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Closed-Loop Combustion Control Using OH Radical Emissions

[+] Author Affiliations
Zhu (Julie) Meng, Robert J. Hoffa

Rolls-Royce Allison, Indianapolis, IN

Charles A. DeMilo, Todd T. Thamer

AMETEK Power & Industrial Products, Wilmington, MA

Paper No. 2000-GT-0102, pp. V002T02A022; 10 pages
  • ASME Turbo Expo 2000: Power for Land, Sea, and Air
  • Volume 2: Coal, Biomass and Alternative Fuels; Combustion and Fuels; Oil and Gas Applications; Cycle Innovations
  • Munich, Germany, May 8–11, 2000
  • Conference Sponsors: International Gas Turbine Institute
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-7855-2
  • Copyright © 2000 by ASME


The combustion process in gas-turbine engines produces emissions, especially nitrogen oxides (NOx) and carbon monoxide (CO), which change dramatically with combustor operating conditions. As part of this study, the application of active feedback control technologies to reduce thermal NOx emissions is modeled numerically and demonstrated experimentally.

A new optical flame sensor, designed by Ametek Power & Industrial Products, has been successfully implemented as the feedback element in a proof-of-concept control system used to minimize NOx emissions. The sensor consists of a robust mechanical package, as well as electronics suitable for severe gas-turbine environments. Results from system rig tests correlate closely to theoretical predictions, as described in literature and produced by a control system simulation model.

The control system simulation model predicts the efficacy of controlling engine operating characteristics based on chemical luminescence of the OH radical. The model consists of a fuel pump and metering device, a fuel-air mixing scheme, a combustion model, the new ultraviolet (UV) feedback flame sensor, and a simple gain block. The input reference to the proportional emissions control is the fuel-to-air equivalence ratio, which is empirically correlated to the desired low level of NOx emissions while satisfying other operating conditions, such as CO emissions and power.

Results from the closed-loop emissions control simulation and rig tests were analyzed to determine the capability of the UV flame sensor to measure and control the combustion process in a gas-turbine engine. The response characteristics, overshoot percentage, rise time, settling time, accuracy, resolution, and repeatability are addressed.

Copyright © 2000 by ASME
Topics: Combustion , Emissions



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