Gas Fuel Interchangeability Criteria Phase 2: Validations and Refinement

The research team validated the numerical model with experiment data from different gases with low energy content for different combustion units.

Advanced Power and Energy Program (APEP) - University of California, Irvine


Irvine, CA

Recipient Location


Senate District


Assembly District



Amount Spent



Project Status

Project Result

The research team developed and tested a numerical model with data from gases with low energy content using different combustion units (e.g., gas turbines, industrial furnaces). The simulations were performed for nine burner types and experiments conducted for three. The design of any future study on blending natural gas with other fuel should consider what has been accomplished already. It may be possible to limit costly testing using the numerical model to identify when testing is needed. The numerical model could help to evaluatehowdifferent fuel compositions impactindustrial combustion units if California decides to blend other renewable fuels into the natural gas system, for example, hydrogen and biomethane.

The Issue

The 2012 Bioenergy Action Plan indicates that biomass derived fuels (i.e., biogas) can help California achieve waste reduction, increase adoption of renewable energy, and climate change goals. Examples of these gases include those produced by waste in landfills, and anaerobic digestion processes such as those at water treatment plants and dairies. However, the air quality and safety implications of using such gases in combustion devices are not well understood.

Project Innovation

The purpose of this project was to verify and test the simulation methodology developed under Contract 500-08-034 to estimate the impact of fuel composition on the stability and pollutant emissions of combustion systems operated on biogas resources. The project identified appropriate commercial burner configurations and fuels to evaluate the effect of biogas fuel composition on burner operations and emissions. The modeling methodologies developed under the previous research project were applied to these burner configurations to provide detailed information regarding how fuel composition impacts pollutant emissions and combustion system stability. The methodology was first applied to burners that have been tested in the laboratory or field on a variety of fuels to allow further validation. Additional simulations were conducted to evaluate biofuels and a broader range of burners.

Project Benefits

This project developed tools that can be used to evaluate the impact of fuel switching for various combustion devices from natural gas to alternative fuels such as biomethane. The tools provide a way to test the potential environmental benefit and safety criteria for fuel switching. 

Environmental & Public Health

Environmental Sustainability

The project provides tools to assess air pollutants emission from combustion of various alternative fuels.

Increase Safety


The project provides tools to evaluated combustion stability for alternative fuels in various combustion processes.

Key Project Members

Project Member

Vince McDonell

Contact the Team