Aircraft Turbine Engine Emissions

Engineers are introducing new combustion technology that has dramatically reduced emissions from gas turbine engines. Lowering exhaust emissions from gas turbine, especially oxides of nitrogen (NOx), continue to require improvement. Most of the research has centered around the combustion section of the engine. New technology with unique combustor design has greatly reduced emissions. One manufacturer has a design called the Twin Annular, Pre-mixing Swirler (TAPS) combustor. Most advanced designs rely on a method of pre-mixing the fuel/air before it enters the combustion burner area. In the TAPS design, air from the high-pressure compressor is directed into the combustor through two high-energy swirlers adjacent to the fuel nozzles. This swirl creates a more thorough and leaner mix of fuel and air, which burns at lower temperatures than in previous gas turbine engine designs. Most of the NOx is formed by the reaction of oxygen and nitrogen at high temperatures. The NOx levels are higher if the burning fuel/air mixture stays at high temperatures for a longer time. Newly designed combustors also produce lower levels of carbon monoxide and unburned hydrocarbons. The increases in gas turbine engine component efficiencies have resulted in fewer emissions from gas turbine engines.