The most effective technologies currently available for controlling NOx emissions from heavy-duty industrial gas turbines are diluent injection in the combustor reaction zone, and lean premixed Dry Low NOx (DLN) combustion. For ultralow emissions requirements, these must be combined with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) DeNOx systems in the gas turbine exhaust. An alternative technology for achieving comparable emissions levels with the potential for lower capital investment and operating cost is catalytic combustion of lean premixed fuel and air within the gas turbine. The design of a catalytic combustion system using natural gas fuel has been prepared for the GE model MS9OO1E gas turbine. This machine has a turbine inlet temperature to the first rotating stage of over 1100°C and produces approximately 105 MW electrical output in simple cycle operation. The 508-mm-dia catalytic combustor designed for this gas turbine was operated at full-scale conditions in tests conducted in 1992 and 1994. The combustor was operated for twelve hours during the 1994 test and demonstrated very low NOx emissions from the catalytic reactor. The total exhaust NOx level was approximately 12–15 ppmv and was produced almost entirely in the preburner ahead of the reactor. A small quantity of steam injected into the preburner reduced the NOx emissions to 5–6 ppmv. Development of the combustion system has continued with the objectives of reducing CO and UHC emissions, understanding the parameters affecting reactor stability and spatial nonuniformities that were observed at low inlet temperature, and improving the structural integrity of the reactor system to a level required for commercial operation of gas turbines. Design modifications were completed and combustion hardware was fabricated for additional full-scale tests of the catalytic combustion system in March 1995 and January 1996. This paper presents a discussion of the combustor design, the catalytic reactor design, and the results of full-scale testing of the improved combustor at MS9OO1E cycle conditions in the March 1995 and January 1996 tests. Major improvements in performance were achieved with CO and UHC emissions of 10 ppmv and 0 ppmv at baseload conditions. This ongoing program will lead to two additional full-scale combustion system tests in 1996. The results of these tests will be available for discussion at the June 1996 Conference in Birmingham.

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