The design and initial rig testing of an ultra-low NOx gas turbine combustor primary zone are described. A lean premixed, swirl-stabilized combustor was evaluated over a range of pressures up to 10.7 × 105 Pa (10.6 atm) using natural gas. The program goal of reducing NOx emissions to 10 ppm (at 15% O2) with coincident low CO emissions was achieved at all combustor pressure levels. Appropriate combustor loading for ultra-low NOx operation was determined through emissions sampling within the primary zone. The work described represents a first step in developing an advanced gas turbine combustion system that can yield ultra-low NOx levels without the need for water injection and selective catalytic reduction.

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