Auto-ignition, hydrogen, natural gas, hydrogen enriched natural gas


A successful transition to clean energy hinges on meeting the world's growing energy demand while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Achieving this will require significant growth in electricity generation from clean and carbon-free energy sources. Several energy providers have already begun the transition from traditional carbon-based fuels to cleaner alternatives, such as hydrogen and hydrogen enriched natural gas. However, there are still many technical challenges that must be addressed when applying these fuels in gas turbines. The application of hydrogen or hydrogen/natural gas blends to advanced class gas turbines, which have higher operating pressures and temperatures has raised concerns about the potential for leakages or fuel sequencing operations where flammable mixtures of fuel and air could auto-ignite. Public information on the auto-ignition of hydrogen in air at atmospheric pressure is well documented. Such data shows the auto-ignition temperature of hydrogen is roughly 100 °C lower than that of methane. Studies also show that as pressure increases, methane's auto-ignition temperature decreases. However, there was insufficient information in the published literature to characterize the influence of pressure on auto-ignition for hydrogen fuel applications. This study describes the test methodology used to evaluate conditions where auto-ignition occurs for various fuel-air mixtures operating at pressures between 1-30 atmospheres and equivalence ratios between 0.2-1.6. Testing was completed with hydrogen, natural gas and blends at various equivalence ratios using a heated volume with multiple reactant delivery methods. Testing was performed for natural gas to validate the test and data collection methods cited in prior published literature. Results indicate that at atmospheric pressures, an increase in hydrogen concentration results in a reduced auto-ignition temperature. However, at 30 atmospheres, the auto-ignition temperature increased with higher hydrogen concentrations. iv Variations of auto-ignition delay times were also observed during the testing and are compared to modeling predictions, providing insight into auto-ignition characteristics.

Completion Date




Committee Chair

Vasu Sumathi, Subith


Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering (M.S.A.E.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science








Release Date

December 2023

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)