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Applied Thermal Engineering 24 (2004) 16551663

www.elsevier.com/locate/apthermeng

Alternative fuels for industrial gas turbines (AFTUR)


a,* b
Iskender G
okalp , Etienne Lebas
a
Centre National de la Recherche Scientique, Laboratoire de Combustion et Systemes Reactifs,
45071 Orleans Cedex 2, France
b
Institut Francais de Petrole, Division Genie des Procedes, BP 3, 69390 Vernaison Cedex, France
Received 12 July 2003; accepted 31 October 2003
Available online 20 January 2004

Abstract
Environmentally friendly, gas turbine driven co-generation plants can be located close to energy con-
sumption sites, which can produce their own fuel such as waste process gas or biomass derived fuels. Since
gas turbines are available in a large power range, they are well suited for this application. Current gas
turbine systems that are capable of burning such fuels are normally developed for a single specic fuel (such
as natural gas or domestic fuel oil) and use conventional diusion ame technology with relatively high
levels of NOx and partially unburned species emissions. Recently, great progress has been made in the clean
combustion of natural gas and other fossil fuels through the use of dry low emission technologies based on
lean premixed combustion, particularly with respect of NOx emissions. The objective of the AFTUR
project is to extend this capability to a wider range of potentially commercial fuel types, including those of
lower caloric value produced by gasication of biomass (LHV < 25% natural gas in line with the European
Union targets) and hydrogen enriched fuels. The paper reports preliminary progress in the selection and
characterisation of potential, liquid and gas, alternative fuels for industrial gas turbines. The combustion
and emission characteristics of the selected fuels will be assessed, in the later phases of the project, both in
laboratory and industrial combustion chambers.
 European Communities, 2004. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Gas turbines; Alternative fuels; Biofuels; Hydrogenated fuels; DLE technologies

*
Corresponding author. Fax: +33-238-25-78-75.
E-mail address: gokalp@cnrs-orleans.fr (I. G
okalp).

1359-4311/$ - see front matter  European Communities, 2004. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.applthermaleng.2003.10.035
1656 I. Gokalp, E. Lebas / Applied Thermal Engineering 24 (2004) 16551663

Nomenclature

FOD domestic fuel oil


FT Fuel FisherTropsh fuel
MES sunower methyl ester
ME5S mixture of 5% sunower methyl ester in FOD
ME30S mixture of 30% sunower methyl ester in FOD
MER rapeseed methyl ester
ME5R mixture of 5% rapeseed methyl ester in FOD
ME30R mixture of 30% rapeseed methyl ester in FOD
DME di-methyl ether

1. Introduction

The objective of the AFTUR project (ENK5-CT-2002-00662) is to contribute to the optimi-


sation of alternative fuel powered gas turbines for heat and power generation as part of a sus-
tainable energy production policy.
Environmentally friendly, gas turbine driven co-generation plants can be located close to en-
ergy consumption sites, which can produce their own fuel such as waste process gas or biomass
derived fuels. Since gas turbines are available in a large power range, they are well suited for this
application. Current gas turbine systems that are capable of burning such fuels are normally
developed for a single specic fuel (such as natural gas or domestic fuel oil, FOD) and use
conventional diusion ame technology with relatively high levels of NOx and partially unburned
species emissions. In contrast, great progress has already been made in the clean combustion
of natural gas and other fossil fuels through the use of dry low emission technologies based on
lean premixed combustion, particularly with respect of NOx emissions. The scientic and tech-
nical objective of the AFTUR project is to extend this capability to a wider range of potentially
commercial fuel types, including those of lower caloric value produced by gasication of bio-
mass (LHV < 25% natural gas in line with the European Union targets) and hydrogen enriched
fuels.
The use of liquid and gaseous fuels from biomass will indeed help full the Kyoto targets
concerning GHG emissions. In addition, to make industrial processes more environmentally
friendly, waste gases could be used as a potential gas turbine fuel. The AFTUR project, which
started on February 2003 for 42 months, aims therefore to assess the combustion performances of
these new fuels for clean and ecient energy production using industrial gas turbines. Table 1 lists
the partners working on the project.
The present paper reports the preliminary progress in the selection and characterisation of
potential, liquid and gas, alternative fuels for industrial gas turbines. The combustion and
emission characteristics of the selected fuels will be assessed, in the later phases of the project,
both in laboratory and industrial combustion chambers.
I. Gokalp, E. Lebas / Applied Thermal Engineering 24 (2004) 16551663 1657

