This paper describes the development phases of an annular type combustor for heavy-duty gas turbine applications. High cycle efficiency and low emissions are required over a wide range of load conditions, with the consequence of reducing margin to thermo-acoustic instability onset and lean blow-out. In addition, in lean premixed combustors, the increased fuel air mixing times required to keep emissions low, may lead to undesired ignition or flashback into the fuel burner ducts.
All these aspects are matter of this work and focus is on fuel burner design modifications which allowed dry emissions reduction while maintaining a sufficiently wide safe operation window.
A synergic effort has been put in place, involving experimental campaigns and CFD simulations, with the purpose of assessing design changes initially and doing screening. In the meanwhile, numerical practices have taken benefits form the experience growth. Results of past work on similar components has been leveraged too.
Test campaign involved different scale facilities, from single burner through full annular combustor up to full scale prototype engine. The progressive reduction of viable option for combustor components design changes, due to high impact of such modifications during the gas turbine late development phases, forced designers to concentrate efforts onto fuel burner optimization, looking for efficient ways to implement modifications and assess their effectiveness of combustion system performances.
Emissions trends, blow-out and flashback margin for several burner designs are reported. Numerical analysis results are also shown, which revealed to be well aligned with the experimental outcomes, allowing burner optimized solution to be identified. Finally, characterization with respect to fuel gas composition is shown as well as sensitivity to different operating conditions.