Fuel flexibility is a key feature for Dry Low NOx (DLN) combustors, which shall be capable of accepting a wider range of fuel compositions to meet more and more challenging requests from the Oil and Gas market segment (upstream and downstream applications). Non-methane hydrocarbons (C2+) are one of the main targets of GE Oil & Gas efforts to enlarge the fuel flexibility of DLN combustors, as they are often present in high concentration in fuel gas streams that customers would like their gas turbine to be fed with. The main concerns with such fuel gases in DLN combustor are: the risks of flashback, hardware overheating, increased combustion dynamics and NOx emission, ignition in unexpected locations (with potential damage of the combustor, operability issues and impact on durability).
In order to assess the capability of the current Frame 5 DLN1 hardware design with high C2+ fuels, a single can full pressure test campaign was conducted on a full size DLN1 combustor at Sesta Combustion Lab (Italy).
The combustion chamber was successfully tested in premix mode up to 50%v. of ethane content, observing safe and reliable operation with regard to the above mentioned risks. Special tests were carried out in both Premix and Lean-Lean operating modes, in order to verify the ability of the combustor to maintain a stable and harmless flame and assess the operability margins in the different operating conditions of the combustor. Tests demonstrated a good margin already with the current design. After optimizing the air flow path, the expected performances also in terms of NOx and CO emissions and combustion dynamics were achieved in the investigated ethane content range. These tests outcomes allowed a paramount enlargement of the Frame 5 DLN1 capability in terms of acceptable C2+ concentration in fuel gas.