Medium- and low-LHV fuels are receiving a continuously growing interest in stationary power applications. Besides that, since in many applications the fuels available at a site can be time by time of significantly different composition, fuel flexibility has become one of the most important requirements to be taken into account in developing power systems. A test campaign, aimed to provide a preliminary assessment of a small power gas turbine’s fuel flexibility, was carried over a full-scale GE10 prototypical unit, located at the Nuovo-Pignone manufacturing site, in Florence. The engine is a single shaft, simple cycle gas turbine designed for power generation applications, rated at 11 MW electrical power and equipped with a silos-type combustor. A variable composition gas fuel was obtained by mixing natural gas with CO2 to about 40% by vol. at engine base-load condition. Tests involved two different diffusive combustion systems: the standard version, designed for operation with natural gas, and a specific system designed for low-LHV fuels. Tests performed aimed to investigate both ignition limits and combustors’ performances, focusing on hot parts’ temperatures and pollutant emissions. Regarding NOx emissions, data collected during standard combustor’s tests were matched a simple scaling law (as a function of cycle parameters and CO2 concentration in the fuel mixture), which can be used in similar applications as a NOx predictive tool. In a following step, a CFD study was performed in order to verify in detail the effects of LHV reduction on flame structure and to compare measured and calculated NOx. STAR-CD™ code was employed as main CFD solver while turbulent combustion and NOx models were specifically developed and implemented using STAR’s user-subroutine features. Both models are based on classical laminar-flamelet approach. Three different operating points were considered at base-load conditions, varying CO2 concentration (0%, 20% and 30% vol. simulated). Numerical simulations point out the flexibility of the GE10 standard combustor to assure flame stabilization even against large variation of fuel characteristics. Calculated NOx emissions are in fairly good agreement with measured data confirming the validity of the adopted models.

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