Abstract

Fuel flexibility in gas turbine development has become increasingly important and modern engines need to cope with a broad variety of fuels. The target to operate power plants with hydrogen-based fuels and low emissions will be of paramount importance in a future focusing on electric power decarbonization.

Ansaldo Energia AE94.3A engine acquired broad experience with operation of various natural gas and hydrogen fuel blends, starting in 2006 in the Brindisi (Italy) power plant. Based on the exhaustive experience acquired in the field, this paper describes the latest advancements characterizing the operation of the AE94.3A burner with high pressure combustion tests adding hydrogen blends ranging from 0 to 40% in volume. The interpretation of the test results is supported by reactive and non-reactive simulations describing the effects of varying fuel reactivity on the flame structure as well as the impact of fuel / air momentum flux ratio on the fuel / air interaction and fuel distribution in the combustion chamber.

As expected, increasing amounts of hydrogen in the fuel are also associated with higher amounts of NOx production, however this effect could be countered by optimization of the fuel staging strategy, based on the mentioned CFD considerations and feedback from high pressure tests.

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