Unveiling the injection dynamics of cryogenic energy carriers for zero-emission high-efficiency systems

Description

The focus of the proposed work is to develop new knowledge and state-of-the-art simulation tools that will help the efficient integration of cryogenic energy carriers into modern energy systems. This will accelerate the switch to low emission, cheap mobility and power generation that the UK urgently needs to safeguard its energy sustainability.

The EPSRC-funded project aims to create new fundamental knowledge and advanced numerical tools regarding the atomisation, heating and evaporation characteristics of liquefied gases, in order to significantly advance the technology required to efficiently control cryogenic injection. Liquid gases such as air, nitrogen or natural gas can serve as cost-effective energy vectors within power production units as well as transport "fuels" with zero emissions.

For example, energy coming from renewables can be used in order to "cool" air or nitrogen, up to the point that they become liquids. Follow up injection of these liquids to a higher temperature environment causes rapid re-gasification and a 700-fold expansion in volume, which can drive a turbine or piston engine even without combustion. Most importantly, because of the low boiling point of cryogenic liquids, low-grade or ambient heat can be used as a heat source, which otherwise is wasted. A better understanding and control of the injection dynamics of the cryogenic fluids could boost the efficiency of hybrid combustion systems to 60% (Ricardo's Cryopowder split-cycle engine), and achieve zero emissions when used for work generation through isothermal expansion without the need of combustion (Dearman Engine and Libertine Free Piston Engine).

Recently, there has been an increased interest towards cryogenic technologies, however this has been focused mostly on the liquefaction processes (such as the £6m EPSRC grant to the Birmingham Centre for Cryogenic Energy Storage). Within the suggested project the attention is shifted towords the injection process of the cryogenics in real life industrial applications. Dr Vogiatzaki with the support from two leading UK companies in the field of innovative energy system solutions (Ricardo Ltd and Libertine Ltd) aspires to provide new knowledge and robust modelling tools to unlock the dynamics of cryogenic energy carrier's atomisation and heat transfer dynamics.

Layman's description

Imagine a new engine that can increase efficiency by 10 per cent in comparison to conventional systems while producing zero emissions. This might sound like wishful thinking but actually it is not if novel technologies based on cryogenic fluids, ie “cool” (liquefied) energy carriers, are successfully developed.

The primary focus of this project is to explore the use of these cryogenic fluids in future energy systems. These new technologies will enable the use of these fluids instead of polluting hydrocarbons, such as diesel, without compromising efficiency.

This technology will also support the renewable energy market as solar or wind energy can be used to ‘cool’ air or nitrogen to the point where they become liquids. Most importantly, because of the low boiling point of cryogens, low-grade or ambient heat can be used as the energy source, so there is no wasted energy.
StatusActive
Effective start/end date29/06/1828/06/21

Funding

  • EPSRC

Keywords

  • cryogenics
  • fluid dynamics
  • evaporation