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Active control for gas turbine combustors


Closed-loop feedback control is implemented in two model combustors as a demonstration of the application of feedback control to gas turbine combustion. The first combustor is an axi-symmetric, swirl-stabilized, spray-fired combustor, while the second combustor incorporates discrete wall injection of primary and dilution air, representative of an actual gas turbine combustor. In both combustors, the emission of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, the radiative heat flux to the liner associated with soot and combustor stability are monitored in real time and controlled as a function of combustor load. The control input to the system is the nozzle atomizing air flow rate. The emission of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, the radiative flux to the liner, and the combustor stability are obtained through non-intrusive radiometric sensors mounted near the combustor exit plane. This information is conveyed to a control computer which invokes an optimization algorithm to minimize the CO and soot radiative flux, while maximizing the CO2 radiative flux. The index of combustion instability (onset of elevated acoustic emission) is, in the present case, a characteristic frequency in the power spectral density of the CO signal. The identical control methodology is applied to the two combustors with satisfactory and promising results that demonstrate the potential of active control to practical systems. © 1991 Combustion Institute.

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