Steam or water injection has become the state-of-the-art abatement technique for NOx, with steam strongly preferred for combined-cycle application. In combined-cycle plants, the degradation of the plant efficiency due to steam injection into the gas turbine combustor provides a powerful incentive for minimizing this flow over the entire plant operating map.
This paper presents the results of extensive tests carried out on a variety of gas turbine combustor designs. Both test stand and field test data are presented. The usual fuel in the tests is methane; however, some data are presented for combustion of No. 2 distillate oil and intermediate Btu gas fuel. Similarly, the usual inert injected is steam, but some water injection data are included for comparison.
The results support the conclusions:
1. Steam and water injection suppress NOx exclusively through thermal mechanisms, i.e., by lowering the peak flame temperature.
2. Design changes have little effect on NOx suppression effectiveness of steam or water in jet-stirred or swirl-mixed combustors.
3. Primary zone injection of steam in methane-fueled, jet-stirred combustors is equally effective whether the steam enters with an air stream or with the fuel stream.
4. Water-to-fuel ratio corrected to equivalent energy content correlates NOx suppression effectiveness for turbulent diffusion flame combustors.