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OPERATION EXPERIENCE WITH ALSTOM POWER’S GT10 GAS TURBINE AND

ULTRA LOW NOX COMBUSTION CONTROL

Christian Steinbach, Alstom Power, Baden-Dättwil, Switzerland


Derrick Goudeaux, Alstom Power USA
Christian Troger, Alstom Power, Finspång, Sweden
Roger Moore, MIT Power Plant, Cambridge, Ma.

Abstract

The W.R. Dickson Co-generation plant of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT
(Cambridge) operates a GT10 (23MW) gas turbine for Co-generation of heat and electrical
power. Since the power plant is located near the campus within the city, ABB (now Alstom)
installed a special ultra low NOx combustion control system, which reduces the NOx emissions
values from the normal guaranty value of 25 to 15 vppm @ 15% O2.
This combustion system consists of an annular combustor, which is equipped with 18 EV
burners (EV standing for ‘Environmental Vortex’). The flame can be stabilized over a wide
control range by adding pilot fuel. However, increasing pilot fuel amounts leads to a more
diffusive flame characteristic and may increase NOx emissions. Therefore further combustion
control is provided by means of a bypass system. This bypass system allows the amount of
dilution air to be varied, and moderates the amount of water injection in the primary flame zone.
In order to reduce CO emissions from the plant an oxidation catalyst was installed in the gas
turbine exhaust.
The system has proven to be reliable and able to cope with the extreme changes in ambient site
conditions. In addition, the gas turbine at MIT is operated in a power control mode, i.e. the low
emission combustion has to cover a wide range of the gas turbine load. This is possible by a
control routine based on a thermodynamic cycle analysis. The combustion parameters, especially
the flame temperature, are controlled in a well-defined data window, in order to meet the limit of
15 vppm NOx in a wide operation range (ambient conditions and engine load).
This paper gives an overview on the configuration of the Co-generation plant at MIT and the
special operation conditions at the site. The emission control system used is described. The
emissions measured at the plant, which demonstrate the outstanding performance of the gas
turbine combustion system (<15 vppm NOx, <10ppm CO @15% O2), are presented.
Nomenclature
m? Air mass flow
cp specific heat at constant pressure
T Temperature
Hu lower heating value
O water to fuel flow ratio

Indices
3 compressor exit air flow
4 burner air flow
fuel fuel flow
bypass bypass air flow
cooling cooling air flow
H2O water flow
1. Introduction
1.1 Application
The GT10 was initially designed to drive compressors and pumps. However, in power
generation, merits such as low fuel consumption (also at part loads) and short installation and
commissioning times are major features. The extended time between overhauls (TBO) adds to
an already high availability. This is a must for continuously operated plants. It is nominally rated
in the 25 MW class with 34% open-cycle efficiency, and is designed to combine the traditional
advantages of the heavy-duty machine with those of the aircraft derivative type. The result is
compact, twin-shaft unit suitable for electrical and mechanical drive applications (see figure
1.1). It is also an ideal unit for both Co-generation and Combined-cycle plants because of its
excellent exhaust heat data. The GT10 offers long life, easy on-site maintenance, and a wide
fuel range capability – from liquid fuel to natural gas. Its compactness makes it suitable for
offshore installations as well as for retrofitting into existing plants.

FIGURE 1.1: GT10 GAS TURBINE

1.2 Design Features


The GT10 is a heavy-duty gas turbine designed for a wide variety of duties and applications.
The gas generator consists of a ten-stage axial compressor, the first two stages of which are of
transonic design. The first two compressor stages have an adjustable geometry. The compressor
is driven by a two-stage turbine through a transition shaft. A valve arrangement located on top
of the unit bleeds air from the compressor during start up (see figure 1.2).
The combustor section is of straight through, annular design, suitable for a wide range of liquid
and gaseous fuels. The unique dry low-emissions burners maintain NOx emissions below 50
mg/MJ of gaseous fuel (equivalent to 25 ppmv at 15% O2) without steam or water injection.
This makes the GT10 the most environmentally friendly gas turbine in its power range.
Furthermore, a gas turbine with dry low-emissions combustor system offers an additional
advantage in maintaining a low specific fuel consumption in combined cycle plants. It does not
require any supply of expensively produced water or steam. The fuel system is designed for on-
load automatic changeover between gas and liquid fuels.
An important design feature of the GT10 is the extensive use of vertically split, one-piece
circular stator components in the hot section of the unit. This ensures low thermal distortion,
resulting in high efficiency and hence a high fuel economy. The two-stage power turbine is of
overhung design with the two bearings located in the cool area. The power turbine rotor speed is
nominally 7,700 rpm; this speed is geared down to the speed of driven equipment.

