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

[+] Author Affiliations
Elliot Sullivan-Lewis, Vincent McDonell

University of California, Irvine, CA

Paper No. GT2014-25477, pp. V04AT04A034; 10 pages
  • ASME Turbo Expo 2014: Turbine Technical Conference and Exposition
  • Volume 4A: Combustion, Fuels and Emissions
  • Düsseldorf, Germany, June 16–20, 2014
  • Conference Sponsors: International Gas Turbine Institute
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4568-4
  • Copyright © 2014 by ASME


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 650K, 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 © 2014 by ASME



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