US20020148229A1 - System and method for modular control of a multi-fuel low emissions turbogenerator - Google Patents

System and method for modular control of a multi-fuel low emissions turbogenerator Download PDF

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US20020148229A1
US20020148229A1 US10/136,893 US13689302A US2002148229A1 US 20020148229 A1 US20020148229 A1 US 20020148229A1 US 13689302 A US13689302 A US 13689302A US 2002148229 A1 US2002148229 A1 US 2002148229A1
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Prior art keywords
fuel
method
pilot
mode
injectors
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US10/136,893
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Guillermo Pont
James Dickey
Ed Edelman
Mark Gilbreth
Jeffrey Willis
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Capstone Turbine Corp
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Capstone Turbine Corp
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Priority to US09/453,825 priority Critical patent/US6405522B1/en
Application filed by Capstone Turbine Corp filed Critical Capstone Turbine Corp
Priority to US10/136,893 priority patent/US20020148229A1/en
Publication of US20020148229A1 publication Critical patent/US20020148229A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F02COMBUSTION ENGINES; HOT-GAS OR COMBUSTION-PRODUCT ENGINE PLANTS
    • F02CGAS-TURBINE PLANTS; AIR INTAKES FOR JET-PROPULSION PLANTS; CONTROLLING FUEL SUPPLY IN AIR-BREATHING JET-PROPULSION PLANTS
    • F02C9/00Controlling gas-turbine plants; Controlling fuel supply in air- breathing jet-propulsion plants
    • F02C9/26Control of fuel supply
    • F02C9/28Regulating systems responsive to plant or ambient parameters, e.g. temperature, pressure, rotor speed

Abstract

A system and method for modular control of a multi-fuel turbogenerator include separate controllers for controlling fuel supplied to the combustor and power output from the generator. The power controller generates a fuel command based on the required turbine exhaust temperature, where the fuel command is independent of the particular fuel being used. Fuels may include natural gas, diesel, propane, waste gas, or gasoline, for example. The power controller communicates the fuel command and the airflow or calculated air/fuel ratio to the fuel controller which selects an appropriate mode of operation for the injectors. Injector operating modes include one or more pilot modes where fuel is not mixed with air prior to combustion, and one or more premix modes where fuel is highly mixed with air prior to combustion. The fuel controller implements closed-loop feedback control of a fuel metering device and controls the fuel injectors in the appropriate operating mode based on the fuel command, the energy content of the fuel being used, and the air/fuel ratio.

Description

    TECHNICAL FIELD
  • The present invention relates to a system and method for controlling a multi-fuel turbogenerator using a modular control architecture for power and fuel control. [0001]
  • BACKGROUND ART
  • Turbogenerators typically include a permanent magnet generator coupled to a turbine to convert heat energy produced by combustion of a fuel into electrical energy for distribution to a load, such as a utility grid. A compressor, driven by the turbine, provides compressed air which is heated by the exhaust gases of the combustion process in a recuperator (heat exchanger) prior to being combined with the fuel in the combustor. [0002]
  • Low emission combustion systems have been developed which introduce excess air into the combustor to lower the combustion temperature and reduce production of nitrogen oxides. The introduction of excess air increases the air/fuel ratios (AFR) to values which approach the weak extinction limit of the fuel. When operating in this low-emissions mode, the fuel is well mixed with the air prior to ignition to produce a homogenous mixture to sustain lean-burning combustion which has a lower peak temperature than stoichiometric combustion. Operation of the turbogenerator in this premixed mode is designed for high generator electrical loads which have associated higher turbine and compressor speeds. Transitions between a premixed operating mode and diffusion modes which service lower loads with higher AFRs must be carefully controlled to provide sustained stable combustion and avoid flame outs. The transition between operating modes is highly dependent upon the particular fuel which is being utilized. Various fuels may include natural gas, diesel, propane, waste gas, and gasoline, for example, which have very different combustion characteristics. [0003]
  • DISCLOSURE OF INVENTION
  • The present invention provides a modular control architecture to facilitate control of a low emissions turbogenerator so it may be utilized with a variety of different fuels. While control of the system is preferably separated into physically different electronics components and associated hardware which define a power control subsystem and a fuel control subsystem, alternative embodiments employ a modular control architecture within a single controller. For the discrete controller embodiments, the discrete controllers of the power and fuel subsystems communicate via an external intra-controller bus. In both the discrete controller and integrated controller embodiments, the power controller determines an appropriate fuel command to maintain a predetermined turbine exhaust temperature that is based on the current engine speed. The fuel controller selects an appropriate operating mode for one or more injectors based on the AFR. Operating modes include a low-emissions premix mode where fuel is highly mixed with air prior to delivery into the primary combustion zone and a pilot or diffusion mode where fuel is directly delivered via a pilot tube to the primary combustion zone without substantial mixing. The fuel controller determines and controls the quantity of fuel provided to the selected injector(s) based on the fuel command communicated by the power controller and the characteristics of the particular fuel being used, such as energy content. Because the fuel command generated by the power controller is in units independent of the particular fuel being utilized, the power control subsystem may be utilized with various fuel subsystems corresponding to a variety of liquid and/or gaseous fuels. The fuel control subsystem controls a fuel metering device based on energy content of the particular fuel being utilized such that the same fuel metering hardware may be used with a variety of fuels having different energy content. [0004]
  • A fuel controller according to the present invention controls the operating mode (premix or pilot) and the number of injectors operating in pilot or premix mode based on the fuel command and required air/fuel ratio. The required air/fuel ratio may be determined directly based on the required air and fuel determinations, or indirectly based required power. Transitions between operating modes include corresponding hysteresis bands to eliminate oscillation between adjacent modes. The combustor ignitor can be energized during transitions to improve combustion stability. In one embodiment, an increased quantity of fuel is provided to one or more injectors during transitions between operating modes by temporarily increasing the target turbine exhaust temperature which provides additional combustion stability. Preferably, the fuel subsystem includes three injectors and six operating modes including three pilot or diffusion modes and three premix modes. The pilot modes utilize a single injector for low electrical loads and all three injectors for moderate electrical loads. When operating in the pilot modes, fuel is delivered through a pilot tube of the injectors to the combustion zone. A premix mode is selected to service high electrical loads and includes operating all three injectors such that the fuel mixes with air within the injector prior to delivery to the combustion zone within the combustor. [0005]
  • A modular fuel control subsystem according to the present invention includes an electronic fuel controller, a fuel metering/controlling device such as a proportioning valve or pump, and associated temperature and pressure sensors. In addition, the fuel subsystem may include appropriate switching valves, fuel injectors, fuel manifold, and corresponding fuel lines, all of which may be selected depending upon the particular fuel being utilized. [0006]
  • The present invention provides a number of advantages relative to prior art strategies. For example, the present invention allows individual fuel systems to be changed to a new fuel without a corresponding change to the engine or engine controller. The modular control strategy and architecture facilitates independent development and testing of the power controller and fuel controller. Precise monitoring of AFR assures that the minimum fuel is correctly controlled to provide combustion stability and accurate switching between different modes of injector operation. This provides high efficiency low emissions operation for a variety of fuels. [0007]
  • The above advantages and other advantages, objects, and features of the present invention, will be readily apparent from the following detailed description of the best mode for carrying out the invention when taken in connection with the accompanying drawings. [0008]
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a block diagram illustrating one embodiment for a modular multi-fuel turbogenerator control according to the present invention; [0009]
  • FIG. 2 is a partial cut-away view of a low emissions turbogenerator for use with a modular control system or method according to the present invention; [0010]
  • FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of a gaseous fuel injector capable of operation in a pilot mode or premix mode for use with a modular turbogenerator control according to the present invention; [0011]
  • FIG. 4 is a block diagram illustrating operation of one embodiment of a power controller for a modular turbogenerator control according to the present invention; [0012]
  • FIG. 5 is a block diagram illustrating operation of one embodiment of a fuel control system for a modular turbogenerator control according to the present invention; [0013]
  • FIG. 6 is a diagram illustrating transitions between injector control modes including hysteresis bands for a modular turbogenerator control according to the present invention; [0014]
  • FIGS. [0015] 7-10 are timing or sequencing diagrams illustrating injector control for transitions between a premix mode and pilot modes within a fuel system controller of a modular turbogenerator control according to the present invention;
  • FIG. 11 is a graph illustrating operating mode transitions based on generator output power as a function of normalized ambient temperature in a system using a modular turbogenerator control according to the present invention; [0016]
  • FIG. 12 is a graph illustrating air/fuel ratio (AFR) at full power as a function of ambient temperature for two turbine exhaust temperatures in a modular turbogenerator control according to the present invention; [0017]
  • FIG. 13 is a graph illustrating variation of AFR over a range of generator output power for two turbine exhaust temperatures in addition to selection of operating modes for a modular turbogenerator control according to the present invention; and [0018]
  • FIG. 14 is a flow chart illustrating operation of a system or method for modular control of a turbogenerator according to the present invention.[0019]
  • BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION
  • Referring now to FIG. 1, a block diagram illustrating one embodiment for a modular multi-fuel turbogenerator control system according to the present invention is shown. System [0020] 20 preferably includes a modular fuel control subsystem 22, a modular power control subsystem 24, and a turbogenerator 26. Power control subsystem 24 includes a first controller 28 which performs a variety of functions related to generation and distribution of electrical power produced by electrical generator 30 which is provided to a load, indicated generally by reference numeral 32. Load 32 may be an isolated load or a utility power grid, for example.
