Conceptual design of a hydrogen fueled dry low NOx combustor for heavy duty gas turbine is presented in this paper, including a complete experimental validation, with focus on both NOx emissions and operability. Effort was first provided in the identification of viable conceptual solutions: a technology screening has been carried out, balancing both innovation content and proven experience of each concept. A look to alternative solutions coming from literature has been given too. Three burner concepts have been selected, designed and procured to be tested into a reduced scale rig, arranged to mimic main features of a small size gas turbine combustor, in terms of combustion air inlet temperature, hot gases residence times and amount of cooling: atmospheric pressure operation was considered a proper approximation to actual operating conditions for a conceptual design phase. The three solutions have been first characterized in terms of emissions against equivalence ratio, pilot percentage and burner pressure drop. At the same time, safe operation margins to both flashback and combustion instabilities onset have been identified for both pure hydrogen and pure natural gas feeding options. Results, while recommending different development paths for each of the investigated concepts, clearly indicate the most mature among them, allowing authors to address specific operability detailed investigations on it: flashback and flame holding resistance tests were thus performed, demonstrating that such a solution is mature for a preliminary full scale arrangement design and experimental characterization.

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