Table 1
Partners of the AFTUR project
Partner no. Organisation name Short name Country code
1 CNRS-LCSR CNRS.LCSR FR
2 Turbomeca sa Turbomeca.de FR
3 Nuovo Pignone S.p.A. NP IT
4 Alstom Power UK ABAL UK
5 INSA de Rouen INSARO.Coria FR
6 Universite de Rouen Urouen.Coria FR
7 CNRS-Coria CNRS.Coria FR
8 Institut Francais du Petrole IFP.PE FR
9 QINETIQ Limited QINETIQ.CAT.FST UK
10 AEA Technology Engineering Software Ltd AEA.CFX UK
11 Consorzio Perlarea di Ricera Scientica e AREA.CAR.PS IT
Technologica di Trieste
12 Instituto di Ricerche Sulla CombustioneCNR CNR.IRC IT
13 TPS Termiska Processer AB TPS SW
14 Agricultural University of Athens AUATH.NRMAE GR
15 University Twente THT.TE NL
16 Instituto Superior Tecnico IST.DEM PT
17 Universita Degli Studi Roma Tre UROM3.DIMI IT
18 Universad de Zaragoza UZAZ.SII.AMF ES
19 Lunds Universitet ULUND.LIT.DP.DCP SW
20 Craneld University CIT.SE UK
21 University of Manchester Institute of Science UUMIST.DME UK
and Technology
22 Universidade da Beira Interior UBEI.AST.AS PT
23 Auxitrol sa AUXI.RD FR

2. Selection of potential alternative fuels for industrial gas turbines

As already introduced, the scientic and technical objective of the AFTUR project is to extend
the gas turbine sphere of application to a wider range of potentially commercial fuel types,
including biofuels and waste process gases. These fuels have typically low to medium caloric
values and a wide range of other properties. The AFTUR project aims to establish the appro-
priate selection procedure of the liquid and gaseous fuels with the development of a Multicriteria
Decision Support System, the atomisation and spray characteristics of liquid fuels, the combus-
tion and emission characteristics of the selected alternative fuel ames, the sooting tendency and
NOx emission properties of the fuels under various operation conditions, and the adaptability of
existing conventionally fuelled combustors for use with the selected alternative fuels.
The rst objective of the AFTUR project is to select a spectrum of alternative fuels for
industrial gas turbines. The selection will be done according to availability, composition, physical
properties, and costs of the fuel. As a rst step to this aim, a list of potential alternative gaseous
and liquid fuels for gas turbines is established:

vegetable oils
esters
1658 I. Gokalp, E. Lebas / Applied Thermal Engineering 24 (2004) 16551663

ash pyrolysis oils


ethanol
methanol
synthetic fuels (biomass to liquids)
di-methyl-ether
biogas of gasication
biogas of waste methanisation
biogas of slow pyrolysis
industrial process gases rich in hydrogen

For each fuel, a detailed and representative manufacturing process is explained with the mass
balances, the energy requirements, and the capital and eventually the operational expenditures.
The present and future production capacities as well as the thermodynamic, physical and chemical
characteristics of the fuel are presented to complete the study. Some of this information is
summarized below.

2.1. Esters of vegetable oils

Fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) are made from renewable resources such as plant oils and
animal fats. In the European Union, FAMEs are mostly vegetable oil methyl esters from rapeseed
and sunower oils. Because they have similar properties to Diesel fuel, FAMEs are alternative
fuels capable of being directly used in a turbine and can be blended in various proportions with
Diesel fuel (generally 5% or 30% FAME in Diesel fuel). Properties of FAME may dier slightly
from Diesel fuel in terms of energy content or physical properties. Two types of processes exist to
produce methylester-biodiesel: the homogeneous catalysis process and the heterogeneous catalysis
process.

2.2. Biogas of slow pyrolysis

Pyrolysis consists in heating solid biomass (generally waste or wood) in the absence of air to
produce solid, liquid or gaseous fuels. Depending on the conditions, the solid, liquid or gaseous
products are maximised (slow pyrolysis produces a high yield of gas and solids). For our study,
biomass used in the slow pyrolysis unit is wood and the reactor is a rotary kiln with indirect
heating.