  • Power controller [0021] 28 provides a distributed generation power networking system with bi-directional power converters connected via a common DC bus for permitting compatibility between various energy components. Power controller 28 controls the power converters which operate as bi-directional switching converters to provide an interface for a specific energy component to the DC bus. Power controller 28 regulates the DC bus voltage, turbine exhaust temperature (TET), inverter power flow, and power flow of generator 30. A more detailed description of a power controller which may be used to perform the functions of power controller 28 in a modular control according to the present invention may be found in U.S. patent application No. 09/207,817 filed Dec. 8, 1998 commonly owned by the assignee of the present invention entitled “POWER CONTROLLER,” the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.
  • Controller [0022] 28 communicates with a second controller 34 of fuel control subsystem 22 via a communications bus, indicated generally by reference numeral 36. Preferably, communications bus 36 is an external intra-controller communications bus which conforms to a standard bus architecture, such as the RS-485 architecture. Communications bus 36 is used to exchange various information between controller 28 and controller 34 as explained in greater detail with reference to FIGS. 4-5.
  • Fuel controller [0023] 34 receives a fuel command in units independent of the particular fuel being utilized from power controller 28, and controls a fuel delivery subsystem 38 to provide an appropriate quantity of fuel from a source 40 to at least one injector 42. Depending upon the particular application, fuel control subsystem 22 may control delivery of a single fuel, or multiple fuels which are used based on availability. The modular fuel control system of the present invention facilitates use with a variety of fuels including high pressure natural gas, low pressure natural gas, diesel, propane, waste gas, and gasoline, for example. Depending upon the particular fuel being utilized, fuel delivery subsystem 38 may include various types of fuel metering/controlling devices. In one embodiment, fuel delivery subsystem 38 includes a shut-off valve 44 positioned upstream relative to a first pressure transducer 46 (upstream pressure sensor), proportioning valve 48, and a second pressure transducer 50 (downstream pressure sensor). Alternative fuel delivery subsystems may be utilized in place of fuel delivery subsystem 38. For example, for liquid fuels, a pressurization and control system which utilizes helical flow pumps such as described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,752,380 may be used. For gaseous fuels, one or more helical flow compressors (also referred to as vortex compressors or radial flow compressors) may be used as described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,819,524.
  • Fuel controller [0024] 34 controls the quantity and/or pressure of fuel delivered to injector solenoid/manifold block 52. Likewise, fuel controller 34 controls the solenoids of injector block 52 to control delivery of the fuel to one or more injectors 42. In one preferred embodiment, three injectors are used, only two of which are specifically illustrated in FIG. 1. Each injector includes two fuel delivery lines 54 which are independently controllable via injector solenoid block 52 to provide a pilot mode and premix mode of operation. In the pilot mode, fuel is delivered through a corresponding pilot line 56 to a pilot tube of injectors 42 such that the fuel is delivered to the combustion zone of the combustor without being mixed with air. In a premix mode of operation, fuel is delivered via a corresponding premix fuel line 58 to a mixing chamber within injectors 42 where it is mixed with air prior to delivery to the primary combustion zone. Injector operation is explained in greater detail with reference to FIG. 3 and in U.S. Pat. No. 5,850,732, which is hereby incorporated by reference.
  • A partial cut-away view of a low emissions turbogenerator for use with a modular control system or method according to the present invention is shown in FIG. 2. Turbogenerator [0025] 26 includes a permanent magnet generator 70 driven by a power head 72. Fuel delivered by injectors 42 is burned in combustor 74 with the exhaust gasses driving turbine wheel 76 of turbine 78 which is connected to compressor 80 by bearing rotor (shaft) 82. Compressor 80 is in turn connected to permanent magnet rotor or sleeve 84 via a tie rod 86.
  • In operation, ambient air is inducted between outer sleeve [0026] 88 and permanent magnet generator stator 90 as indicated generally by arrow 92. The inducted air passes through stator cooling fins 94 before reaching impeller 96 of compressor 80. Rotation of impeller 96 produces compressed air which then passes through heat transfer section 98 of recuperator 100 where it is heated by exhausting exhaust gasses. A portion of the air then travels toward injectors 42 where it may be combined with the fuel within a mixing chamber of injectors 42 prior to entering combustion zone 102 when operating in a premix mode. Alternatively, fuel may be delivered directly to combustion zone 102 via a pilot tube (best illustrated in FIG. 3) such that it is not substantially mixed with air prior to combustion. Hot exhaust gasses are expanded by turbine wheel 78 and flow between combustor dome 104 and exhaust gas dome 106 prior to passing through heat transfer section 98 and being exhausted through exhaust 108.
  • The low-emissions combustion system is designed to produce low emissions when operating at or near full power. This is accomplished using the premix mode of operation which provides very lean combustion and reduced flame temperatures. When operating in the premix mode, the system operates near its flammability or extinction limit for the particular fuel being utilized. One or more pilot modes are provided to increase the overall operating range of the system. However, transitions between the premix and pilot modes must be carefully controlled to sustain combustion. The system is designed with a large primary zone volume which provides longer residence times to achieve more complete combustion of CO (carbon monoxide) and THC's (total hydrocarbons). The lower flame temperatures produced in the lean-burn premix mode reduce production of oxides of nitrogen. [0027]
  • In a preferred embodiment, the combustion system is operated in three different operating modes depending on the current operating conditions. The operating modes include at least one pilot mode and at least one premix mode. Mode selection is primarily based on the desired air/fuel ratio (AFR) as explained in greater detail below. Preferably, multiple pilot modes are provided. The first pilot mode may include operation of only one of injectors [0028] 42. A second pilot mode would include operation of two injectors 42 while the third pilot mode would include operation of all three injectors 42. The mode of operation is controlled by four solenoid valves as illustrated and described with reference to FIG. 1.
