The introduction of hydrogen into natural gas systems for environmental benefit presents potential operational issues for gas turbine combustion and power generation applications; in particular acceptable blending concentrations are still widely debated. The use of a generic swirl burner under conditions pertinent to a gas turbine combustor is therefore advantageous to (i) provide evidence of potential design modifications to inform future gas turbine operation on hydrogen blends and (ii) validate numerical model predictions. Building on a previous experimental combustion database consisting of methane-hydrogen fuel blends under atmospheric and elevated ambient conditions, a new scaled generic swirl burner has been designed for experimental investigation of flame stability and exhaust gas emissions at combustor inlet temperatures to 573 K, pressures to 0.33 MPa, and thermal powers to 126 kW. The geometry downstream of the modular burner is developed further to enable separate investigation under isothermal and combustion conditions of the influence of combustor outlet geometry and the effect of changing geometric swirl number. The burner confinement is modified to include both a cylindrical exit quartz combustion chamber and a conical convergent exit quartz combustion chamber, designed to provide a more representative geometric and acoustic boundary at the combustor outlet. Two inlet geometric swirl numbers of industrial relevance are chosen; namely 0.5 and 0.8. Combustion stability and heat release locations of lean premixed CH4-air and CH4-H2-air combustion are evaluated by a combination of OH planar laser induced fluorescence, OH* chemiluminescence, and dynamic pressure measurements. Changes in flame stabilization location are characterized by the use of an OH* chemiluminescence intensity centroid. Notable upstream flame movement coupled with changes in acoustic response are evident, particularly near the lean operating limit as hydrogen blending shifts lean blowoff of methane flames to lower equivalence ratios with corresponding reduction in NOx emissions. The influence of increased pressure on the lean operating point stability and emissions appear to be small over the range considered, however a power law correlation has been developed for scaling combustion noise amplitudes with inlet pressure and swirl number. Indicators of flame flashback as well as combustor acoustic response are affected considerably when the convergent combustor outlet geometry is deployed. This has been shown to alter the influence of the central recirculation zone as a flame stabilizing coherent flow structure. Chemical kinetic modelling supports the experimental observations that stable burner operation can be achieved with blended methane-hydrogen up to 15% by volume.

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