An apparatus and method to sense the onset of combustion stability is presented. An electrode is positioned in a turbine combustion chamber such that the electrode is exposed to gases in the combustion chamber. A control module applies a voltage potential to the electrode and detects a combustion ionization signal and determines if there is an oscillation in the combustion ionization signal indicative of the occurrence of combustion stability or the onset of combustion instability. A second electrode held in a coplanar but spaced apart manner by an insulating member from the electrode provides a combustion ionization signal to the control module when the first electrode fails. The control module broadcasts a notice if the parameters indicate the combustion process is at the onset of combustion instability or broadcasts an alarm signal if the parameters indicate the combustion process is unstable.
FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
This invention was made in part with Government support under CRADA No. 02N-050 between Woodward Governor Company and the National Energy Technology Laboratory of the United States Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in this invention.