  • During off loading and low to medium power operation, the AFR normally results in operation of the combustion system in the third pilot mode which utilizes all three injectors [0029] 42 operating in the pilot mode. During idle, start-up, or severe off loading, the AFR normally results in operation in the first pilot mode using only a single injector 42. When appropriate for the AFR, all three injectors 42 can be operated in a three premix mode where the fuel and air are highly mixed within a mixing chamber of each injector 42 prior to discharge into the combustion chamber as illustrated and described in greater detail with reference to FIG. 3. Alternatively, a single premix or dual premix mode can be selected in one injector or two injectors, respectively, to provide the appropriate AFR.
  • A cross-sectional view of a gaseous fuel injector capable of operation in a pilot mode or premix mode for use with a modular turbogenerator control according to the present invention is illustrated in FIG. 3. Injector [0030] 42 is mounted to the outer wall of the recuperator using flange 120. A coupler 122 is used to couple premix fuel inlet tube 124 to outer tube 126 of injector 42. Fuel passes through a fuel distribution centering ring 130 into premixing chamber 132 where it is combined with air passing through various apertures 134 prior to being discharged from injector 42 into the primary combustion zone. When operating in the pilot mode, fuel is delivered via pilot fuel inlet 136 through pilot tube 128 to pilot flame holder 138 where it is discharged from injector 42 into the primary combustion zone of the combustor. As such, when operating in the pilot mode, fuel is not substantially mixed with air prior to delivery to the combustion zone.
  • FIG. 3 provides only one example of an injector which may be used to provide pilot mode and premix mode operation. The injector illustrated in FIG. 3 is preferably used for a gaseous fuel. Various other injectors which may be used with gaseous or liquid fuels are described in detail in U.S. Pat. No. 5,850,732. As will be appreciated by one of ordinary skill in the art, the modular control system of the present invention is independent of the particular injector or combustion system, which may vary depending upon the particular fuel or fuels being utilized. [0031]
  • FIG. 4 is a block diagram illustrating operation of one embodiment of a power controller fuel control system for use in a system or method according to the present invention. As will be appreciated by one of ordinary skill in the art, power controller [0032] 24 preferably performs control functions in addition to those illustrated which are not directly related to the modular control system of the present invention and therefore not shown for clarity and convenience. Power controller 24 is preferably a microprocessor based controller with associated volatile and non-volatile memory, conditioning circuitry, and the like. As one of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate, the various functions performed by power controller 24 as illustrated in FIG. 4, may be performed by hardware, software, or a combination of hardware and software. Control logic may be implemented in terms of instructions executed by a microprocessor, or may be implemented in hardware via application specific integrated circuits (ASICs). Similarly, various functions may be completed simultaneously or in parallel while other functions require appropriate sequencing to accomplish the features, advantages, and goals of the present invention.
  • Power controller [0033] 24 determines the current airflow using various sensors 150. In one preferred embodiment, an ambient temperature sensor 152, an ambient pressure sensor 154, and a speed sensor 156 are provided for use in determining the current airflow. Speed sensor 156 may determine the rotational speed of a compressor wheel or equivalently the turbine wheel. In one embodiment, signals provided by sensors 150 are used to access a lookup table 158 to determine the current airflow. Preferably, lookup table 158 is stored in a computer-readable storage medium, i.e. a non-volatile memory associated with, or accessible by power controller 24. Depending upon the particular application, airflow may be alternately obtained by an appropriate sensor rather than being computed as illustrated in FIG. 4. For example, a venturi with associated pressure sensors may be used to directly calculate airflow.
  • The current airflow, either measured or calculated, (W[0034] air) is used to determine limits for the fuel command as represented by block 160, and to determine the calculated air/fuel ratio (AFR) as represented by block 162. To establish limits for the fuel command, values corresponding to the energy content of the particular fuel being utilized, represented by reference numeral 163, and the maximum AFR to sustain combustion, represented by reference numeral 164, are communicated by fuel controller 22 via intra-controller communications bus 36 to power controller 24. These values are used in block 160 to determine the lower limit of the fuel command, preferably in terms of energy flow.
  • As also illustrated in FIG. 4, power controller [0035] 24 preferably communicates with a temperature sensor 168 which monitors the turbine exhaust temperature (TET). A desired or target TET is determined by power controller 24 depending upon the particular operating conditions. When the system is started, the target TET is ramped up from the light-off temperature to a final temperature set point over a period of time to warm up the engine. Once the final TET set point has been reached as determined by the TET feedback signal monitored by temperature sensor 168, that temperature is maintained substantially constant throughout the electrical load cycle of the system for steady-state operation, or maintained according to a predetermined value that is based on speed. The feedback signal is compared to the TET target at block 170 to produce an error signal. A closed loop feedback controller 172 is used to generate a signal which reduces the error toward zero. In one embodiment, closed-loop controller 172 is a proportional-integral-differential (PID) controller. As described in greater detail below, the target TET may be modified during transitions between operating modes to improve combustion stability. Operation of a turbogenerator to a turbine exit or exhaust temperature (TET) is described in U.S. patent application No. 09/080,892 filed May 18, 1998 commonly owned by the assignee of the present invention entitled “Turbogenerator/Motor Control System,” the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.
  • Block [0036] 174 generates a fuel command in units independent of a particular fuel being combusted in the turbogenerator based on a required electrical load. In one embodiment, the fuel command generated by block 174 is in terms of energy flow (BTU/sec). A minimum energy flow value is provided by block 160 based on the energy content and maximum AFR for the particular fuel being used as indicated by fuel controller 22. The fuel command is also limited to a maximum energy flow, represented by reference numeral 176 based on the maximum capacity of the fuel metering or delivery device. The maximum capacity is also communicated by fuel controller 22 over intra-controller communications bus 36. The fuel command is used by block 162 to calculate the AFR. The fuel command is also communicated from power controller 24 to fuel controller 22 via the intra-controller communications bus 36. Likewise, the computed AFR is provided to fuel controller 22 via the intra-controller communications bus 36. Preferably, the maximum AFR value for each injector operating mode is empirically determined for each fuel type.
  • Thus, power controller [0037] 24 will not generate a fuel command that would cause the AFR to exceed the particular limits of the fuel system that would cause the engine to flame out. This is assured by calculating the airflow and dividing by the maximum AFR value received from fuel controller 22. The result of this calculation provides the minimum fuel flow which is then divided by the energy content of the fuel to produce the minimum energy flow required to sustain combustion. The minimum energy flow provides the lower limit of the commanded fuel output to fuel controller 22. Likewise, an upper limit is provided based on values indicated by fuel controller 22 such that power controller 24 will not demand more fuel than the particular fuel system can supply.
  • FIG. 5 is a block diagram illustrating operation of one embodiment of a fuel control subsystem for a modular turbogenerator controller according to the present invention. Similar to the power controller [0038] 24, fuel controller 22 preferably includes a microprocessor based controller which performs various functions specific to the fuel control subsystem using appropriate hardware and/or software. Fuel controller 22 receives a fuel command, preferably in terms of energy flow, from power controller 24. The fuel command is processed by fuel controller 22 as indicated by block 180 to convert the fuel command to a quantity of fuel to be delivered to at least one injector based on the energy content of the fuel. Various fuel constants, such as the energy content of the fuel, may be stored in a memory 182 associated with, or in communication with fuel controller 22. Once the energy command has been converted to a fuel command, fuel controller 22 controls fuel delivery subsystem 38 to deliver the appropriate quantity of fuel to one or more injectors. In one embodiment, a fuel command (Wf), fuel temperature, and fuel pressure across the proportioning valve are used to determine an appropriate valve position using a lookup table 186. These values are provided by corresponding pressure sensors 188, 190, and a fuel ambient temperature sensor 192.
