De-carbonization of the power generation sector becomes increasingly important in order to achieve the European climate targets. Coal or biomass gasification together with a pre-combustion carbon capture process might be a solution resulting in hydrogen-rich gas turbine (GT) fuels. However, the high reactivity of these fuels poses challenges to the operability of lean premixed gas turbine combustion systems because of a higher auto-ignition and flashback risk. Investigation of these phenomena at GT relevant operating conditions is needed to gain knowledge and to derive design guidelines for a safe and reliable operation.

The present investigation focusses on the influence of the fuel injector configuration on auto-ignition and kernel development at reheat combustor relevant operating conditions. Auto-ignition of H2-rich fuels was investigated in the optically accessible mixing section of a generic reheat combustor. Two different geometrical in-line configurations were investigated. In the premixed configuration, the fuel mixture (H2 / N2) and the carrier medium nitrogen (N2) were homogeneously premixed before injection, whereas in the co-flow configuration the fuel (H2 / N2) jet was embedded in a carrier medium (N2 or air) co-flow. High-speed imaging was used to detect auto-ignition and to record the temporal and spatial development of auto-ignition kernels in the mixing section.

A high temperature sensitivity of the auto-ignition limits were observed for all configurations investigated. The lowest auto-ignition limits are measured for the premixed in-line injection. Significantly higher auto-ignition limits were determined in the co-flow in-line configuration. The analysis of auto-ignition kernels clearly showed the inhibiting influence of fuel dilution for all configurations.

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