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Evaluation of Hydrogen Addition for Gas Turbine Piloting

  • Author(s): Hernandez, Candy
  • Advisor(s): Samuelsen, Scott
  • et al.

In anticipation of increased use of hydrogen as a means of decarbonizing future power generation in combined heat and power plants, studies are underway to understand how hydrogen impacts operability and emissions from existing low emission gas turbines. In the current study, a full-scale annular combustor is used to study how added hydrogen to methane can be used strategically to extend low emissions operation at lower loads.

The effects of hydrogen in low loading conditions are studied with a numerical approach validated with experimental data conducted by Southwest Research Institute. A chemical reactor network was developed and validated with a prior study involving use of a piloted model combustor. The reactor network was then applied to a full-scale, Solar Turbines 130 combustor tested with various blends of hydrogen and methane for different scaled load conditions and different pilot to main fuel splits.

The validated reactor network was used in combination with a statistically designed simulation matrix to derive a design tool. The tool was used to estimate other performance features including CO emissions near LBO and the impacts of ambient humidity and the presence of higher hydrocarbons typically found in natural gas. The developed model indicates with an increase in hydrogen, an increase in ethane, an increase in pilot flow, and an increase in load, the combustor system has an improvement in stability. The suggested controllable factors for extending operation are increasing the hydrogen composition of the fuel, as well as increasing the fuel flow allocation to the pilot stream.

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