  • The valve position or pump speed (depending on what metering device is used) is controlled by a corresponding feedback controller [0039] 194 which preferably implements a PID feedback control using valve position feedback from an appropriate sensor 196. The valve position or pump speed is controlled by controlling the current supplied to the valve or pump, respectively, as indicated by block 198 to reduce the error toward zero. To provide a flexible control strategy which can be used with a variety of different fuels, the present invention allows the user to enter various fuel constants or fuel indices based on the physical fuel characteristics associated with the particular fuel being utilized as represented by block 182 of FIG. 5. In one preferred embodiment, physical characteristics of a gaseous fuel are incorporated into the control functions in the form of two indices as follows: FUEL I1 = SG * ( 1327 HHV vol ) 2 and FUEL I2 = HHV vol 1668 * SG
    Figure US20020148229A1-20021017-M00001
  • where SG represents the specific gravity of the fuel with respect to air and HHV[0040] vol represents the fuel gas higher heating value in Btu/SCF. The FUELI1 index is a parameter related to the fuel density and energy content and is used in controlling the fuel metering device to deliver an appropriate quantity of fuel to provide the commanded energy flow. The FUELI2 index is a parameter proportional to the fuel gas higher heating value on a mass basis and is used to modify the operating mode transitions based on AFR as described in greater detail below.
  • In one embodiment, the FUEL[0041] I1 index parameter is used to modify the commanded position of the fuel proportioning valve so that the same fuel metering hardware can be utilized with multiple fuels. Preferably, empirical data relative to valve position and fuel flow is stored in the form of a look-up table in a computer readable storage media accessible by the fuel controller. The empirical data may be stored in the form of sampled data with intermediate points being interpolated. Alternatively, an equation representing the proportioning valve response may be stored. The equation may be analytically determined based on the construction of the proportioning valve, or empirically determined using a curve fitting routine based on collected data.
  • Fuel controller [0042] 22 also receives the AFR from power controller 24 via the intra-controller communications bus 36. The AFR is used to select or determine an appropriate operating mode for one or more injectors as represented by block 200. In one embodiment of the present invention, three different operating modes are provided. Block 200 controls the selection of the operating mode as seen in FIG. 6, in addition to the sequencing of injectors during transitions between operating modes as illustrated and described in greater detail with reference to FIGS. 7-10. In this embodiment, the operating modes include a premix mode 202 which energizes all of the premix injectors in such a way as to supply fuel to the premix chamber through the coupler, and a pilot mode which is selected by controlling one or more injectors to supply fuel to the pilot tubes of the injectors as indicated generally by reference numeral 204.
  • A diagram illustrating transitions between control modes based on AFR including hysteresis bands for a modular turbogenerator control according to the present invention is provided in FIG. 6. The diagram illustrates a first pilot mode region [0043] 210, a first hysteresis band 212, a second pilot mode region 214, a second hysteresis band 216, and a premix mode region 218. Hysteresis bands 212 and 216 are provided to eliminate oscillation between adjacent operating modes when the operating region is near a transition line. Hysteresis bands 212 and 216 may be empirically determined (or theoretically calculated) based upon the particular combustion system and fuel being utilized.
  • Operating mode transitions are indicated by transition lines [0044] 220, 222, 224, and 226. The actual values of AFR (whether determined directly or indirectly based on generator output power) which correspond to transition lines 220, 222, 224, and 226 preferably vary based on the particular fuel being utilized. In one embodiment, a fuel index parameter, FUELI2, is used to adjust the transition values relative to a default or standard value as described above. Transitions are completed over a predetermined period of time as illustrated and described with reference to FIGS. 7-10. To determine the current operating mode within hysteresis bands 212 and 216, it is necessary to determine the previous mode and/or direction of transition as indicated generally by transition diagram 228. Line 230 represents idle conditions while line 232 represents full power conditions. Beginning at idle, the system is operating in the first pilot mode region 210 which preferably energizes a single injector. As the electrical load increases, the operating mode follows line 234, whereas a decrease in electrical load follows line 236. For example, as the electrical load increases and transition line 222 is crossed, the operating mode changes from the first pilot mode (one pilot) to the second pilot mode (three pilot). A subsequent reduction in the load would follow line 236 such that the first pilot mode is not activated until transition line 220 is crossed. The control operates in a similar fashion with respect to hysteresis band 216.
  • In one preferred embodiment, operating mode transitions are limited among a subset of available injector operating modes based on the energy content of the fuel being utilized. As the energy of the fuel decreases, so does flame stability. As such, users may select a low BTU or medium BTU mode to improve flame stability at the cost of increased emissions and/or lower efficiency. Low BTU operation typically requires higher fuel gas supply pressures which may be supplied by an external compressor, for example. In addition, selection of a low BTU fuel operating mode to increase flame stability preferably limits operation of the injectors to premix mode only with all injectors energized. In addition, light-off TET may be increased during transitions between open loop light and closed loop acceleration to further improve stability during lighting. Likewise, operation in a medium BTU fuel mode preferably includes only a subset of the available injector operating modes. For example, a medium BTU mode preferably prevents switching to single injector operation under all operating modes, operating in the multiple injector pilot and premix modes. [0045]
  • FIGS. [0046] 7-10 are timing or sequencing diagrams which illustrate injector control during transitions between operating modes within a fuel system controller of a modular turbogenerator control according to the present invention. FIG. 7 illustrates control of three injectors during a transition from a single pilot mode to a three pilot mode. FIG. 8 illustrates a control sequence for a transition in the opposite direction from three pilot mode to single pilot mode. FIG. 9 illustrates alternative control sequencing strategies for transitions between three pilot mode and a premix mode. FIG. 10 illustrates alternative control sequencing for transitions from premix mode to three pilot mode.
  • In FIGS. [0047] 7-10, the time axis is used to illustrate the relative time sequence of activating or deactivating each injector which is capable of operating in a pilot mode (PI) or in a premix mode (PR). The sequencing of the injectors during a transition between operating modes may depend upon the particular construction of the combustion system. In a preferred embodiment, injectors are positioned within the combustor to tangentially inject fuel into the combustor. For this arrangement, it is desirable to follow the swirl pattern created by the injectors when transitioning from single pilot mode to three pilot mode. This allows the additional injectors to be ignited by the flame produced by the single injector active during the first pilot mode. Conversely, when transitioning from a higher to a lower load, corresponding to a transition from three pilot mode to single pilot mode, it is desirable to sequence injector deactivation to oppose the swirl pattern to improve combustion stability. A further improvement to combustion stability may be provided by energizing the ignitor during transitions. Alternatively, or in combination, additional fuel may be provided during transitions to promote combustion stability. Preferably, additional fuel is provided by increasing the target or desired turbine exhaust temperature (TET).
  • In the single pilot mode, a single injector (PI[0048] 1) is active at time t0 as illustrated in FIG. 7. To transition to the dual pilot mode, the second injector (PI2) is energized at time t1 while the third injector (PI3) is energized or activated at time t2. This sequencing pattern follows the swirl or rotational pattern created by the tangential injection of fuel within the combustor.
  • A transition from the dual pilot mode to the single pilot mode having a sequence which opposes the swirl pattern is illustrated in FIG. 8. In this transition, the first injector (PI[0049] 1) is deactivated at time t1 followed by the third injector (PI3) at time t2 while the second injector (PI2) remains on.
