|Abstract in English:|
The aim of this research work is to investigate the use of straight vegetable sunflower oil (SFO), a liquid biofuel, in a Micro-Gas Turbine (MGT). Compared to conventional diesel engines, micro-gas turbines represent a very reliable, clean and performing small scale cogeneration technology. Commercial gas turbines have already been tested with unconventional fuels, such as biomass derived fuels; however, research work on using Straight Vegetable Oil (SVO) as fuel in MGTs are really scarce.
The chemical and physical characteristics of SVO are different from fossil diesel oil and rather far from the common technical specifications for gas turbine liquid fuels, not only in terms of kinematic viscosity and Lower Heating Value, but also as regards other issues as contaminant levels and composition, fuel cold properties, ignition properties, etc. Therefore, particular attention has to be given to the atomization and evaporation phases, as these are the most critical steps to achieve stable and efficient long term operation.
An analysis based on numerical correlations available from literature was initially adopted for the analysis of the atomization process, supported by CFD modeling to qualitatively investigate the flow pattern. Control parameters were revised and set so to produce a sunflower oil spray having evaporation time comparable to diesel, and minor adaptations to the fuel line were designed and installed on the MGT.
Tests with blends and straight vegetable oil were carried out to assess the difference between the standard and the modified machine, fed by diesel, in terms of exhaust emissions, power output and performances, that were similar to the standard diesel-fed MGT. Measured exhaust emissions were as expected well below those typical of diesel engines of the same size fed with VO. The experimental campaign confirmed that it is possible to operate a MGT fed with SVO through the adoption of minor modifications and by adjusting control parameters.