Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) from offshore reserves is expected to expand its role in supplementing US natural gas supplies. The quality and hydrocarbon contents of the natural gas imported from these international sources, frequently differs from the compositions of domestic natural gas. With the range of variations in fuel characteristics known to exist with offshore LNG, use of this LNG in gas turbine engines could violate applicable fuel specifications, and lead to operational issues such as, but not limited to, combustion dynamics, flashback, increased emissions, or decreased component life. Another potential issue for gas turbines generating power is that rapid changes in the fuel characteristics that may occur when blending imported and domestic gas, may lead to substantial fluctuations in power output. Fuel flexibility is dominantly tied to the combustion system design. Conventional diffusion flame combustion systems are more tolerant of wide variations in fuel compositions but they are limited by their emission levels. The more advanced premixed flame combustors, the Dry Low NOxs (DLN) and Ultra Low NOx (ULN) combustion systems have significantly better performances in terms of emissions but they are also more sensitive to changes in the fuel composition and characteristics. Siemens has performed test campaigns with commercially operating engines and high pressure combustion test rigs to evaluate their commercially available combustion system configurations for LNG applicability. From these test campaigns, Siemens has defined the set of combustion hardware modifications which is robust to changes in fuel composition within the tested limits. Along with the said combustion hardware upgrade, Siemens has also designed an Integrated Fuel Gas Characterization (IFGC) system (Patent Pending). This IFGC system acts like an early warning system and feeds forward signals into the plant control system. Depending on the changes in the properties of the incoming fuel, the IFGC system is designed to adjust the engine tuning settings to compensate for these dynamic changes in the fuel. Customer implementation of the required hardware as well as associated site-specific engineering will mitigate the operational and emissions risk associated with the fuel changes. Overall, it is Siemens recommendation that LNG type fuels will be acceptable to be used in Siemens Gas Turbines with the preferred combustion hardware in place along with the Integrated Fuel Gas Characterization System. A site specific evaluation would be required to determine the optimal system depending on the expected fuels that the unit would be operating with, along with the emissions permit levels associated with the site.
LNG Interchangeability in Land Based Gas Turbines: The Siemens Approach
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Nag, P, Abou-Jaoude, K, Mumford, S, Wu, J, LaGrow, M, Engel, J, & Rising, B. "LNG Interchangeability in Land Based Gas Turbines: The Siemens Approach." Proceedings of the ASME 2007 Power Conference. ASME 2007 Power Conference. San Antonio, Texas, USA. July 17–19, 2007. pp. 455-462. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/POWER2007-22094
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