  • Alternative sequencing strategies are illustrated by dotted lines to transition from a second pilot mode to the premix mode in FIG. 9. For the premix mode, all of the premix injectors (PR[0050] 1, PR2, and PR3) may be activated at time t1, t3, or alternatively t5 by supplying fuel to the coupler of the injectors. As indicated in the diagram, each alternative includes some overlap with operation of the injectors in the pilot modes. For example, if the premix injectors are activated at time t1, all three injectors have fuel supplied to both the premix port and pilot port simultaneously for varying amounts of time. In this scenario, the first pilot injector (PI1) is deactivated at time t2 while the second and third pilot injectors (PI2 and PI3) are deactivated at time t4 and t6, respectively. The second and third alternatives for transitioning from the premix mode provide less overlap where fuel is supplied to both the pilot and premix ports.
  • FIG. 10 illustrates alternative strategies for transitioning from the premix mode to the three pilot mode. Each of these strategies follows the swirl pattern created by the tangential injection of fuel within the combustor. This facilitates ignition of the pilot flames for the injectors. As illustrated, fuel supplied to the premix ports may be shut off at time t[0051] 2, t4, or t6Injectors 1, 2, and 3 are switched to pilot mode at time t1, t3, and t5, respectively.
  • A graph illustrating operating mode transitions based on generator output power as a function of normalized ambient temperature is shown in FIG. 11. FIG. 11 illustrates lines of constant AFR which may be used to control the operating mode of the injectors. Line [0052] 250 represents the full rated power of the engine. Line 252 corresponds to the AFR to transition from the premix mode to the three pilot mode. Line 254 corresponds to the transition line to transition from the three pilot mode to the single pilot mode. When moving from lower to higher power, transition lines 256 and 258 are used to switch from the single pilot mode to the three pilot mode, and from the three pilot mode to the premix mode, respectively. As such, injector operating modes may be determined, if desired, based on generator power output which is essentially an indirect determination of AFR rather than operating based on a direct determination as described above with reference to FIG. 6.
  • A graph illustrating air/fuel ratio at full power as a function of ambient temperature for two turbine exhaust temperatures is shown in FIG. 12. Line [0053] 270 represents AFR for a TET of about 1050F. Line 272 corresponds to the AFR for a TET of about 1100F. Line 274 represents the transition line between the premix mode corresponding to region 276 and the three pilot mode corresponding to region 278. As this graph illustrates, the present invention allows full power operation in the low-emissions premix mode over the entire range of anticipated ambient temperatures.
  • FIG. 13 is a graph illustrating variation of AFR over a range of generator output power for two turbine exhaust temperatures. The graph also provides transition lines for a selection of operating modes for a modular turbogenerator control according to the present invention. The graph of FIG. 13 illustrates the variation of AFR for TET of about 1050F as represented by line [0054] 288, and 1100F as represented by line 290. As the system is operated near full rated power, it transitions into premix mode region 292 from three pilot mode region 294 with an appropriate hysteresis band as previously described. Likewise, as the power level is decreased, the system transitions from the premix mode to the second pilot mode when the AFR exceeds the corresponding transition line 296.
  • A flowchart illustrating operation of a system or method for modular control of a turbogenerator according to the present invention is illustrated in FIG. 14. The current airflow is determined as represented by block [0055] 302. This determination may be made using a lookup table referenced by ambient air temperature, air pressure, and turbine or compressor speed as indicated generally by reference numeral 304. Alternatively, current airflow may be determined directly by measuring the actual airflow through the turbogenerator as represented by block 306.
  • The desired energy flow is determined as represented by block [0056] 310. This desired energy flow is based on a turbogenerator operating parameter such as turbine exhaust temperature and is generated in units which are independent of the particular fuel being used by the system. This provides the separation of control functions to achieve modularity. Preferably, the fuel command is limited by lower and upper limits based on a minimum energy flow to sustain stable combustion, and a maximum energy flow based on the maximum fuel flow and energy content of the fuel that the metering device is capable of delivering as represented by block 312.
  • From the current airflow [0057] 302 and desired energy flow 310, the AFR is calculated as represented by block 300. Both the AFR and desired energy flow 310 are communicated from the power controller or first controller to the fuel controller or second controller as represented by block 316. Preferably, the fuel command is communicated via an external communications bus. A quantity of fuel to be supplied to the combustor is determined, as represented by block 318, based on the fuel energy content 319 in the second controller. Fuel supplied to the turbogenerator is then controlled based on the determined quantity of fuel as represented by block 318 by the metering device block 320. In an alternative arrangement the current airflow 302 and desired energy flow 310 are determined in the power controller and communicated to the fuel controller where the AFR is then calculated. In other words, block 300 drops from the first controller to the second controller and block 316 communicates only energy flow and airflow to the second controller.
  • In one preferred embodiment, an operating mode for at least one injector of the turbogenerator is selected based at least in part on the AFR as represented by block [0058] 322. The operating mode may include a premix mode 326 and a pilot or diffusion mode as represented by block 324. One or more injectors may be activated or energized in either operating mode. Preferably, all injectors are activated in the premix mode while varying numbers of injectors are activated in a plurality of pilot modes.
  • Combustion stability may be improved by energizing the ignitor of the turbogenerator during transitions [0059] 328 between operating modes as represented by block 330. In addition, or alternatively, combustion stability may be improved by increasing the quantity of fuel supplied to the injectors during transitions between control modes as represented by block 332. In one embodiment, fuel is increased by modifying a desired operating temperature, i.e. the turbine exhaust temperature, during a load transition as represented by block 334.
  • Thus, the present invention provides a modular control for a turbogenerator which has the capacity to run on a variety of different fuels without significant system modification. Control is separated into a power controller and a fuel controller with communication provided through an intra-controller bus. This approach allows the same turbogenerator to run on a variety of available fuels with only a single fuel system change, thus making it more versatile and cost effective than current systems. [0060]
  • While embodiments of the invention have been illustrated and described, it is not intended that these embodiments illustrate and describe all possible forms of the invention. Rather, the words used in the specification are words of description rather than limitation, and it is understood that various changes may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. [0061]

Claims (153)

What is claimed is:
1. A method for controlling a turbogenerator, comprising:
in a first controller, determining an air/fuel ratio based on an air flow and fuel flow;
communicating the air/fuel ratio to a second controller; and
in the second controller, selecting a fuel injector mode of operation based upon the air/fuel ratio to maintain flame stability.
2. The method of claim 1 wherein determining an air/fuel ratio includes determining current air flow of the turbogenerator in the first controller.
3. The method of claim 2 wherein determining current air flow comprises determining current air flow based on ambient air temperature, ambient air pressure, and turbine speed.
4. The method of claim 3 wherein determining current air flow comprises referencing a lookup table based on the ambient air temperature, the ambient air pressure, and the turbine speed.
5. The method of claim 2 wherein determining current air flow comprises measuring actual air flow through the turbogenerator.
6. The method of claim 1 wherein determining fuel flow comprises determining fuel demand to maintain a desired turbine exhaust temperature.
7. The method of claim 1 wherein determining fuel flow comprises determining a minimum fuel demand based on a computed air flow, a maximum air/fuel ratio to sustain combustion, and energy content of a particular fuel being used.
8. The method of claim 7 wherein the maximum air/fuel ratio and the energy content of the particular fuel being used are communicated from the second controller to the first controller.
9. The method of claim 1 wherein determining fuel flow comprises estimating fuel flow into the turbogenerator.
10. The method of claim 1 wherein determining fuel flow comprises measuring fuel flow into the turbogenerator.
11. The method of claim 1 wherein determining fuel flow comprises determining fuel temperature and fuel pressure across a proportioning valve.
12. The method of claim 1 wherein determining fuel flow comprises measuring fuel flow into the turbogenerator using a fuel flow meter.
