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UNM part of $6.2 million Department of Energy initiative to promote clean hydrogen technology

June 21, 2021 - by Kim Delker

photo of Daniel Banuti
Daniel Banuti

A researcher from The University of New Mexico is part of a team that is collectively receiving $6.2 million in Department of Energy funding for research and development projects aimed at advancing hydrogen as a high-performing, efficient gas for turbine-based electricity generation.

Eight universities are receiving awards for projects supported by the Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy’s University Turbines Systems Research program, which will study fundamental scientific challenges and applied engineering issues associated with advancing the performance and efficiency of combustion turbines fueled with pure hydrogen, hydrogen and natural gas mixtures, and other carbon-free hydrogen containing fuels.

The universities leading the grant are Georgia Tech, San Diego State University, Purdue University, Ohio State University, the University of California, Irvine, the University of Central Florida, and the University of Alabama.

Daniel Banuti, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, is leading UNM’s efforts as part of the University of Central Florida team. That team received $800,000 for “Fundamental Experimental and Numerical Combustion Study of H2 Containing Fuels for Gas Turbines.”

Banuti will be studying how the unique properties of hydrogen (compared to more conventional fuels, such as methane and larger hydrocarbons) affect the combustion process, and to what extent we need to revise common assumptions we use in the simulation of combustion processes.

“These differences mainly stem from the very small size of the hydrogen molecule, which impacts thermodynamic properties and diffusion,” he said.

Increasing the reliability, efficiency, and performance of hydrogen power is part of an effort by the Biden administration to reduce carbon emissions and achieve 100% clean electricity by 2035.

The project begins August 1.