Flameless combustion is one of the most promising technologies that can meet the stringent demands of reduced pollution and increased reliability in future gas turbine engines. Although this new combustion technology has been successfully applied to industrial furnaces, there are inherent problems that prevent application of this promising technology in a gas turbine combustor. One of the main problems is the need for recirculating large amount of burnt gases with low oxygen content, within limited volume, and over a wide range of operating conditions. In the present paper, thermodynamic analysis of a novel combustion methodology operating in the flameless combustion regime for a gas turbine combustor is carried out from the first principles, with an objective to reduce oxygen concentration and temperature in the primary combustion zone. The present analysis shows that unlike in the conventional gas turbine combustor, transferring heat from primary combustion zone to secondary (annulus) cooling air can substantially reduce oxygen concentration in reactants and the combustion temperature, thus reducing NOx formation by a large margin. In addition, to reduce the peak temperature, the proposed methodology is conceptualised / designed such that energy from fuel is released in two steps, hence reducing the peak flame temperature substantially. The new proposed methodology with internal conjugate heat transfer is compared vis-a`-vis to other existing schemes and the benefits are brought out explicitly. It is found that transferring heat from the combustion zone reduces oxygen concentration and increases carbon-dioxide concentration in the combustor, thus creating an environment conducive for flameless combustion. In addition, a schematic of a practical engineering design working on the new proposed methodology is presented. This new methodology, which calls for transfer of heat from the primary combustion zone to alternative air streams, is expected to change the way gas turbine combustors will be designed in the future.

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