13. The method of claim 1 wherein determining an air/fuel ratio comprises calculating the air/fuel ratio based on a fuel command from the first controller.
14. The method of claim 1 wherein determining an air/fuel ratio comprises calculating the air/fuel ratio in the first controller using a measured fuel flow into the turbogenerator as determined by the second controller.
15. The method of claim 1 wherein determining an air/fuel ratio comprises calculating the air/fuel ratio using a fuel command in the second controller.
16. The method of claim 1 further comprising:
selecting an operating mode for at least one injector of the turbogenerator based at least in part on the determined air/fuel ratio, wherein the step of controlling the fuel supplied to the turbogenerator includes controlling fuel supplied to the injector based on the injector operating mode.
17. The method of claim 16 wherein selecting an operating mode comprises selecting a pilot mode or a premix mode.
18. The method of claim 1 further comprising:
selecting an operating mode for a plurality of injectors of the turbogenerator based at least in part on the determined air/fuel ratio, wherein operating modes include premix and pilot modes.
19. The method of claim 18 wherein the plurality of injectors includes premix injectors and wherein selecting an operating mode comprises selecting the premix mode and the step of controlling the fuel supplied to the turbogenerator includes energizing at least one of the premix injectors.
20. The method of claim 18 wherein the plurality of injectors includes premix injectors and wherein selecting an operating mode comprises selecting the premix mode and the step of controlling the fuel supplied to the turbogenerator includes energizing any combination of the premix injectors.
21. The method of claim 18 wherein the plurality of injectors includes premix injectors and wherein selecting an operating mode comprises selecting a premix mode and the step of controlling the fuel supplied to the turbogenerator includes sequentially energizing any combination of the premix injectors.
22. The method of claim 21 wherein sequentially energizing any combination of the premix injectors comprises sequentially energizing the premix injectors to promote swirl within a combustor.
23. The method of claim 18 wherein the plurality of injectors includes pilot injectors and wherein selecting an operating mode comprises selecting a pilot mode and the step of controlling the fuel supplied to the turbogenerator includes energizing at least one of the pilot injectors.
24. The method of claim 18 wherein the plurality of injectors includes pilot injectors and wherein selecting an operating mode comprises selecting a pilot mode and the step of controlling the fuel supplied to the turbogenerator includes energizing any combination of the pilot injectors.
25. The method of claim 18 wherein the plurality of injectors includes pilot injectors and wherein selecting an operating mode comprises selecting a pilot mode and the step of controlling the fuel supplied to the turbogenerator includes sequentially energizing any combination of the pilot injectors.
26. The method of claim 25 wherein sequentially energizing any combination of the pilot injectors comprises sequentially energizing the pilot injectors to promote swirl within a combustor.
27. The method of claim 18 wherein selecting an operating mode comprises selecting a pilot mode and wherein the step of controlling the fuel supplied to the turbogenerator includes energizing all of the injectors.
28. The method of claim 1 further comprising:
transitioning between selected operating modes based on a change in air/fuel ratio of the turbogenerator; and
energizing an ignitor of the turbogenerator while transitioning.
29. The method of claim 1 further comprising:
transitioning between operating modes based on a change in determined air/fuel ratio of the turbogenerator; and
increasing the quantity of fuel supplied to injectors of the turbogenerator while transitioning to improve combustion stability.
30. The method of claim 29 wherein increasing the quantity of fuel while transitioning comprises modifying a desired operating temperature of the turbogenerator.
31. The method of claim 30 wherein modifying a desired operating temperature comprises raising desired turbine exhaust temperature while transitioning between operating modes.
32. The method of claim 29 wherein transitioning between operating modes includes transitioning between a premix mode in which fuel is well mixed with air prior to delivery into a combustor of the turbogenerator and at least one pilot mode in which fuel is not substantially mixed with air prior to delivery into a combustor.
33. The method of claim 32 wherein the pilot mode comprises a plurality of pilot modes each corresponding to operation of a varying number of injectors.
34. The method of claim 1 further comprising transitioning between a first premix operating mode and a second premix operating mode based on a change in determined air/fuel ratio of the turbogenerator.
35. The method of claim 34 wherein transitioning between first and second premix operating modes includes transitioning from operation of a first premix injector to an additional plurality of premix injectors.
36. The method of claim 35 wherein the plurality of premix injectors comprises three premix injectors.
37. The method of claim 1 further comprising transitioning between a first pilot operating mode and a second pilot operating mode based on a change in determined air/fuel ratio of the turbogenerator.
38. The method of claim 37 wherein transitioning between first and second pilot operating modes includes transitioning from operation of a first pilot injector to an additional plurality of pilot injectors.
39. The method of claim 38 wherein the plurality of pilot injectors comprises three pilot injectors.
40. The method of claim 1 further comprising transitioning between a first pilot operating mode and a first premix operating mode based on a change in determined air/fuel ratio of the turbogenerator.
41. The method of claim 37 wherein transitioning between the first and second pilot modes comprises energizing injectors in a sequence which generates a desired swirl within a combustor of the turbogenerator.
42. The method of claim 1 wherein communicating the desired air/fuel ratio comprises communicating the desired air/fuel ratio via external communications.
43. The method of claim 1 further comprising:
transitioning between operating modes based on a change in determined air/fuel ratio of the turbogenerator;
communicating a transitioning signal to the first controller; and
increasing target turbine exhaust temperature to improve combustion stability during transitioning.
44. The method of claim 1 further comprising:
transitioning between operating modes based on a change in determined air/fuel ratio of the turbogenerator;
communicating a transitioning signal from the second controller to the first controller; and
energizing an ignitor while transitioning.
45. A method for controlling a turbogenerator, comprising:
in a first controller, determining a desired fuel command in units independent of a specific fuel based on a turbogenerator operating parameter;
communicating the desired fuel command to a second controller;
in the second controller, converting the independent fuel command to a fuel command specific to the fuel currently utilized in the turbogenerator; and
controlling the delivery of fuel to the turbogenerator, including communicating fuel command limits from the second controller back to the first controller.
46. The method of claim 45 wherein the turbogenerator operating parameter is turbine exhaust temperature.
47. The method of claim 46 wherein communicating the desired fuel command comprises communicating the desired fuel command from the first controller to the second controller via an external communications bus.
48. The method of claim 46 further comprising:
converting the desired fuel command in the second controller to a fuel quantity based on energy content of the fuel being combusted.
49. The method of claim 45 wherein the desired fuel command is in units of energy per unit time.
50. The method of claim 45 further comprising:
determining a fuel command upper limit in the second controller based on a maximum amount of fuel which can be delivered to the turbogenerator and energy content of the fuel.
51. The method of claim 45 further comprising:
determining a fuel command lower limit in the second controller based on a maximum air/fuel ratio for combustion and current airflow through the turbogenerator.
52. The method of claim 51 wherein the fuel command lower limit is determined by dividing the maximum air/fuel ratio by the current airflow and inverting the result.
53. The method of claim 45 wherein the desired fuel command is determined to maintain a substantially constant turbine exhaust temperature.
54. The method of claim 53 wherein determining the desired fuel command comprises:
measuring turbine exhaust temperature;
comparing turbine exhaust temperature to a desired turbine exhaust temperature to generate an error signal; and
determining the desired fuel command based on the error signal.
55. The method of claim 45 wherein controlling the delivery of fuel comprises controlling a fuel metering device.
56. The method of claim 55 wherein controlling the fuel metering device comprises:
determining a desired fuel flow command based on the desired fuel command and energy content of the fuel;
determining actual fuel flow;
comparing measured fuel flow to the desired fuel flow command to generate an error signal; and
controlling the fuel metering device to reduce the error signal.
