The U.S. Department of Energy’s Turbines Program is developing advanced technology for high-hydrogen gas turbines to enable integration of carbon sequestration technology into coal-gasifying power plants. Program goals include aggressive reductions in gas turbine NOx emissions: less than 2 ppmv NOx at 15% oxygen and 1750 K firing temperature. The approach explored in this work involves nitrogen dilution of hydrogen diffusion flames, which avoids problems with premixing hydrogen at gas turbine pressures and temperatures. Thermal NOx emissions are partially reduced through peak flame temperature control provided by nitrogen dilution, while further reductions are attained by minimizing flame size and residence time. The injector design includes high-velocity coaxial air injection from lobes surrounding the central fuel tube in each of the 48 array units. This configuration strikes a balance between stability and ignition performance, combustor pressure drop, and flame residence time. Array injector test conditions in the optically accessible Low Emissions Combustor Test & Research (LECTR) facility include air preheat temperatures of 500 K, combustor pressures of 4, 8 and 16 atm, equivalence ratios of 0.3 to 0.7, and three hydrogen/nitrogen fuel blend ratios. Test results show that NOx emissions increase with pressure and decrease with increasing fuel and air jet velocities, as expected. The magnitude of these emissions changes deviate from expected NOx scaling relationships, however, due to active combustor cooling and array spacing effects. At 16 atm and 1750 K firing temperature, the lowest NOx emissions obtained is 4.4 ppmv at 15% O2 equivalent (3.0 ppmv if diluent nitrogen is not considered), with a corresponding pressure drop of 7.7%. While these results demonstrate that nitrogen dilution in combination with high strain rates provides a reliable solution to low NOx hydrogen combustion at gas turbine conditions, the injector’s performance can still be improved significantly through suggested design changes.

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