FIGURE 1.2: GT10 CONFIGURATION

All bearings throughout the gas turbine are of hydrodynamic type. The lube oil system is
common to the gas turbine, gear and the driven equipment. The complete unit is mounted on a
base frame, which contains the lube oil tank. The auxiliary systems are placed in a separate
room located close to the gas turbine base frame. This arrangement facilitates the operation of
the unit, since the temperature and noise level in the auxiliary system area are reduced. The total
dry weight of the gas turbine frame including the exhaust gas volute is only 35 tons.
2. MIT Power Plant Configuration and Operating Conditions

The MIT Co-generation Project represents a ten year, forty million dollar initiative by the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology to generate its own electrical and thermal power (see
Figure-2.1). During the planning phases of the Co-generation project, MIT knew they would
need a Gas Turbine designed and built to satisfy the high exhaust temperature (waste heat)
requirements. For this, ALSTOM’s GT10 was a prime candidate. In Co-generation and
Combined Cycle applications, the high exhaust temperature of the GT10 makes it one of the
most efficient units on the market. Also, it’s low life cycle costs, low fuel costs, and low
operation and maintenance costs made it the best economical choice. Ultimately, by utilizing the
GT10 in their new Co-generation facility, the overall efficiency of the MIT plant has improved
by nearly 20%.

Heat Recovery
Boiler

Inlet Air
MIT
Combustor Campus

GS
22 MW(e)

Compressor Turbine

Feed Pump

FIGURE 2.1: MIT CO-GENERATION PLANT

One of the most important factors considered by MIT was the environmental impacts of the new
facility. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is, and always has been, totally committed
to environmental preservation. Therefore, the chosen Gas Turbine needs to afford considerably
low emissions throughout the load range. This is one of the primary reasons that the GT10 was
chosen to be the heart of their Co-generation process. The GT10 employs several new
technologies to reduce NOx and CO emissions. The revolutionary combustion chamber system,
developed with Professor (Emeritus) Janos Beér of MIT’s Department of Chemical Engineering,
takes advantage of fuel pre-mixing to assure complete combustion. In addition, the GT10 injects
water into the chambers to reduce the flame temperature and reduce the formation of NOx. This
combination of water injection with a dry low-NOx Combustor represents the leading edge of
emissions reduction technology (see figure 2.2).

FIGURE 2.2: GT10 ANNULAR COMBUSTION CHAMBER

The GT10 EV-burner makes it possible to reduce the flame temperature in the turbine, utilizing a
simple but unique method of mixing air and gas in a dry combustion system. This results in
lower emissions and higher efficiency, which is particularly critical to MIT’s Co-generation
process. The Co-generation facility also employs a platinum and alumina Carbon Monoxide
catalyst, which removes over 98% of the CO present in the GT10 exhaust. Through the
application of the GT10, along with other technological improvements, MIT has reduced total
plant emissions by 45% compared to their old plant technology (see Figure 2.3).
21 kg/s Steam
Dual Fuel
Supplementary Firing

1000 degree exhaust

CO
Catalyst
ABB GT10A Combustion Turbine GS Bed
22 MW(e)

FIGURE 2.3: MIT CO-GENERATION CONFIGURATION W/ GT10

Beginning in October 1998, ALSTOM Power and MIT undertook a program to further optimize
operation of the Co-generation facility at MIT. This was accomplished by implementing
improvements to the emission control algorithm into the turbine regulator and conducting
follow-up tuning and algorithm adjustment through January 2000. The main goal of the
optimization program was to more accurately adjust to the influence of changing ambient
conditions (i.e. temperature, barometric pressure and humidity) on the combustion process of the
gas turbine and, subsequently the formation of NOx. The operation of the turbine has been
optimized over a range of ambient conditions, and is now producing NOx and CO levels
considerably below the permitted limits throughout the normal operating conditions of the
system (see figure 2.4).
Duct
Parameter Fuel Units Gas Turbine Combined
Burners
NOx Gas vppm@15%O2 15 - -
NOx Gas lb/hr 12.7 9.1 21.8
NOx Gas lb/MMBtu 0.11 - 0.14
NOx Oil vppm@15%O2 42 - -
NOx Oil lb/hr 39.3 7.3 46.6
NOx Oil lb/MMBtu 0.11 - 0.11
CO Gas vppm@15%O2 10 - 10
CO Oil vppm@15%O2 10 - 10

FIGURE 2.4: AIR EMISSIONS PERMIT LIMITS


It must be stated that MIT’s drive and commitment to the Emissions Optimization Program was
unprecedented. Due to their patience, assistance, and technological competence, the emissions
program was a success. The following chapters will provide a more detailed explanation of how
the ultra-low emission levels were attained.

