The low-swirl injector (LSI) is a simple and cost-effective lean premixed combustion method for natural-gas turbines to achieve ultra-low emissions (< 5 ppm NOx and CO) without invoking tight control of mixture stoichiometry, elaborate active tip cooling or costly materials and catalysis. To gain an understanding of how this flame stabilization mechanism remains robust throughout a large range of Reynolds numbers, laboratory experiments were performed to characterize the flowfield of natural gas flames at simulated partial load conditions. Also studied was a flame using simulated landfill gas of 50% natural gas and 50% CO2. Using Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV), the non-reacting and reacting flowfields were measured at five bulk flow velocities. The results show that the LSI flowfield exhibits similarity features. From the velocity data an analytical expression for the flame position as function of the flowfield characteristics and turbulent flame speed have been deduced. It shows that the similarity feature coupled with a linear dependency of the turbulent flame speed with bulk flow velocity enable the flame to remain relatively stationary throughout the load range. This expression can be the basis for an analytical model for designing LSIs that operate on alternate gaseous fuels such as slower burning biomass gases or faster burning coal-based syngases.

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