This presentation details a pathway that KAUST’s Clean Combustion Research Center (CCRC) is following to accelerate the conversion of commercial gas turbines from natural gas to carbon-free ammonia-hydrogen blends. In collaboration with Saudi Aramco, we are doing experiments from fundamental- to industrial-scale to understand how to achieve flame stabilization and low nitric oxide (NO) emission, simultaneously. In practice, this involves tailoring the reactivity of the fuel blend by adopting suitable proportions of ammonia and hydrogen and mitigating NO formation by designing new injection strategies. This is particularly challenging because ammonia flames are prone to generate large amounts of NO via fuel-NOx pathways. Experiments that we conducted in an atmospheric generic swirl burner and in a more practical swirl burner at elevated pressure showed that near-stoichiometric or slightly-lean burning must be avoided and that, instead, rich or very-lean equivalence ratios are desirable. Guided by the results of these experiments at different scales, we are now ready to implement these innovative solutions in a commercial micro gas turbine (Ansaldo Energia T100, 330 kWt-100 kWe), which was recently commissioned at CCRC.
Research Scientist, Clean Combustion Research Center, KAUST, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia