A state-of-the-art review of pulse combustion: Principles, modeling, applications and R&D issues

X Meng, W de Jong, T Kudra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Combustion of fuels provides more than 90% of the worlds׳ primary energy demand at the costs of negative environmental impacts. In the recent years, substantial research has been carried out to explore clean and efficient combustion technologies to meet the ever-increasing demand for sustainable energy production using both fossil and renewable fuels at stringent environmental standards. In relation to advanced combustion technologies such as moderate or intense low-oxygen dilution (MILD), pulse combustion is one of the most promising techniques to burn diversified fuels ranging from high-grade natural gas and propane to low-grade fuels such as biogas, syngas or biodiesel high combustion efficiencies and minimal pollutant emissions (e.g., SOx, NOx). In spite of growing interest in pulse combustion technology, its state-of-the art is largely missing in the literature. The aim of this paper is to provide a comprehensive yet concise review of pulse combustion regarding the phenomenon and background of such combustion, modeling, experimental findings and industrial applications. First, the basics of pulse combustion are presented which include pulse combustor classification and types, operation principles, and advantages and disadvantages. In view of sustainability, pulse combustion characteristics with different fuel (e.g., biogas) are fully elaborated. Then, pulse combustion models described in topical literature are classified into different types and thoroughly examined. Next, experimental and numerical studies performed by numerous researchers are summarized, and the applications of pulse combustion in different fields, particularly in drying are presented, and its great potential to promote the utilization of renewable fuels is analyzed. Finally, the barriers, challenges, and R&D for pulse combustion are identified and a constructive discussion on these issues is provided. Key publications for the readers seeking broader and in-depth information are also given.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-114
JournalRenewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Bibliographical note



  • Pulse combustion
  • Drying
  • Modeling
  • Sustainability
  • Energy
  • Review


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