A method of controlling NOx emission from combustors. The method involves the controlled addition of a diluent such as nitrogen or water vapor, to a base fuel to reduce the flame temperature, thereby reducing NOx production. At the same time, a gas capable of enhancing flame stability and improving low temperature combustion characteristics, such as hydrogen, is added to the fuel mixture. The base fuel can be natural gas for use in industrial and power generation gas turbines and other burners. However, the method described herein is equally applicable to other common fuels such as coal gas, biomass-derived fuels and other common hydrocarbon fuels. The unique combustion characteristics associated with the use of hydrogen, particularly faster flame speed, higher reaction rates, and increased resistance to fluid-mechanical strain, alter the burner combustion characteristics sufficiently to allow operation at the desired lower temperature conditions resulting from diluent addition, without the onset of unstable combustion that can arise at lower combustor operating temperatures.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT INTEREST
This invention was made with Government support under contract no. DE-AC04-94AL85000 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to Sandia Corporation. The Government has certain rights in the invention.