Energy and climate change policies associated with the continuous increase in natural gas costs pushed governments to invest in renewable energy and alternative fuels. In this perspective, the idea to convert gas turbines from natural gas to syngas from biomass gasification could be a suitable choice. Biogas is a valid alternative to natural gas because of its low costs, high availability and low environmental impact. Syngas is produced with the gasification of plant and animal wastes and then burnt in gas turbine combustor. Although synfuels are cleaned and filtered before entering the turbine combustor, impurities are not completely removed. Therefore, the high temperature reached in the turbine nozzle can lead to the deposition of contaminants onto internal surfaces. This phenomenon leads to the degradation of the hot parts of the gas turbine and consequently to the loss of performance. The amount of the deposited particles depends on mass flow rate, composition and ash content of the fuel and on turbine inlet temperature (TIT). Furthermore, compressor fouling plays a major role in the degradation of the gas turbine. In fact, particles that pass through the inlet filters, enter the compressor and could deposit on the airfoil.
In this paper, the comparison between five (5) heavy-duty gas turbines is presented. The five machines cover an electrical power range from 1 MW to 10 MW. Every model has been simulated in six different climate zones and with four different synfuels. The combination of turbine fouling, compressor fouling, and environmental conditions is presented to show how these parameters can affect the performance and degradation of the machines. The results related to environmental influence are shown quantitatively, while those connected to turbine and compressor fouling are reported in a more qualitative manner.
Particular attention is given also to part-load conditions. The power units are simulated in two different operating conditions: 100 % and 80 % of power rate. The influence of this variation on the intensity of fouling is also reported.