One of the driving requirements in gas turbine design is emissions reduction. In the mature markets (especially the North America), permits to install new gas turbines are granted provided emissions meet more and more restrictive requirements, in a wide range of ambient temperatures and loads. To meet such requirements, design techniques have to take advantage also of the most recent CFD tools. As a successful example of this, this paper reports the results of a reactive 3D numerical study of a single-can combustor for the GE10 machine, recently updated by GE-Energy. This work aims to evaluate the benefits on the flame shape and on NOx emissions of a new pilot-system located on the upper part of the liner. The former GE10 combustor is equipped with fuel-injecting-holes realizing purely diffusive pilot-flames. To reduce NOx emissions from the current 25 ppmvd@15%O2 to less than 15 ppmvd@15%O2 (in the ambient temperature range from −28.9°C to +37.8°C and in the load range from 50% and 100%), the new version of the combustor is equipped with 4 swirler-burners realizing lean-premixed pilot flames; these flames in turn are stabilized by a minimal amount of lean-diffusive sub-pilot-fuel. The overall goal of this new configuration is the reduction of the fraction of fuel burnt in diffusive flames, lowering peak temperatures and therefore NOx emissions. To analyse the new flame structure and to check the emissions reduction, a reactive RANS study was performed using STAR-CD™ package. A user-defined combustion model was used, while to estimate NOx emissions a specific scheme was also developed. Three different ambient temperatures (ISO, −28.9°C and 37.8°C) were simulated. Results were then compared with experimental measurements (taken both from the engine and from the rig), resulting in reasonable agreement. Finally, an additional simulation with an advanced combustion model, based on the laminar flamelet approach, was performed. The model is based on the G-Equation scheme but was modified to study partially premixed flames. A geometric procedure to solve G-Equation was implemented as add-on in STAR-CD™.

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