A novel burner and burner method has been invented which burns an ultra lean premixed fuel-air mixture with a stable flame. The inventive burning method results in efficient burning and much lower emissions of pollutants such as oxides of nitrogen than previous burners and burning methods. The inventive method imparts weak swirl (swirl numbers of between about 0.01 to 3.0) on a fuel-air flow stream. The swirl, too small to cause recirculation, causes an annulus region immediately inside the perimeter of the fuel-air flow to rotate in a plane normal to the axial flow. The rotation in turn causes the diameter of the fuel-air flow to increase with concomitant decrease in axial flow velocity. The flame stabilizes where the fuel-air mixture velocity equals the rate of burning resulting in a stable, turbulent flame.
This invention was made with U.S. Government support under Contract No. DE-AC03-76SF00098 between the U.S. Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory. The U.S. Government may have certain rights in this invention.