Bioethanol combustion in an industrial gas turbine combustor: simulations and experiments

J.L.H.P. Sallevelt, Artur Krzysztof Pozarlik, Martin Beran, L. Axelsson, Gerrit Brem

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Combustion tests with bioethanol and diesel as a reference have been performed in OPRA's 2 MWe class OP16 gas turbine combustor. The main purposes of this work are to investigate the combustion quality of ethanol with respect to diesel and to validate the developed CFD model for ethanol spray combustion. The experimental investigation has been conducted in a modified OP16 gas turbine combustor, which is a reverse-flow tubular combustor of the diffusion type. Bioethanol and diesel burning experiments have been performed at atmospheric pressure with a thermal input ranging from 29 to 59 kW. Exhaust gas temperature and emissions (CO, CO2, O2, NOx) were measured at various fuel flow rates while keeping the air flow rate and air temperature constant. In addition, the temperature profile of the combustor liner has been determined by applying thermochromic paint. CFD simulations have been performed with ethanol for five different operating conditions using ANSYS FLUENT. The simulations are based on a 3D RANS code. Fuel droplets representing the fuel spray are tracked throughout the domain while they interact with the gas phase. A liner temperature measurement has been used to account for heat transfer through the flame tube wall. Detailed combustion chemistry is included by using the steady laminar flamelet model. Comparison between diesel and bioethanol burning tests show similar CO emissions, but NOx concentrations are lower for bioethanol. The CFD results for CO2 and O2 are in good agreement, proving the overall integrity of the model. NOx concentrations were found to be in fair agreement, but the model failed to predict CO levels in the exhaust gas. Simulations of the fuel spray suggest that some liner wetting might have occurred. However, this finding could not be clearly confirmed by the test data
Original languageEnglish
Article number071501
Pages (from-to)-
JournalJournal of engineering for gas turbines and power
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • METIS-301295
  • IR-89554


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