Understanding Transient Combustion Phenomena in Low-NOx Gas Turbines


Flame interaction in the<br/>multi-nozzle combustor
Flame interaction in the
multi-nozzle combustor
Pennsylvania State University
Website:  Pennsylvania State University
Award Number:  FE0025495
Project Duration:  10/01/2015 – 09/30/2019
Total Award Value:  $747,745
DOE Share:  $598,196
Performer Share:  $149,549
Technology Area:  Advanced Turbines
Key Technology:  Advanced Combustion Turbines
Location:  University Park, Pennsylvania

Project Description

The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) will conduct the project with support from industrial partner GE Global Research (GE). A three-step approach to understand, and eventually predict, unstable combustion resulting from transient operation will be used. Transients in equivalence ratio, fuel composition, and fuel splitting will be studied. Three transient characteristics will be considered when designing each transient test: transient timescale, transient amplitude, and transient direction. The first step toward quantifying the impact of transients on combustion stability will be to map relevant timescales in the combustion system at steady-state operation under a variety of target conditions. These target conditions will be selected with input from GE and represent operating conditions of interest for industrial gas turbine engines. Once the target conditions are established, four timescales of interest will be measured: heat-transfer timescales, chemical timescales, flow timescales, and acoustic timescales. The second step will be to collect data during transient events, where the transient events are designed to mirror key timescales and operating conditions that were measured in the first portion of the study. The final step will be to analyze the data in order to both understand fundamental combustion behaviors in response to transients and identify precursor signals during the transient before unstable combustion arises. Analysis of these high-fidelity data will enable descriptions of the nonlinear behaviors that occur during transients, as well as important characteristics about the beginning and end states of each transient.

Project Benefits

Penn State will help researchers understand the impact of several types of transients on combustion stability. The project will provide a fundamental understanding of combustion stability during transient operation using data obtained—via a number of high-speed diagnostic techniques—on experimental configurations that capture important gas turbine combustor features and operating conditions. The work will also be used to develop a stability prediction framework to predict, and possibly control, instabilities as a function of the transient amplitude, direction, and timescale.

Contact Information

Federal Project Manager 
Mark C. Freeman: mark.freeman@netl.doe.gov
Technology Manager 
Richard Dennis: richard.dennis@netl.doe.gov
Principal Investigator 
Jacqueline A. O’Connor: jxo22@engr.psu.edu

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