Biomass can be converted to energy via direct combustion or thermochemical conversion to liquid or gas fuels. This study focuses on burning producer gases derived from gasifying biomass wastes to produce power. Since the producer gases are usually of low calorific values (LCV), power plant performance under various operating conditions has not yet been proven. In this study, system performance calculations are conducted for 5MWe power plants. The power plants considered include simple gas turbine systems, steam turbine systems, combined cycle systems, and steam injection gas turbine systems using the producer gas with low calorific values at approximately 30% and 15% of the natural gas heating value (on a mass basis). The LCV fuels are shown to impose high compressor back pressure and produce increased power output due to increased fuel flow. Turbine nozzle throat area is adjusted to accommodate additional fuel flows to allow the compressor to operate within safety margin. The best performance occurs when the designed pressure ratio is maintained by widening nozzle openings, even though the turbine inlet pressure is reduced under this adjustment. Power augmentations under four different ambient conditions are calculated by employing gas turbine inlet fog cooling. Comparison between inlet fog cooling and steam injection using the same amount of water mass flow indicates that steam injection is less effective than inlet fog cooling in augmenting power output. Maximizing steam injection, at the expense of supplying the steam to the steam turbine, significantly reduces both the efficiency and the output power of the combined cycle. This study indicates that the performance of gas turbine and combined cycle systems fueled by the LCV fuels could be very different from the familiar behavior of natural gas fired systems. Care must be taken if on-shelf gas turbines are modified to burn LCV fuels.

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