3. Combustion System

The combustion section of the GT10B is of straight-through, annular design (see figure 3.1). The
combustion chamber is cooled by a combination of film and impingement cooling. The heat
shield for the main flame zone is impingement cooled, the remaining liner is film cooled. The
combustor incorporates 18 EV-burners (EV stands for Environmental Vortex). The EV burner is
a lean premix burner for dual fuel (oil and natural gas) operation. It basically consists of two half
cones which are shifted radial apart to give way to two air inlet slots with constant slot width
(figure 3.2). Gaseous fuel is injected into the air through a number of holes along the inlet slots
and mixes with the air. Since the radial distance of the air inlet slots with respect to the centreline
increases in downstream direction the swirl strength increases towards the end of the burner. A
vortex breakdown occurs which stabilises the flame in free space. The high velocity airflow
inside the burner cone protects the metal surfaces from the flame. Liquid fuel can be injected in
the centre of the burner. This fuel is evaporated and mixed with the air inside the burner. The
swirling motion promotes the fine scale mixing of fuel and air which is a prerequisite to achieve
low NOx emissions. This dry low NOx combustion technology allows for emissions on gaseous
fuels of below 25 vppm @ 15%O2. For liquid fuel <42 vppm @ 15%O2 are obtained with the
help of water injection. For CO abatement an oxidation catalyst is installed in the gas turbine
exhaust system, which reduces the CO emissions below the limit of 10 vppm @ 15%O2.

bypass system
fuel supply

mbypass
air bypass
valve

m3 m4 premixed
compressor EV burner
flame film cooled
air combustion
chamber

FIGURE 3.1: GT10B COMBUSTION CHAMBER DESIGN


FIGURE 3.2: BASIC PRINCIPLE OF THE EV LEAN PREMIX BURNER

Since dry low NOx combustion systems are operated in lean premixed mode, they have a limited
operation range. In order to provide stable combustion at part load, one of the following special
means have to be applied:

1. Addition of pilot fuel, which changes the lean premixed flame more into a diffusion flame
with wider extinction limits
2. Staging of burners, this means that at part load burners are switched off and the fuel is
redistributed to the remaining burners in operation, which flame temperature is increased
3. Partially bypassing of combustion air in order to keep the flame temperature in the
combustion zone constant

The disadvantage of option 1 is that with pilot fuel the local flame temperatures can be very high.
This leads to a significant increase in NOx emissions. Burner staging (option 2) can lead to
quenching of the hot operating burners by the air of the unfired cold burners. Therefore, in the
GT10B gas turbine an air bypass system is used, that allows for stable operation in a wide low
NOx range, therefore it is also called emission control system.

The gas turbine at MIT is a dual fuel machine which has a water injection system installed for
NOx reduction with liquid fuel. Therefore, lowering the emissions from 25 vppm @ 15%O2 to
15 vppm @ 15%O2 would be quite challenging. Since After a test on a gas turbine at a Swedish
customer, this system was used in operation with natural gas to lower the emissions from 25 to
15 vppm @ 15%O2. However the amounts of water needed is by a factor of 10 lower than in oil
operation.
4. Emission Control System

4.1 Mechanical Design


The emission control system as shown in figure 3.1 consists of six butterfly valves, which open a
bypass duct between the outer casing and the combustor end section. Within that end section an
annular duct distributes the bypass air in a way that it is added to the shroud cooling air.

pressurized
air line

butterfly
valves
pneumatic
valve drives

FIGURE 4.1: BYPASS CONTROL SYSTEM WITH SIX PNEUMATIC DRIVES


butterfly
valves

electrical connecting
valve drive drive ring

FIGURE 4.2: BYPASS CONTROL SYSTEM WITH ELECTRICAL DRIVE AND


CONNECTING RING

Six pneumatic drive engines were originally used to position the valves (see figure 4.1). In this
configuration each single valve could be controlled. However operation experience showed that
this approach does not have the needed accuracy (see figure 4.3) and may not be reliable enough.
Sometimes problems arose because of sticking pneumatic drives. Therefore a more accurate
solution was introduced, which uses a connecting ring for all valves with an electrical engine
drive. This system proved to operate very reliable and accurate. With this system and the flame
temperature control described below a constant flame temperature can be maintained throughout
the bypass operation range (see figure 4.3).
110
Flame Temperature Variation [%]

