The Department of Energy Engineering has a rich history in combustion research and heat engine development for practical applications. Over the past hundred years, several departments were established and merged at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics. The contribution of, e.g., Donát Bánki, György Jendrassik, and János Miklós Beér are world famous. Due to the conflicts after the Second World War, several talented students and researchers had to leave the country, hence, our university.
Our laboratory, named after György Jendrassik, always hosted the state-of-the-art heat engines and related research concepts, including gas turbines, steam turbines, furnaces, boilers, and internal combustion engines. The fundamental combustion research was focused on combustion chamber noise and pollutant emission measurements. Besides research, our department always had a strong relationship with the energy sector which helped us to focus on real engineering challenges.
The Department of Energy Engineering participated in a EU5 research program (ENK5-CT-2000-00311, 2002-2005) in which a Capstone C-30 micro gas turbine was modified to run on wood gas with as low LHV as 6.3 MJ/m3. Beside the gas-fueled micro gas turbine, a liquid-fueled one was also acquired that was originally designed for diesel oil and kerosene. Without funding, a research was continued with the modification of the liquid fuel system to utilize aqueous alcohol which is the by-product of the alcohol industry, and they are obliged to dispose of this waste. Upon the success of this project, investigation of a tougher fuel, crude vegetable oil was started which became the PhD topic of Attila Kun-Balog under the supervision of Krisztián Sztankó. To save the life of the micro gas turbine from improper combustion, one of its burners was subjected to exhaustive tests. During this period, Viktor Józsa joined this research thread while he was a BSc student. The project continued with the development of a new combustion test rig which was burdened by several difficulties and the lack of funding. However, the group mastered the combustion of crude rapeseed oil without high emissions or notable contaminations on the equipment. Then Viktor finished his MSc and started a PhD under the same supervisor, Krisztián Sztankó.
From the lab to international recognition
The complexity of liquid fuel combustion is briefly presented in the image on the left. It was shortly realized that the research requires huge support, therefore several student projects were announced in the fall semester of 2013 to the spring semester of 2015. As a result Viktor has supervised six and seven papers submitted to the Scientific Conference of Students in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Among the students, four of them started a PhD since 2017. They are András Urbán, Dávid Csemány, Gyöngyvér Hidegh, and Gergely Novotni. Dániel Füzesi plans to start his PhD studies in February 2020. Their topics in order: atomization, evaporation, chemiluminescence measurement and test facility design & construction, combustion acoustics, and CFD of combustion. By the invaluable support of all the students greatly helped us to visit international conferences and publish papers in the most prestigious journals in the field.
Establishing the Combustion Research Group
The formation of the Combustion Research Group was never stated explicitly. However, its birth can be considered as the start of the OTKA-FK 124704 grant, funded by the National Research, Development and Innovation Fund of Hungary which is 01 September 2017. Viktor Józsa took the lead, Attila Kun-Balog and Krisztián Sztankó are joined as researchers. In the past almost two years, the test bench passed the first successful hot test. However, it happened one year later than it was expected. Its partial reason was that the required work was underestimated and on the other hand, the suppliers delayed a lot. To meet the goals, several fundamental investigations were performed ahead based on earlier, unprocessed data of the old test rig.
What does the future hold?
The increasing effect of climate change forces humanity to leave the coal in the mines and the crude oil in the fields. However, there are no viable alternatives available at the moment that requires only a good decision. The number of wind turbines and solar cells are rapidly growing, and their costs are falling. Nevertheless, our power consumption still rapidly increasing, making the situation even more complicated. Therefore, it is always a top priority to understand the fundamentals and discuss it to make our research flexible, ready to use even in a completely different field.
If you have questions or feel motivated to do some research together, do not hesitate to contact us.