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Combustion Performance Optimization

Combustion Performance Optimization

Aeroderivative gas turbines are a great option for power generation as they are reliable, fuel flexible and cost effective. Given its central role in the fuel to energy conversion process, the combustor is the crucial component in achieving performance goals of excellent operability over a large load range and with low pollutant emissions such as NOx and CO. The Dry Low Emissions (DLE) combustion system is a key differentiating technology in GE’s aeroderivative engines that deliver industry leading emissions performance with excellent fuel flexibility.

The Combustion team has leveraged deep-expertise in combustion modeling and high-pressure combustion testing to optimize fuel/air premixing devices that deliver a 50% reduction in pollutant emissions for the next generation DLE combustion system. The emissions capability was demonstrated with a variety of fuels while also delivering a reliable, low noise (low thermo-acoustic oscillation) and efficient combustion system. State of the art combustion modeling techniques like Large Eddy Simulation (LES) were combined with testing in a unique high pressure and temperature facility to understand complex physics related to combustion-turbulence interaction, multi-phase flows, emissions formation and thermo-acoustic oscillations.

The impact of several premixer design variables were analyzed using first using advanced modeling techniques and then the designs were validated in high-pressure testing. The in-house test facility allowed for detailed characterization of key combustor operability metrics along with measuring emissions and thermoacoustic pressures.

During the test campaign, rapid manufacturing and testing of design prototypes was achieved using additive manufacturing. This allowed GE Research to access design space in the test campaign that was previously inaccessible and could only be simulated in models. The project was successful in meeting the product launch timeline and also resulted in a drop-in design allowing easy integration with current systems. Aeroderivative products relying on this combustion technology are used in a variety of applications including combined cycle, onshore and offshore power generation, mechanical drive and cogeneration.

Project Impact

The optimized dry low-emissions combustor developed in this project is available in several aeroderivative products that have an enormous range of applications, from distributed power generation (utilities, hospitals, airports), gas compression and pumping (oil and gas production), to marine propulsion (military, fast ferries, cargo ships). The benefits of reduced combustion dynamics and pollutant emissions that are enabled by this technology include enhanced operability and durability with dramatically improved fuel flexibility. In particular, the fuel-flexible operation, enabled by innovative design, modeling and testing work carried out in this project, has qualified these products in areas where enhanced energy security and reliability is a requirement, and the use of minimal water and other ancillary exhaust treatments is undesirable. 

  • Our Expertise

    Capabilities utilized for Combustion Performance Optimization project

  • Combustion & Propulsion

    Developing high performance solutions for engine applications including dynamics suppression, emissions controls and fuel efficiency

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