An Experiment to Study the Gaseous Emissions of a Gas Turbine Operated with Biodiesel as Fuel
Rochelle, David Lee
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A continually growing awareness of the finiteness of fossil fuel availability coupled with an ever better understanding of the negative effects of fossil fuel consumption has motivated a search for fuels that can be used in place of fossil fuels, but which can be derived from sustainable sources such as growable organic matter. While much work has been done to understand these substances and apply them on a larger scale (indeed, biodiesel is commonly included in commercially available diesel fuels at fuel pumps); the unique nature of the operating environment for aviation fuels has complicated the application of these substances to the aviation community. To study this problem further, the student has directed a project to construct a functional jet engine test cell with Larsen Motorsports. Construction was achieved over the course of two years, providing valuable design, engineering, and fabrication experience for dozens of college students. Using this test cell, an experiment has been conducted that explores the gaseous emissions of an axialflow turbojet engine operated using a spectrum of biodiesel/Jet-A blends as fuel. Data from this experiment demonstrates the possibility for significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from a turbine operated on these blends, and even the potential for a reduction in oxides of nitrogen. Results were compared to equilibrium chemistry modeling conducted using NASA’s CEA software tool. A significant change in engine performance and response was noted between different batches of biodiesel, likely due to differing compositions of the fuel.