57. The method of claim 56 wherein determining actual fuel flow includes estimating actual fuel flow.
58. The method of claim 56 wherein determining actual fuel flow includes measuring actual fuel flow using a flow meter.
59. The method of claim 56 wherein determining actual fuel flow includes calculating actual fuel flow based on fuel temperature and pressure across a proportioning valve.
60. A method for controlling a turbogenerator, comprising:
in a first controller, determining current airflow of the turbogenerator and a desired energy flow;
communicating the desired energy flow and the current air flow to a second controller; and
in the second controller, calculating an air/fuel ratio and selecting a fuel injector mode of operation based upon the air/fuel ratio to maintain flame stability.
61. The method of claim 60 wherein the desired energy flow is determined in units independent of the particular fuel being combusted.
62. The method of claim 60 wherein determining actual fuel flow includes calculating actual fuel flow based on fuel temperature and pressure across a proportioning valve.
63. The method of claim 60 wherein selecting a fuel injector mode comprises selecting a pilot mode or a premix mode.
64. The method of claim 60 wherein selecting a fuel injector mode comprises selecting one of a plurality of pilot modes.
65. The method of claim 64 wherein each of the plurality of pilot modes corresponds to activation of a varying number of pilot injectors.
66. The method of claim 64 wherein the plurality of pilot modes includes a first pilot mode which activates one pilot injector and a second pilot mode which activates at least one additional pilot injector.
67. The method of claim 66 wherein the second pilot mode activates all of the pilot injectors.
68. The method of claim 60 wherein selecting a fuel injector mode comprises transitioning from a pilot mode to a premix mode.
69. The method of claim 60 further comprising energizing an ignitor to improve combustion stability during transitioning.
70. The method of claim 60 wherein selecting a fuel injector mode includes sequentially transitioning from a first pilot mode to a second pilot mode and then to a first premix mode.
71. The method of claim 70 wherein the first pilot mode supplies fuel to one pilot injector, the second pilot mode supplies fuel to two additional pilot injectors, and the first premix mode supplies fuel to three premix injectors.
72. The method of claim 71 wherein transitioning from the first pilot mode to the second pilot mode comprises energization of a second pilot injector adjacent the first pilot injector followed by energization of a third pilot injector adjacent the second pilot injector to facilitate ignition of fuel from the second and third pilot injectors by the first and second pilot injectors, respectively.
73. The method of claim 70 wherein transitioning from the second pilot mode to the first premix mode comprises energizing a plurality of premix injectors followed by sequentially de-energizing the pilot injectors.
74. The method of claim 70 wherein transitioning from the second pilot mode to the first premix mode comprises de-energizing a first pilot injector, energizing a plurality of premix injectors, and then sequentially de-energizing any remaining pilot injectors.
75. The method of claim 70 wherein transitioning from the second pilot mode to the first premix mode comprises sequentially de-energizing first and second pilot injectors, energizing a plurality of premix injectors, and then sequentially de-energizing any remaining pilot injectors.
76. The method of claim 60 wherein selecting a fuel injector mode includes transitioning from a premix mode to a pilot mode.
77. The method of claim 76 wherein the pilot mode comprises a plurality of pilot modes, the method further comprising transitioning from a first pilot mode to a second pilot mode.
78. The method of claim 60 wherein selecting a fuel injector mode includes transitioning from a premix mode with a plurality of premix injectors energized to a pilot mode with at least one pilot injector energized.
79. The method of claim 78 wherein the premix injectors and the pilot injectors are the same injectors operated in a premix mode and pilot mode, respectively.
80. The method of claim 78 wherein the plurality of premix injectors includes three premix injectors and the at least one pilot injector includes three pilot injectors.
81. The method of claim 80 wherein transitioning from a premix mode to a pilot mode comprises energizing at least one pilot injector prior to de-energizing the premix injectors.
82. The method of claim 80 wherein transitioning from a premix mode to a pilot mode comprises energizing a first pilot injector, de-energizing all premix injectors, then sequentially energizing any remaining pilot injectors.
83. The method of claim 80 wherein transitioning from a premix mode to a pilot mode comprises energizing a plurality of pilot injectors prior to de-energizing any premix injectors.
84. The method of claim 80 wherein transitioning from a premix mode to a pilot mode comprises energizing all pilot injectors prior to de-energizing any premix injectors.
85. The method of claim 60 wherein selecting a fuel injector mode includes transitioning from a first fuel injector mode to a second fuel injector mode based on a first value of an operating parameter of the turbogenerator and transitioning from the second fuel injector mode to the first fuel injector mode based on a second value of the operating parameter.
86. The method of claim 85 wherein the operating parameter is the air/fuel ratio.
87. The method of claim 60 wherein selecting a fuel injector mode includes transitioning from a first pilot mode to a second pilot mode based on a first value for the air/fuel ratio and transitioning from the second pilot mode to the first pilot mode based on a second value for the air/fuel ratio.
88. The method of claim 60 wherein selecting a fuel injector mode includes transitioning from a pilot mode to a premix mode based on a first value of the air/fuel ratio and transitioning from the premix mode to the pilot mode based on a second value of the air/fuel ratio.
89. A system for controlling a turbogenerator, the system comprising:
a first controller for determining an air/fuel ratio based on an air flow and fuel demand;
a communications bus;
a second controller in communication with the first controller via the communications bus, the second controller selecting a fuel injector mode of operation based upon the air/fuel ratio to maintain low emissions combustion and flame stability.
90. The system of claim 89 wherein the first controller determines current air flow of the turbogenerator to determine the air/fuel ratio.
91. The system of claim 89 wherein the first controller determines current air flow based on ambient air temperature, ambient air pressure, and turbine speed.
92. The system of claim 89 wherein the second controller determines the fuel demand and communicates the fuel demand to the first controller via the communications bus.
93. The system of claim 89 wherein the second controller determines the fuel demand based on a maximum air/fuel ratio to sustain combustion and energy content of the fuel being used.
94. The system of claim 93 wherein the second controller communicates the maximum air/fuel ratio and the energy content of the fuel being used to the first controller.
95. The system of claim 89 wherein the communications bus is an external communications bus.
96. The system of claim 89 wherein the second controller estimates fuel flow into the turbogenerator.
97. The system of claim 89 further comprising:
a fuel metering device controlled by the second controller for controlling quantity of fuel delivered to at least one injector.
98. The system of claim 97 wherein the fuel metering device comprises a proportioning valve.
99. The system of claim 97 further comprising:
an upstream pressure sensor for sensing pressure of the fuel between a fuel source and the fuel metering device; and
a downstream pressure sensor for sensing pressure of the fuel between the fuel metering device and the injector.
100. The system of claim 97 wherein the fuel metering device comprises a fuel flow meter.
101. The system of claim 89 further comprising a plurality of injectors each being operable in a pilot mode and a premix mode, the injectors being controlled by the second controller.
102. The system of claim 89 wherein the second controller selects an operating mode for at least one injector based at least in part on the determined air/fuel ratio and controls fuel supplied to the injector based on the injector operating mode.
103. A method for controlling a turbogenerator, comprising:
determining an air/fuel ratio based on power output of the turbogenerator; and
selecting an operating mode for at least one fuel injector based upon the air/fuel ratio to maintain flame stability.
104. The method of claim 103 further comprising determining power output of the turbogenerator based on measured power.
105. The method of claim 103 further comprising determining power output of the turbogenerator based on at least measured voltage.
106. The method of claim 103 further comprising determining power output of the turbogenerator based on at least measured current.
107. The method of claim 103 further comprising determining the air/fuel ratio by referencing a look-up table based on the turbogenerator output power.
