Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Industrial & Cogeneration

Development and Testing of a Low NOx Hydrogen Combustion System for Heavy-Duty Gas Turbines

[+] Author and Article Information
Willy S. Ziminsky

GE Energy,
Greenville, SC 29615

Ertan Yilmaz

GE Global Research,
Niskayuna, NY 12309

1Present address: Siemens Energy, 101 Siemens Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28273.

Contributed by International Gas Turbine Institute (IGTI) of ASME for publication in the Journal of Engineering for Gas Turbines and Power. Manuscript received July 5, 2012; final manuscript received August 30, 2012; published online January 8, 2013. Editor: Dilip R. Ballal.

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power 135(2), 022001 (Jan 08, 2013) (8 pages) Paper No: GTP-12-1258; doi: 10.1115/1.4007733 History: Received July 05, 2012; Revised August 30, 2012

Interest in hydrogen as a primary fuel stream in heavy-duty gas turbine engines has increased as precombustion carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) has become a viable option for integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plants. The U.S. Department of Energy has funded the Advanced IGCC/Hydrogen Gas Turbine Program since 2005 with an aggressive plant-level NOx target of 2 ppm at 15% O2 for an advanced gas turbine cycle. Approaching this NOx level with highly reactive hydrogen fuel at the conditions required is a formidable challenge that requires novel combustion technology. This study begins by measuring entitlement NOx emissions from perfectly premixed combustion of the high-hydrogen fuels of interest. A new premixing fuel injector for high-hydrogen fuels was designed to balance reliable flashback-free operation, reasonable pressure drop, and low emissions. The concept relies on small-scale jet-in-crossflow mixing that is a departure from traditional swirl-based premixing concepts. Single nozzle rig experiments were conducted at pressures of 10 atm and 17 atm, with air preheat temperatures of about 650 K. With nitrogen-diluted hydrogen fuel, characteristic of carbon-free syngas, stable operation without flashback was conducted up to flame temperatures of approximately 1850 K. In addition to the effects of pressure, the impacts of nitrogen dilution levels and amounts of minor constituents in the fuel—carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and methane—on flame holding in the premixer are presented. The new fuel injector concept has been incorporated into a full-scale, multinozzle combustor can with an energy conversion rate of more than 10 MW at F-class conditions. The full-can testing was conducted at full gas turbine conditions and various fuel compositions of hydrogen, natural gas, and nitrogen. This combustion system has accumulated over 100 h of fired testing at full load with hydrogen comprising over 90% of the reactants by volume. NOx emissions (ppm) have been measured in the single digits with hydrogen-nitrogen fuel at target gas turbine pressure and temperatures. Results of the testing show that small-scale fuel-air mixing can deliver a reliable, low-NOx solution to hydrogen combustion in advanced gas turbines.

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Fig. 1

Ranges of relative reactivity and Wobbe number for fuels of interest in program. The primary fuel studied in this paper is carbon-free syngas with N2 dilution.

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Fig. 2

Model cross section and photograph of small multitube mixer for high-hydrogen fuel

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Fig. 3

Larger-scale multitube mixer used for single nozzle rig flame operability testing

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Fig. 4

Rig used for entitlement (perfectly-premixed) emissions testing

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Fig. 5

Model cross section and photograph of small-scale single nozzle rig with ceramic-lined combustor

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Fig. 6

Model cross section of larger-scale single nozzle rig with optical access

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Fig. 7

Perfectly premixed NOx measurements for high-hydrogen fuels taken at P = 17 atm and τ = 33 ms

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Fig. 8

Effect of pressure and residence time on entitlement NOx emissions with 60% H2-40% N2 fuel

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Fig. 9

Fuel nozzle pressure drop and flame temperatures at successful operating points (open symbols) and flashback condition (closed symbols) for two swirl premixers and the MT mixer in the small single nozzle rig. The fuel was 60% H2 and 40% N2 by volume, and the pressure was 17 atm.

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Fig. 10

Measured NOx emissions as a function of flame temperature in small single nozzle rig with small multitube mixer at P = 10 and 17 atm. The fuel was 60%H2 and 40% N2 fuel by volume.

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Fig. 11

Images of MT mixer flame holding testing in the large single nozzle rig with H2-N2 fuel containing 2–4% CH4 by volume

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Fig. 12

MT mixer flame holding (upstream torch) test points in larger single nozzle rig with small amounts of methane in a base fuel of 60% H2-40% N2. More methane is required to pass torch test at P = 17 atm versus 10 atm.

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Fig. 13

Adding moderate amounts of CO to the fuel is seen to have no significant effect on MT mixer flame holding at P = 10 atm when small amounts of methane are also present in the H2-N2 fuel

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Fig. 14

Adding moderate amounts of CO2 to the H2-N2 fuel allows a small decrease in the amount of CH4 required to prevent flame holding in the MT mixer at P = 10 atm

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Fig. 15

(a) Installation of the combustor head end with MT mixer nozzles in the full-can rig and (b) a screen capture from the in-stand camera of operation on H2-N2 fuel doped with small amount of methane

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Fig. 16

NOx emissions versus combustor exit temperature with H2-N2 fuel in the full-can rig. Measurements are given for pure air at the combustor inlet (square symbols) and also for a blend of 80% air and 20% N2 by volume (circle symbols).




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