Gas turbines with a combustion system for hydrogen operation offer a low carbon solution to support the stability of the energy grid. This provides a solution capturing the needs for energy storage, in the form of hydrogen, and flexible power generation. Fuel flexibility is a key requirement to reduce the operational risks in case hydrogen is not available, whereby hydrogen can be combined with other conventional or alternative fuels. A key issue to achieve 100% hydrogen combustion with low emissions is to prevent flashback. To address the challenges, a project consortium was set-up consisting of gas turbine equipment manufacturers, academia and end-users. The major objective is to develop a cost-effective, ultra-low emissions (sub 9 ppm NOx and CO) combustion system for gas turbines in the 1–300 MW output range, including the 1.85 MWe OPRA OP16 gas turbine.
At the center of this innovative high-technology project is the patented and novel aerodynamic trapped vortex FlameSheet™ combustion technology platform. Burner concepts based on an aerodynamically trapped vortex flame stabilization have a higher resistance towards flame blowout than conventional swirl stabilized burners. This paper will present the results of the first phase of the project, whereby atmospheric testing of the upgraded FlameSheet™ combustor has been performed operating on natural gas, hydrogen and mixtures thereof. The optimized combustor configurations demonstrated a wide load range on 100% hydrogen, and these results will be presented.