108. The method of claim 103 further comprising determining a fuel flow based on the air/fuel ratio.
109. The method of claim 108 wherein determining a fuel flow comprises determining fuel demand to maintain a desired turbine exhaust temperature.
110. The method of claim 108 wherein determining fuel flow comprises determining a minimum fuel demand based on a computed air flow, a maximum air/fuel ratio to sustain combustion, and energy content of a particular fuel being used.
111. The method of claim 110 wherein the maximum air/fuel ratio and the energy content of the particular fuel being used are communicated from a second controller to a first controller, the first controller determining the air/fuel ratio based on the power output of the turbogenerator.
112. The method of claim 108 wherein determining fuel flow comprises estimating fuel flow into the turbogenerator.
113. The method of claim 108 wherein determining fuel flow comprises measuring fuel flow into the turbogenerator.
114. The method of claim 108 wherein determining fuel flow comprises determining fuel temperature and fuel pressure across a proportioning valve.
115. The method of claim 108 wherein determining fuel flow comprises measuring fuel flow into the turbogenerator using a fuel flow meter.
116. The method of claim 108 wherein determining fuel flow comprises determining current airflow through the turbogenerator.
117. The method of claim 103 further comprising:
selecting an operating mode for at least one injector of the turbogenerator based at least in part on the determined air/fuel ratio; and
controlling fuel supplied to the injector based on the injector operating mode.
118. The method of claim 117 wherein selecting an operating mode comprises selecting an operating mode based on the air/fuel ratio.
119. The method of claim 117 wherein selecting a operating mode comprises selecting an operating mode based on the output power of the turbogenerator.
120. The method of claim 117 wherein selecting an operating mode comprises selecting a pilot mode or a premix mode.
121. The method of claim 103 further comprising:
selecting an operating mode for a plurality of injectors of the turbogenerator based at least in part on the determined air/fuel ratio, wherein operating modes include premix and pilot modes.
122. The method of claim 121 wherein the plurality of injectors includes premix injectors and wherein selecting an operating mode comprises selecting the premix mode, the method further comprising controlling fuel supplied to the turbogenerator by energizing at least one of the premix injectors.
123. The method of claim 121 wherein the plurality of injectors includes premix injectors and wherein selecting an operating mode comprises selecting the premix mode, the method further comprising controlling fuel supplied to the turbogenerator by energizing any combination of the premix injectors.
124. The method of claim 121 wherein the plurality of injectors includes premix injectors and wherein selecting an operating mode comprises selecting a premix mode, the method further comprising controlling fuel supplied to the turbogenerator by sequentially energizing any combination of the premix injectors.
125. The method of claim 124 wherein sequentially energizing any combination of the premix injectors comprises sequentially energizing the premix injectors to promote swirl within a combustor.
126. The method of claim 121 wherein the plurality of injectors includes pilot injectors and wherein selecting an operating mode comprises selecting a pilot mode, the method further comprising controlling fuel supplied to the turbogenerator by energizing at least one of the pilot injectors.
127. The method of claim 121 wherein the plurality of injectors includes pilot injectors and wherein selecting an operating mode comprises selecting a pilot mode, the method further comprising controlling fuel supplied to the turbogenerator by energizing any combination of the pilot injectors.
128. The method of claim 121 wherein the plurality of injectors includes pilot injectors and wherein selecting an operating mode comprises selecting a pilot mode, the method further comprising controlling fuel supplied to the turbogenerator by sequentially energizing any combination of the pilot injectors.
129. The method of claim 128 wherein sequentially energizing any combination of the pilot injectors comprises sequentially energizing the pilot injectors to promote swirl within a combustor.
130. The method of claim 121 wherein selecting an operating mode comprises selecting a pilot mode, the method further comprising controlling the fuel supplied to the turbogenerator by energizing all of the injectors.
131. The method of claim 103 further comprising:
transitioning between injector operating modes based on a change in the determined air/fuel ratio of the turbogenerator; and
energizing an ignitor of the turbogenerator while transitioning.
132. The method of claim 103 further comprising:
transitioning between injector operating modes based on a change in output power of the turbogenerator.
133. The method of claim 103 further comprising:
transitioning between operating modes based on a change in determined air/fuel ratio of the turbogenerator; and
increasing a quantity of fuel supplied to injectors of the turbogenerator while transitioning to improve combustion stability.
134. The method of claim 133 wherein increasing the quantity of fuel while transitioning comprises modifying a desired operating temperature of the turbogenerator.
135. The method of claim 134 wherein modifying a desired operating temperature comprises raising desired turbine exhaust temperature while transitioning between operating modes.
136. The method of claim 133 wherein transitioning between operating modes includes transitioning between a premix mode in which fuel is well mixed with air prior to delivery into a combustor of the turbogenerator and at least one pilot mode in which fuel is not substantially mixed with air prior to delivery into a combustor.
137. The method of claim 132 wherein the pilot mode comprises a plurality of pilot modes each corresponding to operation of a varying number of injectors.
138. The method of claim 103 further comprising transitioning between a first premix operating mode and a second premix operating mode based on a change in determined air/fuel ratio of the turbogenerator.
139. The method of claim 138 wherein transitioning between first and second premix operating modes includes transitioning from operation of a first premix injector to an additional plurality of premix injectors.
140. The method of claim 139 wherein the plurality of premix injectors comprises three premix injectors.
141. The method of claim 103 further comprising transitioning between a first pilot operating mode and a second pilot operating mode based on a change in determined air/fuel ratio of the turbogenerator.
142. The method of claim 141 wherein transitioning between first and second pilot operating modes includes transitioning from operation of a first pilot injector to an additional plurality of pilot injectors.
143. The method of claim 142 wherein the plurality of pilot injectors comprises three pilot injectors.
144. The method of claim 103 further comprising transitioning between a first pilot operating mode and a first premix operating mode based on a change in determined air/fuel ratio of the turbogenerator.
145. The method of claim 141 wherein transitioning between the first and second pilot modes comprises energizing injectors in a sequence which generates a desired swirl within a combustor of the turbogenerator.
146. The method of claim 103 further comprising:
transitioning between operating modes based on a change in determined air/fuel ratio of the turbogenerator; and
increasing target turbine exhaust temperature to improve combustion stability during transitioning.
147. The method of claim 103 further comprising:
transitioning between operating modes based on a change in determined air/fuel ratio of the turbogenerator; and
energizing an ignitor while transitioning.
148. A method for controlling a turbogenerator, the method comprising:
determining an air/fuel ratio for operation of the turbogenerator based on at least one operating parameter of the turbogenerator and physical characteristics of a fuel selected from a plurality of fuels which may be combusted within the turbogenerator; and
selecting an operating mode for at least one fuel injector of the turbogenerator based at least in part on the air/fuel ratio.
149. The method of claim 148 wherein determining an air/fuel ratio comprises determining an air/fuel ratio based on power output of the turbogenerator.
150. The method of claim 148 wherein determining an air/fuel ratio comprises calculating at least one fuel index based on the physical characteristics of the selected fuel.
151. The method of claim 148 further comprising:
determining an amount of fuel required to obtain the determined air/fuel ratio based on the selected operating mode; and
controlling a fuel metering device to deliver the required fuel to the turbogenerator.
152. The method of claim 151 wherein controlling a fuel metering device comprises controlling a fuel metering device based on the physical characteristics of the selected fuel.
153. The method of claim 152 wherein the fuel metering device is a proportioning valve.
US10/136,893 1999-12-01 2002-04-29 System and method for modular control of a multi-fuel low emissions turbogenerator Abandoned US20020148229A1 (en)

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