Ansaldo Thomassen, together with five Netherland partners (see below) and PSM’s R&D team support, are developing a cost-effective, ultra-low emissions combustion system retrofit based on our FlameSheet™ combustion system platform for OPRA Turbine’s 1.6MW OP16 engine. The objective is for fuel flexible and stable operation from 100% natural gas to 100% hydrogen and any mixture thereof. This retrofit solution will allow for the reduction and potential total elimination of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from this gas turbine by using hydrogen as a fuel, while keeping nitrous oxides (NOx) emissions at government-mandated levels.
The switch towards hydrogen is challenging, as it is much more reactive and combustible than natural gas. This heightened reactivity leads to large changes in the energy/heat release within the combustor, which may be destructive if not controlled nor stabilized in the proper way. Therefore, our main challenge is to build on the existing fuel flexible performance of the FlameSheet™ trapped vortex stabilized combustion technology, while harnessing the potential of hydrogen, to allow gas turbines to be part of the decarbonized renewable power grid.
Starting in spring 2019, with funding from the Netherlands government, optimization and scaling of the FlameSheet™ concept was designed and manufactured. A combination of analytical modelling and current operational experience of the platform on the Frame 7F has led to a flexible prototype which allows for the exploration of promising design concepts and iterations during the first phase atmospheric test campaign. Combined with 3D printing technology to create complex mixing design features, the efforts has resulted in a realisation from the first ideas to a prototype in an accelerated manner.
Late last year, the test campaign started at the R&D test facility of Hengelo, Netherlands-based partner OPRA Turbines. The combustion system shown significant promise burning up to 100% hydrogen at a number of anticipated load points. Very promising results and in the phase one portion of the campaign, succeeding in achieving the desired first milestones. What is quite interesting is that the 100% hydrogen-fuelled flame was invisible to the naked eye!
The test campaign continues, exploring multiple variants of the combustor geometry and fuel injection mixing schemes to allow a down-selection of final concepts for the phase two government and partner supported-test program, a validation of the design in a full gas turbine commercial application test at a customer site next year!!