2.3. Biogas of methanisation

Anaerobic digestion occurs naturally when high concentrations of wet organic matter accu-
mulate in the absence of dissolved oxygen. Anaerobic micro-organisms digest the organic material
producing carbon dioxide and methane that can be collected and used as fuel (biogas). The
stabilised solid residue, which averages 4060% by weight of the feedstock, can be used as soil
conditioner material (compost). Anaerobic digester systems, also called fermentation or meth-
anisation, use closed reactors to control the anaerobic process and to collect all of the biogas fuel
produced. The yield of biogas depends on the composition of the waste feedstock and the con-
I. Gokalp, E. Lebas / Applied Thermal Engineering 24 (2004) 16551663 1659

ditions within the reactor. For example, the rate of anaerobic digestion can be increased by
operating in certain temperature ranges. The modern anaerobic digestion treatment processes are
engineered to control the reaction conditions to optimise digestion rate and fuel production.

2.4. Industrial gases rich in hydrogen

The industrial gases are rejections from reneries or chemical industries. Instead of burning o
these gases in are stacks or in steam boilers, those gases rich in hydrogen could be used as fuels in
industrial gas turbines. Examples of such gases are: renery are gases, steam reforming fuel gas,
FisherTropsh fuel gas.

3. Comparison of the characteristics of alternative fuels

The following gures present some physico-chemical characteristics of liquid and gas fuels
envisaged as alternative fuels for gas turbines. They are taken from the literature [114] listed in
the References section.

3.1. Comparison of liquid fuel characteristics

3.1.1. Low heating values of liquid fuels (Fig. 1)


The Low Heating Values of FT (FisherTropsh) fuel, pure methyl ester (ME), ME 5%, ME
30% and oils are between 37,500 and 44,500 kJ/kg and are nearly equivalent to LHV of domestic
fuel oil. Methanol and ash pyrolysis oil have the lowest LHV.

3.1.2. Viscosities of liquid fuels (Fig. 2)


The viscosities of ethanol, methanol, pure ME and ME 5% are lower than the viscosity of FOD
(equal to 8.0 mPa.s). These low viscosities allow to spray the fuels more easily. Unlike the other
fuels, the vegetable oils and the ash pyrolysis oil have a very high viscosity which can pose a

50000
45000
40000
LHV (kJ/kg)

35000
30000
25000
20000
15000
10000
5000
0
D

ER
S

l
l
el

0R

l
E
R

ES

oi
oi
0S

no

no
FO

E5

M
fu

E5

s
E3

d
M

ha

ha
E3

si
M

ee
FT

Et

ly
M

et
M

es

ro
M
ap

py
R

h
as
Fl

Liquid fuels

Fig. 1. Low heating values of liquid fuels.


1660 I. Gokalp, E. Lebas / Applied Thermal Engineering 24 (2004) 16551663

Viscosity at 20 C (mPa.s)
120
100
80
60
40
20
0

l
D

R
ES
l

ER

oi
S

l
l
no

oi
no

oi
FO

E5
E5

er
M
ha

s
M
ha

d
M

si
M

ee
Et

et

ly
lo

es

ro
M

nf

py
ap
Su

ash
Fl
Liquid fuels

Fig. 2. Viscosities at 20 C of liquid fuels.

problem to spray the oils in the combustion chamber of gas turbines; however, these fuels may be
heated up to decrease their viscosity, as was shown for rapeseed pure oil in the ACREVO project
of the FAIR program (FAIR-CT-95-0627).

3.1.3. Densities of liquid fuels (Fig. 3)


The densities of most of the liquid fuels are ranging between 690 and 916 kg/m3, close to the
density of FOD (equal to 830860 kg/m3 ). The ash pyrolysis oil has a higher density (equal to
12001240 kg/m3 ) compared to those of the other fuels.

3.1.4. Molar weight of liquid fuels (Fig. 4)


The molar weights (MW) of hydrocarbon fuels are much lower than biofuels. This property
also inuences the vaporisation behaviour of liquid fuels, where heavier fuels have lower va-
porisation rates. However, vaporisation rates tend to similar values under high temperature
conditions.

1400
Density at 20 C (kg/m3)

1200
1000
800
600
400
200
0
l
l

l
0S

oi
no

oi
E

S
el

ER
ES
0R
R

l
no

oi
M

E5
fu

E5

s
D

d
ha

E3

si
ha

E3

M
D

er
ee
FO

M
FT

ly
Et

w
et

es

ro
lo
M

py
ap

nf
Su
R

h
as
Fl

Liquid fuels

Fig. 3. Densities at 20 C of liquid fuels.