105

100
Flame Temperature Set Value

95

Bypass Operation
90 Range Bypass Closed
Bypass fully
opened
pneumatic actuators
85
electric drive

80
50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% 110%
Relative Electrical Power [%¨]

FIGURE 4.3: ACCURACY OF THE FLAME TEMPERATURE CONTROL – PNEUMATIC


DRIVES VS. ELECTRICAL DRIVE

4.2 Control of the System

The combustion air bypass has to be controlled in a manner that the flame temperature of the
reaction zone is kept constant for different gas turbine load and ambient conditions. From the
energy conservation for the combustion chamber (equation 1) it is easily seen that for given
operation conditions (T4 , m4 , mfuel, Tfuel cp =f(T)) the flame temperature is mainly dependent on
the portion of the compressor exit air flow going through the burner and the primary flame zone
m4 :
m? flamec pflameT flame ? m?4c p 4T4 ? m? fuel H u ? m? fuel c pfuelT fuel (1)

m?4 ? m?3 ? m?cooling ? m?bypass (2)

Since the cooling air amount is not affected by the bypass air variation, the control program of
the bypass system uses this fundamental approach to adjust the bypass valve in a way that the
adiabatic flame temperature is constant.

For the operation outside the bypass controlled range, i.e. when the bypass is fully closed for
example at full load, the emission are kept within the limits by additional water injection. This is
not a problem for the customer. On one hand side the efficiency reduces slightly with higher
water flow rate but on the other hand side a power augmentation is gained, which is very
welcome at full load. At very low loads i.e. when the bypass is already fully open the flame is
stabilised in the conventional manner by injecting pilot fuel and operation in more diffusion like
mode. However the bypass system allows low NOx operation down to 65% load, which gives
independent power producers enough flexibility to adapt to their power needs.

4.3 Water Injection

Originally the water injection was supposed to operate at a constant water to fuel ratio, also
named as O:
m?
? ? H 2O (3)
m? fuel

Only at full load O was slightly increased, to cope with the rise in flame temperature in this
point, when the bypass is already fully closed (see figure 4.3). In this way the gas turbine was
operated well with low emission during summertime (see figure 5.1). However during
wintertime, when the water content in the air is very small, the NOx emissions increased. The
first attempt to address this problem was to adjust the bypass emission control also for the
decreased water content in the air under cold ambient conditions by correcting the flame
temperature. However tests on the gas turbine showed that this strategy is not the best approach.
Figure 4.4 shows the emission record over time during the test with reduced flame temperature.
It illustrates how the bypass valve position adapts to load changes. The bypass closes when the
load increases at –370s, this is to redirect more air through the combustor flame zone and to keep
the flame temperature low. Although the flame temperature is at the lower limit, which is
indicated by the rising CO emissions, the NOx emission stay at 15ppm and even rise slightly.

40.00

35.00
Power [MW], Bypass Position [deg],
NOx, CO [ppmv @ 15% O2]

30.00

25.00
Pel
bypass
valves 20.00
power increase Bypass
Position
flame
15.00 NOx
off
CO
10.00

5.00

0.00
-700 -600 -500 -400 -300 -200 -100 0 100 200
Seconds from Flame Off
FIGURE 4.4: RECORD OF POWER, BYPASS POSITION AND EMISSION DURING TEST WITH REDUCED
FLAME TEMPERATURE FOR LOW HUMIDITY COMPENSATION
The flame off, which tripped the machine, showed that the correction of the flame temperature
depending on the water content of the air would not give a stable low NOx operation under dry
and cold ambient conditions. The situation became more evident when the water content of the
air was plotted in form of an O value of the air humidity, i.e. as a ratio to the fuel flow (see figure
4.5). Already at 20°C, the water content of the air at 90% relative humidity is equivalent to a O
value of 0.5. Compared with rather low water injection rates into the combustion chamber, it is
clear, that constant combustion conditions can only be achieved with a correction of the water
injection depending on the ambient humidity. Since the water injection system adds the water in
liquid state and more concentrated to the flame zone, no full compensation is necessary, only
10% of the O-change due to ambient humidity changes has to be corrected. As the results
further in this paper prove this concept lead to a stable low NOx operation also for cold and dry
ambient conditions.

