Micro gas turbines could be profitably used, for distributed energy production, also exploiting low calorific value biomass-derived fuels, obtained by means of integrated pyrolysis and/or gasification processes. These synthesis gases show significant differences with respect to natural gas (in terms of composition, low calorific value, hydrogen content, tar and particulate matter content) that may turn into ignition problems, combustion instabilities, difficulties in emission control and fouling. CFD simulation of the combustion chamber is a key instrument to identify main criticalities arising when using these gases, in order to modify existing geometries and to develop new generation combustion chambers for use with low calorific value gases. This paper describes the numerical activity carried out to analyze the combustion process occurring inside an existing microturbine annular combustor. A CFD study of the combustion process performed with different computational codes is introduced and some preliminary results are reported in the paper. A comparison of results obtained with the different codes is provided, for the reference case of methane combustion. A first evaluation of the pollutant emissions and a comparison with the available experimental data is also provided in the paper, showing in particular a good matching of experimental data on NOx emissions at different load conditions. Moreover, the carried out investigation concerns the case of operation with a syngas fuel derived from pyrolysis of biomass and finally the case of syngas and natural gas co-firing. This combustion condition is simulated with a simple reduced chemical kinetic scheme, in order to assess only the key issues rising with this fuel in comparison with the case of methane combustion. The analysis shows that in case of syngas operation the combustor internal temperature hot spots are reduced and the primary zone flame tends to stabilize closer to the injector, with possible implications on the emission release.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.