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

Flameholding Tendencies of Natural Gas and Hydrogen Flames at Gas Turbine Premixer Conditions

[+] Author and Article Information
Elliot Sullivan-Lewis

UCI Combustion Laboratory,
University of California,
Irvine, CA 92697-3550
e-mail: esl@ucicl.uci.edu

Vince McDonell

UCI Combustion Laboratory,
University of California,
Irvine, CA 92697-3550
e-mail: mcdonell@ucicl.uci.edu

Contributed by the Combustion and Fuels Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENGINEERING FOR GAS TURBINES AND POWER. Manuscript received July 9, 2014; final manuscript received July 16, 2014; published online August 26, 2014. Editor: David Wisler.

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power 137(1), 011504 (Aug 26, 2014) (9 pages) Paper No: GTP-14-1348; doi: 10.1115/1.4028166 History: Received July 09, 2014; Revised July 16, 2014

Ground-based gas turbines are responsible for generating a significant amount of electric power as well as providing mechanical power for a variety of applications. This is due to their high efficiency, high power density, high reliability, and ability to operate on a wide range of fuels. Due to increasingly stringent air quality requirements, stationary power gas turbines have moved to lean-premixed operation. Lean-premixed operation maintains low combustion temperatures for a given turbine inlet temperature, resulting in low NOx emissions while minimizing emissions of CO and hydrocarbons. In addition, to increase overall cycle efficiency, engines are being operated at higher pressure ratios and/or higher combustor inlet temperatures. Increasing combustor inlet temperatures and pressures in combination with lean-premixed operation leads to increased reactivity of the fuel/air mixture, leading to increased risk of potentially damaging flashback. Curtailing flashback on engines operated on hydrocarbon fuels requires care in design of the premixer. Curtailing flashback becomes more challenging when fuels with reactive components such as hydrogen are considered. Such fuels are gaining interest because they can be generated from both conventional and renewable sources and can be blended with natural gas as a means for storage of renewably generated hydrogen. The two main approaches for coping with flashback are either to design a combustor that is resistant to flashback, or to design one that will not anchor a flame if a flashback occurs. An experiment was constructed to determine the flameholding tendencies of various fuels on typical features found in premixer passage ways (spokes, steps, etc.) at conditions representative of a gas turbine premixer passage way. In the present work, tests were conducted for natural gas and hydrogen between 3 and 9 atm, between 530 K and 650 K, and free stream velocities from 40 to 100 m/s. Features considered in the present study include a spoke in the center of the channel and a step at the wall. The results are used in conjunction with existing blowoff correlations to evaluate flameholding propensity of these physical features over the range of conditions studied. The results illustrate that correlations that collapse data obtained at atmospheric pressure do not capture trends observed for spoke and wall step features at elevated pressure conditions. Also, a notable fuel compositional effect is observed.

Copyright © 2015 by ASME
Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.


