Cardiff School of Engineerings Gas Turbine Research Centre (GTRC) is located in Port Talbot, South Wales. The GTRC facilitates novel research studies into the functionality of new combustion systems, components and fuels under elevated conditions of temperature and pressure, as would be experienced within a gas turbine (GT) engine during operation.The facility is one of very few of its kind in the world and houses two test rigs capable of running a wide range of liquid and gaseous fuels.
At the moment some 20% of the worlds (50% in Wales) total electricity supply is derived from GT based systems primarily fired on natural gas. As the price and demand for natural gas increases, the use of alternative and renewable fuels will become increasingly important for power generators and large scale process industries.
Renewable gaseous fuels include those derived via the gasification and pyrolysis of biomass, biologically derived products from Anaerobic Digestion (AD) and renewable hydrogen. Alternative fuels include syngases produced from the gasification of coal and the waste gases from steel making and refinery plants such as Tata at Port Talbot. These fuels combust differently to natural gas and as such research is required to determine the operational issues for GTs running on these fuels. As such there is a requirement to be able to mix multiple gas streams on site at the GTRC to vary fuel composition to investigate its effects on the combustion process.
Funding has been secured to build a dedicated gas control system capable of delivering an equivalent 1MWth synthesised gas to the test rigs. The work will include the design and manufacture of multiple gas stream control system and concrete hard standing cable of storing gas bottle packs.
This facility can also enable CO2 addition into the fuel or combustion air upstream of the combustion chamber for the investigation of NOx reduction techniques. There is also the capability of altering the C2+ concentration in natural gas for the investigation of fuel variability effects. In 2013, an additional dedicated line will be introduced for pure Oxygen to investigate oxygen enhanced combustion in gas turbines for power generation.