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    Synthetic Fuels for Stationary Gas Turbines: A California Perspective

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    The state of California currently depends extensively on imported oil and natural gas from other states and foreign countries. To ensure uninterrupted service to industrial and utility company engines, alternative fuels to petroleum are being investigated. Sponsored by the California Energy Commission, an evaluation was conducted by the Acurex Corp. of coal and coal-based fuels for use in stationary gas turbines. A broad range of coal-derived solids, gases, and liquids is reviewed in this paper. Candidate fuels are identified which do not affect engine operation or exceed California environmental regulations—particularly for nitrogen oxides (NOx) pollutants.

    Beneficiated coals, which contain significant amounts of ash, cause unacceptable turbine blade erosion and corrosion problems. Therefore, coal solids cannot be considered viable turbine fuels at this time. However, many gas and liquid synthetic fuels exhibit handling and combustion characteristics similar to those of petroleum fuels. Only minor hardware modifications are necessary to burn these fuels. For fuels with high nitrogen content, such as unhydrotreated direct liquids, advanced combustors are required to control NOx emissions and to meet California's stringent environmental standards.

    Methanol was selected as the preferred synthetic fuel. Methanol produces low emissions and requires only minor equipment changes. Testing is under way to quantify methanol's NOx emission characteristics.


    alternative fuels, synthetic fuels, methanol, gas turbines, California nitrogen oxides (NO, x, ) emissions requirements

    Author Information:

    Anderson, SJ
    Project engineer and project manager, Acurex Corp., Mountain View, Calif.

    Jackson, MD
    Project engineer and project manager, Acurex Corp., Mountain View, Calif.

    Smith, KD
    Manager, Synthetic Fuels Office, California Energy Commission, Sacramento, Calif.

    Committee/Subcommittee: D02.E0

    DOI: 10.1520/STP29508S