Omega (based on air humidity) for Fuel Air Ratio at Full Load
T_0= -10 - +20°C
0.60
Omega 20°C
Omega 15°C
0.50 Omega 10°C
Omega 5°C
Omega 0°C
0.40 Omega -5°C
Omega -10°C
Omega

Omega of water
0.30 injection with
correction
Omega of water
0.20 injection = 0.065
constant

0.10

0.00
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Ambient Air Humidity [%]

FIGURE 4.5: WATER CONTENT OF THE AIR RELATED TO THE FUEL GAS FLOW AND
PLOTTED AS O = WATER FLOW/FUEL FLOW RATIO
5. Operation Experience

The first time the described emission control system was in operation for a longer period was in
summer 1999. This was after a change of the combustion chamber during a planned inspection in
May 1999. The emission control system was optimised for NOx emissions in the range of 10 to
15 ppm and lowest water injection rate. It was found that already O = 0.065 is enough to reduce
the NOx values below 15vppm@15%O2. Figure 5.1 shows a record of the emissions over six
days. The gas turbine is operated grid parallel and follows the power need of the customer, which
is visible in the strong load changes. The emission control system did adapt well to these
changes. However when the ambient conditions became colder and the humidity reduced the
NOx limit of 15 ppm was exceeded. This forced us to look deeper into that issue. During an
emission inspection in November 1999 the flame temperature was corrected to cope with the
reduced humidity. During this test series we gained the experience that adaptation of the flame
temperature is not sufficient to cope with strong changes in the ambient humidity. Therefore the
new humidity correction concept, as described under 4.3, was chosen to adapt the emission
control better for changes in ambient humidity.

POWER NOx CO AMB. TEMERATURE AMB. HUMIDITY

30.00 100.00

90.00
25.00

AMBIENT TEMPERATURE [°F]


80.00
EMISSIONS [vppm@15%O2],

AMBIENT HUMIDITY [%]


FULL LOAD 70.00
20.00
POWER [MW]

60.00
NOx
15.00 50.00
LIMIT
s
40.00
CO
10.00
LIMIT 30.00
daily emission
calibration 20.00
5.00
10.00

0.00 0.00
9.12.99 9.13.99 9.14.99 9.15.99 9.16.99 9.17.99 9.18.99 9.19.99 9.20.99
12:00 AM 12:00 AM 12:00 AM 12:00 AM 12:00 AM 12:00 AM 12:00 AM 12:00 AM 12:00 AM
TIME

FIGURE 5.1: EMISSION RECORD DURING SEPTEMBER ’99

After the humidity correction had been worked out it was installed during another visit on the
site in January 2000. It was found that already a minor increase in the water to fuel ratio is
sufficient to cope with the reduction of water content in the air during wintertime. The maximum
water to fuel ratio could be limited to 0.125 with the base value still at 0.065. The results shown
in figure 5.2 indicate that even under cold conditions and low loads the emission control system
can keep the NOx emissions within the limits. This is even more important, since the energy
consumption at wintertime varies only between 14 and 20 MW the gas turbine runs always at
lower part load (full load for 32°F is 23MW). In contradiction to the low electrical load the heat
load is high. Therefore the customer uses additional duct burners, which add 1 to 2 ppm to the
NOx emissions. Even under this though conditions the emission control of the GT10 proved to
work reliable.

45.00
POWER
AMB. TEMERATURE
40.00
NOx
EMISSIONS [vppm@15%O2], POWER [MW],

35.00 CO
AMBIENT TEMPERATURE [°F]

30.00

25.00 FULL LOAD

20.00

NOx
15.00
LIMIT
CO
10.00 LIMIT
5.00

0.00
1.31.00 2.1.00 2.1.00 2.2.00 2.2.00 2.3.00 2.3.00 2.4.00 2.4.00
12:00 PM 12:00 AM 12:00 PM 12:00 AM 12:00 PM 12:00 AM 12:00 PM 12:00 AM 12:00 PM
TIME

FIGURE 5.2: EMISSION RECORD DURING FEBRUARY 2000

6. Conclusions

The GT10 air bypass emission control system was extensively tested and optimised. For changes
in ambient air humidity the correction of the water/fuel ratio to compensate the humidity
influence gave much better stability in operation than correction of the flame temperature.
The operation experience with emission control system confirms:

?? It is possible to operate the GT10 gas turbine with minor water injection (about 10% of the
fuel flow rate) with NOx emissions < 15 vppm@15%O2
?? The system operates stable and reliable within a load range of 65% to 100% load
?? The emission control system can cope with strong changes in ambient conditions
(temperature and humidity)