Reducing Emissions from Gas Turbine Engines

Gas turbine engines play a very important role in the industrial sector, for example, power generation, aviation, and marine propulsion. But, on the other hand, these engines are commonly known to have emission levels that are quite high, particularly oxides of nitrogen (NOx). Amid the growing concerns of air pollution and climate change, engineers have been working on the development of new combustion technologies that can reduce greenhouse gas emission significantly.

Advancements in Combustion Technology for Reducing Emissions from Gas Turbine Engines

The Focus on Combustion Section

To address the problem of emissions from gas turbine engines, most work for the time being has been concentrated on the fuel combustion part. This is the part of the engine, where the fuel is burned to release the required power. The main aim of engineers is to find effective solutions for combustion process optimization in order to inhibit the formation of pollutants, especially NOx.

The Twin Annular, Pre-Mixing Swirler (TAPS) Combustor

One of the most advanced designs in reducing emissions is the Twin Annular, Pre-Mixing Swirler (TAPS) combustor. This design incorporates a unique approach to fuel and air mixing before they enter the combustion burner area. In the TAPS design, air from the high-pressure compressor is directed into the combustor through two high-energy swirlers located adjacent to the fuel nozzles. This swirling motion creates a more thorough and leaner mixture of fuel and air, which produces lower combustion temperatures than those designed before. This is important since the major NOx formation is from the reaction of oxygen and nitrogen molecules that are at a high temperature. The TAPS combustor, through its ability to lower peak temperatures during combustion, becomes very helpful in design of engines with low formation of NOx.

Additional Benefits of Newly Designed Combustors

Another advantage of the change in combustion design is that it helps to reduce the level of NOx emissions. They are the outcome of lower CO and HC burning, which are the main pollutants. These emission improvements are established by a couple of the developments in the field of engineering and the improved fuel-air mixing.

Improved Component Efficiencies

The technologies of gas turbine engines which are used for reduction of emissions have been continuously improved by focusing on betterment in the component efficiencies. So, the designers of engines apply their knowledge and experience to improve the performance of different engine parts such as compressors and turbines, which results in the overall increase of engine efficiency. In other words, the fuel consumption is much lesser when the same amount of power is being produced that in turn leads to lower emissions.

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