Gas Turbines

Key Points

  • Gas turbines are a potential option for heat and power from liquefied biomass
  • Modifications to burner chamber are likely necessary
  • Co-firing with natural gas may be needed

Gas turbines can be used to produce power or a combination of power and heat. Natural gas is used as a fuel for a typical gas turbine, but also liquid fuels can be used. To enable combustion of bio-oil or bio-crudes, modifications are needed in the fuel supply system, and modifications to the burner chamber might be required to overcome lower combustion speed.

Gas turbine development at Magellan – Orenda

imgProbably, the most extensive experience with gas turbines fuelled with pyrolysis oil has been gained by Canadian company

Magellan-Orenda. A 2.5 MWe gas turbine, originally designed by Mashproekt in the Ukraine, was modified to enable pyrolysis oil fuelling.

After preliminary tests on atomization, atmospheric flame tunnel and furnace testing, the burner nozzle was modified by adding a third passage. Materials have been modified to make components compatible with the corrosive characteristics and acidity of pyrolysis oil.

A complete gas turbine package including a heat recovery unit and fuel pretreatment skid was delivered and installed at the Dynamotive demonstration site in West-Lorne. Regretfully, due to the lack of sufficient pyrolysis oil the unit has hardly been operated.

Typical performance data for different fuels

Oil Fuel flow [ltr/hr]
Electrical output [kW]
Inlet Temp. [oC]
Outlet Temp [oC]
CO [ppm]
NOx [ppm]
SO2 [ppm]
Diesel 1,071 2,510 -3 403 1 321 7
Ethanol 1,800 2,510 2 415 3 101 2
Biodiesel 1,200 2,550 11 467 4 321 1
Pyrolysis Oil – Ensyn 1,800 2,650 -10 420 55 60 1
Pyrolysis Oil – Dynamotive 1,883 2,510 -2 417 49 57 2


Test results of the OGT2500 gas turbine engine running on alternative fuels: bio-oil, ethanol, biodiesel and crude oil, V. Lupandin, A. Nikolayev, R. Thamburai, Proceedings of GT2005 ASME Turbo Expo 2005.

Gas turbine development at OPRA Turbines

imgOPRA Turbines is a Dutch company based in Hengelo, the Netherlands. It develops, manufactures, markets and maintains generator sets in the 2 MW power range using the OP16 series of gas turbines. The OP16 gas turbine is of an all-radial design, which provides robustness, reliability and highest efficiency in its class. A key feature of the OP16 gas turbine is the ability to utilize a wide range of fuels.

The combustion of pyrolysis has been tested. It was found that between 70% to 100% load it is possible to burn 100% pyrolysis oil without the need of mixing it with ethanol. Based on this research OPRA has been able to design a new combustor for burning pyrolysis oil and other low-calorific fuels. The new combustor is large enough to provide sufficient residence time for complete combustion of the pyrolysis oil.


Application of pyrolysis oil in the OP16 gas turbine-feasibility study, Martin Beran, Lars-Uni Axelsson, PyNe Newsletter No 33, pp12-13.