Catalytic combustion is one means of meeting increasingly strict emissions requirements for ground-based gas turbine engines for power generation. In conventional homogeneous combustion, high flame temperatures and incomplete combustion lead to emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and carbon monoxide (CO), and in lean premixed systems unburned hydrocarbons (UHC). However, catalyst-assisted reaction upstream of a lean premixed homogeneous combustion zone can increase the fuel/air mixture reactivity sufficiently to provide low CO/UHC emissions. Additionally, catalytic combustion extends the lean limit of combustion, thereby minimizing NOx formation by lowering the adiabatic flame temperature. An overview of this technology is presented including discussion of the many materials science and catalyst challenges that catalytic combustion poses ranging from the need for high temperature materials to catalyst performance and endurance. Results of ongoing development efforts at Precision Combustion, Inc. (PCI) are presented including modeling studies and experimental results from both bench-scale and combustor-scale studies.
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