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Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Combustion, Fuels, and Emissions

Application of Dielectric Barrier Discharge to Improve the Flashback Limit of a Lean Premixed Dump Combustor

[+] Author and Article Information
Philippe Versailles

Department of Mechanical Engineering, École Polytechnique de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada, philippe.versailles@polymtl.ca

Wajid Ali Chishty

Institute for Aerospace Research,  National Research Council Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, wajid.chishty@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca

Huu Duc Vo

Department of Mechanical Engineering,  École Polytechnique de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada, huu-duc.vo@polymtl.ca

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power 134(3), 031501 (Dec 29, 2011) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4004237 History: Received April 28, 2011; Revised May 04, 2011; Published December 29, 2011; Online December 29, 2011

In recent years, lean-premixed (LP) combustors have been widely studied due to their potential to reduce NOx emissions in comparison to diffusion type combustors. However, the fact that the fuels and oxidizers are mixed upstream of the combustion zone makes LP type of combustors a candidate for upstream flame propagation (i.e., flashback) in the premixer that is typically not designed to sustain high temperatures. Moreover, there has been a recent demand for fuel-flexible gas turbines that can operate on hydrogen-enriched fuels like Syngas. Combustors originally designed for slower kinetics fuels like natural gas can potentially encounter flashback if operated with faster burning fuels like those containing hydrogen as a constituent. There exists a clear need in fuel-flexible lean-premixed combustors to control flashback that will not only prevent costly component damage but will also enhance the operability margin of engines. A successful attempt has been made to control flashback in an atmospheric LP combustor, burning natural gas-air mixtures, via the application of dielectric barrier discharge (DBD). A low-power DBD actuator was designed, fabricated and integrated into a premixer made out of quartz. The actuator was tuned to produce a low magnitude ionic wind with an intention to modify the velocity profile in the premixer. Flashback conditions were created by decreasing the air flow rate while keeping the fuel flow rate constant. Within this experimental setup, flashback happened in the core flow along the axis of the cylindrical premixer. Results show that the utilization of the DBD delays the occurrence of flashback to higher equivalence ratios. Improvements as high as about 5% of the flashback limit have been obtained without compromising the blowout limit. It is anticipated that this novel application of DBD will lead to future demonstrations of the concept under realistic gas turbine operating conditions.

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References

Figures

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Figure 1

Plasma actuator configuration for ionic jet induction

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Figure 2

Schematic of tubular flow into a sudden expansion (dump plane) (top) with DBD actuation and (bottom) without DBD actuation

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Figure 3

Combustor stability diagram showing the stable operation region and the limits of flashback and blowout

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Figure 4

Cross section of the flow conditioning section and combustor (not to scale)

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Figure 5

Dielectric barrier discharge integration in the premixer (schematic not to scale)

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Figure 6

Voltage and current signals for the dielectric barrier discharge actuator

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Figure 7

Flame characteristics without DBD actuation at a fuel flow rate of 0.102 g/s and varying equivalence ratios

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Figure 8

Flame characteristics with DBD actuation at a fuel flow rate of 0.102 g/s and varying equivalence ratios

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Figure 9

Mean and RMS velocity profiles with and without DBD. Operating conditions are corresponding to stable flame flow rates.

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Figure 10

Mean velocity profiles with and without DBD. Operating conditions corresponding to flame flashback at a fuel flow rate of 0.102 g/s.

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Figure 11

Combustor stability diagram, with and without DBD actuation. Flame speeds are also shown at a few selected data points.

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