Domestic research projects


Research projects (co)funded by the Slovenian Research Agency.


  • Member of University of Ljubljana: UL Faculty of Mechanical Engineering
  • Project code: Z2-1862
  • Project title: Zero-footprint combustion for green power generation
  • Period: 01.07.2019 - 30.06.2021
  • Range on year: 1 FTE
  • Head: doc. dr. Tine Seljak
  • Research activity: Engineering sciences and technologies 
  • Research Organisation: Link
  • Researchers: Link
  • Citations for bibliographic records: Link

The project addresses one of the key challenges of the modern society, this is the generation of energy with minimum possible environmental footprint to achieve full sustainability. Although there are numerous promising renewable technologies available that make this possible, nearly all relevant primary energy consumption analyses suggest that in the midterm, combustion-generated energy will still play a major role in heat generation and will only slowly be replaced in generation of electricity.

Recent advances in combustion science significantly reduced the margin where optimization of existent combustion concepts is possible, so significant efforts are required for even minor improvements in the current state of the art. This is, unless a completely new approach is developed, which would drastically reduce the global warming potential of combustion through reduction of harmful emissions, increased efficiency, CO2 neutrality and  ideally also compliance with circular economy guidelines. 

To solve this very demanding challenge the project proposes a completely new, innovative, feasible and high impact combustion concept for green energy generation – “Zero-footprint combustion”. The concept combines the idea of flameless combustion with CO2 neutral fuels and is capable to support a paradigm shift in the area of sustainable energy. 

By combining the unmatched performance of flameless combustion in terms of its single digit NOx emissions with highly oxygenated fuels that originate from cascade use of renewable resources, renown by their potential of PM emission reduction, a truly clean combustion is possible. If these synergies are additionally enriched with the use of highly efficient continuous internal combustion systems such as gas turbines, the potential of such approach is far beyond any currently available technology.  This offers a possibility to minimize all of the negative aspects of classic combustion and at the same time maintain and even supersede all of its advantages such as high efficiency, scalability, reliability and flexibility in terms load following.

Newly proposed combustion concept offers highly relevant and attractive scientific challenge with a great probability for success. To set up a first operational prototype of zero-footprint combustion, boundaries of basic combustion science will have to be pushed. This opens the way for substantial innovative contributions in the area of flameless combustion, gas turbine combustion and combustion of innovative fuels, what is forming the basis for opening a new scientific field with high impact since the use of liquid fuels for flameless combustion nor implementation of flameless combustion to gas turbines is achieved at the current date.

With the world’s first developed prototype, the project will identify, characterize and describe the fundamental phenomena of atomization, mixture formation, flow dynamics, kinetics of oxygenated species and stability limits occurring during zero-footprint combustion. Along with this, several conventional liquid fuels will for the first time be investigated under flameless regime to form a basis for a whole pallet of new applications for flameless combustion with profound social relevance.
By forming a fundamental basis for better understanding of listed phenomena and by proposing and confirming a completely new zero-footprint combustion concept the project outcomes are highly relevant for the development of science and exhibit a possibility to spawn several new research ideas in the area of sustainable energy.