Lieuwen, T., McDonell, V., Santavicca, D., and Sattelmayer, T., 2008, “Burner Development and Operability Associated With Steady Flowing Syngas Fired Combustors,” Combust. Sci. Technol., 180(6), pp. 1169–1192. [CrossRef]
Chaudhuri, S., Kosta, S., Renfro, M. W., and Cetegen, B. M., 2010, “Blowoff Dynamics of Bluff Body Stabilized Turbulent Premixed Flames,” Combust. Flame, 157(4), pp. 790–802. [CrossRef]
Shanbhogue, S. J., Husain, S., and Lieuwen, T., 2010, “Lean Blowoff of Bluff Body Stabilized Flames: Scaling and Dynamics,” Prog. Energy Combust. Sci., 35(1), pp. 98–120. [CrossRef]
Noble, D. R., Quingquo, Z., Akbar, S., Tootle, J., Meyers, A., and Lieuwen, T., 2006, “Syngas Mixture Composition Effects Upon Flashback and Blowoff,” ASME Paper No. GT2006-90470. [CrossRef]
Subramanya, M., Davu, D. S., and Choudhuri, A., 2005, “Experimental Investigation on the Flame Extinction Limit of Fuel Blends,” AIAA Paper No. 2005-374. [CrossRef]
Rizk, N. K., and Lefebvre, A. H., 1986, “Relationship Between Flame Stability and Drag of Bluff-Body Flameholders,” J. Propul. Power, 2(4), pp. 361–365. [CrossRef]
Leonard, P. A., and Mellor, A. M., 1983, “Correlation of Lean Blowoff of Gas Turbine Combustors Using Alternative Fuels,” J. Energy, 7(6), pp. 729–732. [CrossRef]
Ballal, D. R., and Lefebvre, A. H., 1979, “Weak Extinction Limits of Turbulent Flowing Mixtures,” ASME J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power, 101(3), pp. 343–348. [CrossRef]
Wright, F. H., 1959, “Bluff-Body Stabilization: Blockage Effects,” Combust. Flame, 3, pp. 319–337. [CrossRef]
Zukoski, E. E., and Marble, F. E., 1955, “The Role of Wake Transition in the Process of Flame Stabilization on Bluff Bodies,” AGARD Combustion Research and Reviews, Butterworth Scientific Publishers, London, pp. 167–180.
DeZubay, E. A., 1950, “Characteristics of Disk-Controlled Flames,” Aero Dig., 54(6), pp. 102–104.
Huelmantel, L. W., Ziemer, R. W., and Cambel, A. B., 1957, “Stabilization of Premixed Propane–Air Flames in Recessed Ducts,” Jet Propul., 27(1), pp. 31–34. [CrossRef]
Katta, V. R., and Roquemore, W. M., 1998, “Numerical Studies on Trapped-Vortex Concepts for Stable Combustion,” ASME J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power, 120(1), pp. 60–68. [CrossRef]
Choudhury, P. R., and Cambel, A. B., 1961, “Flame Stabilization by Wall Recesses,” Symp. (Int.) Combust., 8(1), pp. 963–970. [CrossRef]
Potter, A., and Wong, E., 1958, “Effect of Pressure and Duct Geometry on Bluff-Body Flame Stabilization,” National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, Washington, DC, NACA Technical Note No. 4381.
Leong, M. Y., Smugeresky, C. S., McDonell, V. G., and Samuelsen, G. S., 2001, “Rapid Liquid Fuel Mixing for Lean Burning Combustors: Low Power Performance,” ASME J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power, 123(3), pp. 574–579. [CrossRef]
Nakamura, S., McDonell, V. G., and Samuelsen, G. S., 2008, “The Effect of Liquid–Fuel Preparation on Gas Turbine Emissions,” ASME J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power, 130(2), p. 02156. [CrossRef]
Beerer, D. J., and McDonell, V. G., 2008, “Autoignition of Hydrogen and Air in a Continuous Flow Reactor With Application to Premixed Combustion,” ASME J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power, 130(5), p. 051507. [CrossRef]
Beerer, D. J., McDonell, V. G., Therkelsen, P., and Cheng, R. K., 2013, “Flashback and Turbulent Flame Speed Measurements in Hydrogen/Methane Reactions Stabilized by a Low-Swirl Injector at Elevated Pressures and Temperatures,” ASME J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power, 136(3), p. 031502. [CrossRef]
Beerer, D., McDonell, V., and Samuelsen, S., 2011, “An Experimental Ignition Delay Study of Alkane Mixtures in Turbulent Flows at Elevated Pressures and Intermediate Temperatures,” ASME J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power, 133(1), p. 011502. [CrossRef]
Burcat, A., Scheller, K., and Lifshitx, A., 1971, “Shock-Tube Investigation of Comparative Ignition Delay Times for C1–C5 Alkanes,” Combust. Flame, 16(1), pp. 29–33. [CrossRef]


Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

UC Irvine Combustion Lab flameholding apparatus

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

UC Irvine high pressure combustion facility

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Flameholder ignition system

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Flameholding test event sequence

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Reverse step and cylindrical flameholders

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Comparison of natural gas chemical timescales

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

Comparison of hydrogen chemical timescales

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

Blowoff equivalence ratio

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 9

Blowoff adiabatic flame temperature

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 10

Reynolds number versus Damköhler number for reverse step anchored natural gas flames

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 11

Reynolds number versus Damköhler number for cylinder anchored natural gas flames

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 12

Reynolds number versus Damköhler number for reverse step anchored hydrogen flames

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 13

Reynolds number versus Damköhler number for cylinder anchored hydrogen flames

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 14

Velocity versus Damköhler number for natural gas and hydrogen data

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 15

Comparison of Damköhler–velocity data from the current study and that of Potter and Wong

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 16

Comparison of Damköhler–Reynolds data from the current study and that of Potter and Wong

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 17

Comparison of current study natural gas results to existing correlations

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 18

Comparison of current study hydrogen results to existing correlations




Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging and repositioning the boxes below.

Related Journal Articles
Related eBook Content
Topic Collections

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In