fede­ral Minis­try of Eco­no­mic Affairs and Cli­ma­te Action (BMWK) on the basis of a decis­i­on by the Ger­man Bundestag.

          IGF pro­ject no.: 31 LBG (ULoB­urn) and 33 LBG (Res­In­Ma)