Research Papers

Impact of Fuel Composition on Gas Turbine Engine Performance

[+] Author and Article Information
Dan Burnes

Solar Turbines Incorporated,
2200 Pacific Highway,
San Diego, CA 92101
e-mail: Burnes_Daniel_W@solarturbines.com

Alejandro Camou

Solar Turbines Incorporated,
2200 Pacific Highway,
San Diego, CA 92101
e-mail: Camou_Alejandro@solarturbines.com

Manuscript received June 25, 2019; final manuscript received July 9, 2019; published online July 31, 2019. Editor: Jerzy T. Sawicki.

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power 141(10), 101006 (Jul 31, 2019) (10 pages) Paper No: GTP-19-1321; doi: 10.1115/1.4044238 History: Received June 25, 2019; Revised July 09, 2019

An industrial gas turbine can run on a wide variety of fuels to produce power. Depending on the fuel composition and resulting properties, specifically the hydrogen–carbon ratio, the available output power, operability, and emissions of the engine can vary significantly. This study is an examination of how different fuels can affect the output characteristics of Solar Turbines Incorporated industrial engines and highlights the benefits of using fuels with higher hydrogen–carbon ratios including higher power, higher efficiency, and lower carbon emissions. This study also highlights critical combustion operability issues that need to be considered such as auto-ignition, flashback, blowout, and combustion instabilities that become more prominent when varying the hydrogen–carbon ratio significantly. Our intent is to provide a clear and concise reference to edify the reader examining attributes of fuels with different properties and how natural gas is superior to other fossil fuels with lower hydrogen carbon ratios in terms of carbon emissions, power, and efficiency.

Copyright © 2019 by ASME
Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.


Wettstein, H. E. , 2018, “ Exergy Loss Considerations in Education for a Turbofan Power Cycle,” ASME Paper No. GT2018-75048.
Fais, A. , 2016, “ Materials Engineer and Ph.D. in Metallurgical Engineering, Quora Response to “How Is It Possible for a Metal to Burn?”,” Answered Feb 24, 2016.
Gan, Y. , and Qiao, L. , 2010, “ Combustion Characteristics of Fuel Droplets With Addition of Nano and Micron-Sized Aluminum Particles,” Combust. Flame, 158(2), pp. 354–368. [CrossRef]
Burnes, D. , and Kurz, R. , 2018, “ Performance Degradation Effects in Modern Industrial Gas Turbines,” Zurich 2018, Global Power and Propulsion Forum, San Diego, CA, Paper No. GPPS-2018-0019. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/326045622_Performance_Degradation_Effects_in_Modern_Industrial_Gas_Turbines
Climate Science Narratives, 2018, “ It's Water Vapor, not the CO2,” American Chemistry Society, ACS Climate Science Toolkit, American Chemistry Society, Washington, DC, accessed July 25, 2019, https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/climatescience/climatesciencenarratives/its-water-vapor-not-the-co2.html
Kee, R. J. , Rupley, F. M. , and Miller, J. A. , 1991, “ The Chemkin Thermodynamic Data Base,” Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM, Sandia Report No. SAND87-8215B.
Schobert, H. H. , 1990, The Chemistry of Hydrocarbon Fuels, Butterworth-Heinemann, Waltham, MA.
Surisetty, V. R. , Dulai, A. K. , and Kozinski, J. , 2011, “ Alcohols as Alternative Fuels: An Overview,” Appl. Catal. A: General, 404(2011), pp. 1–11.
Lefebvre, A. H. , and Ballal, D. R. , 2010, Gas Turbine Combustion: Alternative Fuels and Emissions, 3rd ed., CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL.
Boyce, M. P. , 2012, Gas Turbine Engineering Handbook, 4th ed., Elsevier, Reston, VA.
Edwards, T. , 2003, “ Liquid Fuels and Propellants for Aerospace Propulsion,” J. Propul. Power, 19(6), pp. 1903–2003. https://www.jstor.org/stable/43420511?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
Speight, J. G. , 2008, Synthetic Fuels Handbook: Properties, Process and Performance, McGraw-Hill Professional, New York.
Bardon, M. F. , and J. R. Gilles Lambert, J. , 1980, “ Powdered Metals as Fuels,” Sci. Prog., 66, pp. 421–433.
Bergthorson, J. M. , 2018, “ Recyclable Metal Fuels for Clean and Compact Zero-Carbon Power,” Prog. Energy Combust. Sci., 68, pp. 169–196. [CrossRef]
Kurz, R. , Mendoza, R. , Burnes, D. , Saxena, P. , and Alexander, S. , “ On Gas Turbine Safety in Offshore Applications,” ASME Paper No. GT2018-75003.
Zabetakis, M. G. , 1965, “ Flammability Characteristics of Combustible Gases and Vapors,” U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines Bulletin 627, Washington, DC.
Lieuwen, T. , McDonell, V. , Petersen, E. , and Santavicca, D. , “ Fuel Flexibility Influences on Premixed Combustor Blowout, Flashback, Autoignition, and Stability,” ASME Paper No. GT2006-90770.
Rye, L. , and Wilson, C. , 2012, “ The Influence of Alternative Fuel Composition on Gas Turbine Ignition Performance,” Fuel, 96, pp. 277–283. [CrossRef]
Hanson, R. K. , and Davidson, D. F. , 2014, “ Recent Advances in Laser Absorption and Shock Tube Methods for Studies of Combustion Chemistry,” Prog. Energy Combust. Sci., 44, pp. 103–114. [CrossRef]
Lieuwen, T. C. , and Yang, V. , 2005, Combustion Instabilities in Gas Turbine Engines: Operational Experience, Fundamental Mechanisms, and Modeling (Progress in Astronautics Aeronautics), Vol. 210, AIAA, Reston, VA.
Rubie, J. S. , Li, Y. G. , and Jackson, A. J. B. , 2018, “ Performance Simulation and Analysis of a Gas Turbine Engine Using Drop-In Bio-Fuels,” ASME Paper No. GT2018-75751.
Bae, C. , and Kim, J. , 2017, “ Alternative Fuels for Internal Combustion Engines,” Proc. Combust. Inst., 36(3), pp. 3389–3413. [CrossRef]
Gökalp, I. , and Lebas, E. , 2004, “ Alternative Fuels for Industrial Gas Turbines (AFTUR),” Appl. Therm. Eng., 24(11–12), pp. 1655–1663. [CrossRef]


Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Taurus 60 h-s diagram at full load 59 °F ISO day using different fuels

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Standard station designations used on a Solar Turbines engine

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Titan 250 performance relative to CH4 at full load 59 °F ISO day for various fuels from hydrogen to diesel (DF-2)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Titan 250 performance relative to CH4 at full load 59 °F ISO day versus H/Cm for various hydrocarbon fuels

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Titan 250 performance improvement relative to DF-2 at full load 59 °F ISO day versus H/Cm

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Titan 250 CO2 and H2O emissions change relative to DF-2 at full load 59 °F ISO day versus H/Cm

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

Stochiometric equations of the primary fuels noted within this study

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

Variation of fuel LHV and H/C with respect to the number of carbon atoms for various n-alkane hydrocarbons including H2 and C(s)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 9

Gas chromatograph of the composition of jet fuel (Jet-A/JP-8/JP-5) [9]

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 10

Variation in specific energies with relative density of fuels [9]

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 11

Effect of temperature on LFL of 10 paraffin (alkane) hydrocarbons in air at atmospheric pressure [16]

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 12

Minimum auto-ignition temperature of paraffin hydrocarbons in air as a function of average carbon chain length [16]

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 13

Ignition temperatures for petroleum fuels [9]



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