Gas turbines will play a significant role in future power generation systems because they provide peak capacity due to their fast start-up capability and high operational flexibility. However, in order to meet the COP 21 goals, de-carbonization of as turbine fuels is required. Compared to natural gas operation, autoignition and flashback risks in gas turbines operated on hydrogen-rich fuels are higher which has to be taken into account for a proper gas turbine design. From investigations of these phenomena at relevant operating conditions with appropriate measurement techniques, e.g. high-speed imaging, the understanding of the non-stationary processes occurring during autoignition can be improved and design guidelines for a safe and reliable gas turbine operation can be derived.

The present study investigates the influences of elevated carrier-air preheating temperatures and hydrogen fuel volume fractions on autoignition at hot gas temperatures higher than 1100 K and pressures of 15 bar. An in-line co-flow injector is used to inject the hydrogen-nitrogen fuel mixtures. The formation, temporal and spatial development of autoignition kernels at high-temperature vitiated air conditions, e.g. relevant to reheat combustor operation, are studied. The experiments were conducted in an optically accessible mixing section of a generic reheat combustor. The hydrogen-nitrogen fuel mixtures of up to 70 vol. % hydrogen are injected in-line into the mixing section along with the carrier-air which was preheated to temperatures between 303 K and 703 K. High-speed imaging was used to detect the autoignition kernels and their temporal and spatial development from luminescence signals. Particle Image Velocimetry measurements were conducted to obtain the velocity distribution in the mixing section at autoignition conditions.

The influences of vitiated air temperatures and carrier preheating temperatures on autoignition and flame stabilisation limits are shown, alongside the spatial distribution of different types of autoignition kernels, developing at different stages of the autoignition process. The development of autoignition kernels could be linked to the shear layer development derived from global experimental conditions.

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