Marc Baumgardner, PhD


Micro-reactor and small scale burner analysis of flames with focus on improving chemical kinetic mechanisms for prediction of emissions (CO, NOx, and particulate matter) with applications to either improvement of renewable fuel use in engines or biomass cookstoves.

Application 1 – fuels for use in advanced engines. As a means of improving IC engine efficiency, researchers have devoted much effort to better understanding flame dynamics and the impact of reaction kinetics on IC engines[1] and increasingly more focus has been placed on the use of renewable fuels in these advanced engine concepts[2]. Recently micro and meso-reactor tubes[3] and small scale burners[4] have been used to investigate combustion properties relevant to reference hydrocarbon fuels, but opportunities exist to further investigate biofuels using these devices. For example, we have recently published a novel n-heptane/n-butanol mechanism[5] based primarily on ignition delay measurements but further improvement could be made by micro-reactor study to better examine the flame-reaction zones.

Application 2 – improved cookstoves: More than three billion people around the world rely on biomass as their primary cooking fuel[6,7]. Most burn biomass in traditional, inefficient cooking structures that produce dangerous indoor air environments, resulting in several million deaths per year[8]. Much research has been devoted to exploring the various aspects of improving cookstove design but an enhanced understanding of the effects of design parameters on emission improvements is still required[9]. Recently we conducted an experimental and modeling study to investigate how the parameters of chimney stoves affect combustion efficiency[10]. As part of that study I developed a novel modeling approach that may have implications on better understanding emissions from real flames such as those encountered in open fires. Moreover, I am currently involved in a DOE-funded grant which is attempting to develop a gasifier stove capable of reaching Tier 4 emission levels (something no current cookstove can do). To compliment both of these projects, micro-reactor analysis of pyrolysis biomass gas would help to better elucidate the creation of emissions and would bridge computational modes to real-world stoves. Micro-reactors have only recently been used to examine simple flame regimes[11,12] and using these promising new combustion devices to analyze biomass is likely to be a topic of great research in the future. 

[1] X. Lu, D. Han, Z. Huang, Prog. Energy and Combustion Science 37 (2011) 741-783.
[2] N.P. Komninos and C.D. Rakopoulos, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 16 (2012) 1588-1610.
[3]  M. Hori, et. al., Combustion and Flame 159 (2012) 959-967.
[4] Egolfopoulos, F.N. et. al. Prog. Energy Comb. Sci. 43 (2014) 36-67
[5] M.E. Baumgardner, S.M. Sarathy, A.J. Marchese, Energy&Fuels 27 (2013) 7778-7789.
[6] W.J. Martin, R.I. Glass, J.M. Balbus, F.S. Collins, Science 334 (2011) 180-181.
[7] S. Anenberg, Nature 490 (2012) 343.
[8] N. Bruce et. al., Air Quality and Climate Change 47 (2013) 32.
[9] C. L’Orange, J. Volkens, M. DeFoort, Energy for Sustainable Development 16 (2012) 448-455.
[10] J. Prapas, M.E. Baumgardner, A.J. Marchese, M. DeFoort, Energy for Sustainable Development. 23 (2014) 286-293.
[11] Y. Tsuboi, T. Yokomori, K. Maruta, Proc. Combust. Inst. 32 (2009) 3075-3081.
[12] H. Nakamura, et. al., Combustion and Flame 161 (2014) 582-591.