Development of the control and ignition systems on a high pressure gas turbine combustor

Carlos Alejandro Valdez, University of Texas at El Paso


The ignition and control systems of a laboratory scale high-pressure gas turbine combustor were developed in the present work. This work provides a detailed description of the design, development and testing of the remote control system developed for a High Pressure Gas Turbine Combustor (HPTC). The combustor has the capability to operate at pressures up to 1.5 MPa and temperatures up to 2400 K. It is also designed for a maximum air and fuel flow rates of 81.93 g/s and 35.77 g/s respectively. The fuel used will be CH4 for the early experiments but it is designed to operate using a mixture of H2-CO with a hydrogen fuel composition variation of up to 30 percent. The HPTC also has optical accessibility capabilities in its combustion chamber with a converging nozzle that restricts the exhaust flow. It also has three circular ports that can be used as instrumentation ports to obtain real time data from the combustion chamber. LabVIEW was used as the controlling interface for the user. A detailed outline of the LabVIEW programming is also described. LabVIEW controlled the proportional valves (ball valves), and solenoid valves; it also provided the user with data from mass flow meters as well as pressure transducers. Both proportional and solenoid valves are 1.91 cm and can withstand pressures of up to 1551 kPa. Thermal mass flow meters were used to obtain the flow in the lines with a range from 200-1000 L/min with an accuracy of 1.5 percent. Pressure transducers with a range from 0 to 2068 kPa were also positioned on the lines in order to know the line pressures. The ignition system design, development and testing is also described with its integration to the High Pressure Gas Turbine Combustor. A modified spark plug was used to provide the igniter with an ignition source. A diffusion flame was used to ignite the main line using methane as the fuel that utilizes the air in the combustion chamber as the oxidizer. Testing included a functional test of the equipment, and pressure testing prior to performing the ignition test. The system has the capability to withstand the maximum pressure allowed by the air compressor, which is 758 kPa. Ignition testing was performed at lean conditions using equivalence ratios from 0.53-0.79. Both systems demonstrated to be reliable and stable. Future work on this combustor includes flashback and flame stability of hydrocarbons at high pressures.

Subject Area

Mechanical engineering|Energy

Recommended Citation

Valdez, Carlos Alejandro, "Development of the control and ignition systems on a high pressure gas turbine combustor" (2012). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1533255.