I. Gokalp, E. Lebas / Applied Thermal Engineering 24 (2004) 16551663 1661

1000
900
800

MW (g/mol)
700
600
500
400
300
200
100
0

l
ES

ER
l

l
D

l
oi
E

no

oi
no

oi
FO

s
M

er
ha

M
ha

d
D

si

ee

w
ly
Et
et

lo
es
ro
M

nf
py

ap

Su
R
h
as
Fl
Liquid fuels

Fig. 4. Molar weights of liquid fuels.

8.0
7.0
C/H (% w. / % w.)

6.0
5.0
4.0
3.0
2.0
1.0
0.0
D

l
l

l
l

ER
l
no
no

oi
oi

oi
FO

ha
ha

d
s

er

M
D

ee
si

w
Et
et

ly

es
lo
M

ro

nf

ap
py

Su

R
h
as
Fl

Liquid fuels

Fig. 5. C/H ratio (w./w.) of liquid fuels.

3.1.5. C/H ratio (w./w.) of liquid fuels (Fig. 5)


The high C/H ratio (high carbon content) of the ash pyrolysis oil from wood, the vegetable
oils and the methyl esters may pose a problem of deposits in the combustion chamber of gas
turbines.

3.2. Comparison of gaseous fuel characteristics

Fig. 6 shows that the LHVs of industrial gases (steam reforming gas, renery gas and FT-
process o-gas, of O2 -blown gasication, and of wood slow pyrolysis gas) are higher than the
LHV of natural gas. The reason for this is the high hydrogen content of these fuels (between 19
and 45% vol.). On the contrary, the LHVs of waste methanisation gas and especially of air-blown
gasication gas are very low; also they are both generated at atmospheric pressure and need to be
compressed before their use in gas turbines.
1662 I. Gokalp, E. Lebas / Applied Thermal Engineering 24 (2004) 16551663

60000

50000

LHV (kJ/m3)
40000
30000
20000

10000

as

as
s
s

as
as
as
ga
ga

ga

f-g

og

og
og
og
g
al

of
y

bi

bi
bi
in

er

bi
ur

ss

n
rm

n
in

s
n
at

tio

tio
si

ce
tio
ef
fo
N

ly

ca
R

ro
ca
re

is
ro

ifi
-p

n
ifi

py
m

ha

as
FT
as
ea

ow

et

rg
2 g
St

m
Sl

ai
O

te

d
d

as

oo
oo

W
W

Gaseous fuels

Fig. 6. Low heating values of gaseous fuels.

12.0
C/H (% w. / % w.)

10.0
8.0
6.0
4.0
2.0
0.0
as
...

...

...
s

s
s

as
ga

ga
ga

bi

bi
og

bi
f-g
n

n
bi

n
al

y
g

tio

tio
of

tio
er
in
ur

s
rm

sa

ca
in

si
ss

ca
at

ly
ef

ni

ifi
N

ce
fo

ifi
ro
R

as
ha

as
re

ro

py

rg
et

2 g
-p
m

ow
m

FT
ea

ai

O
te

Sl

d
St

d
oo
as

oo
W
W

Gaseous fuels

Fig. 7. C/H ratio (w./w.) of gaseous fuels.

Fig. 7 shows that, except the steam reforming gas, all the gaseous fuels have a higher C/H ratio
than the natural gas.

4. Conclusions and future work

This paper briey presented the global objectives of the AFTUR project on the identication,
selection and characterisation of various alternative fuels for industrial gas turbines. Liquid and
gaseous alternative fuels have been identied and they are partly characterized by using existing
data on their physico-chemical properties.
In the next phase of the project, the atomisation, combustion and emission properties of these
fuels will be characterized under laboratory ame conditions by using advanced laser diagnostics
and computational techniques.
I. Gokalp, E. Lebas / Applied Thermal Engineering 24 (2004) 16551663 1663

Acknowledgements

The nancial support of the European Commission to the AFTUR project through the con-
tract ENK5-CT-2002-00662 is greatly acknowledged. The authors also thank Dr. Petros Pilavachi
for his ecient support and scientic monitoring of the AFTUR project.

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