The use of commercial hydrous ethanol reduces the energy cost of producing that fuel, and results in a larger net energy gain per dollar invested. Current production of commercial grade ethanol contains 5% water, and is used routinely in gasoline engines, primarily as an additive, and is currently being considered for use in gas turbines. In this study ethanol is burned in a swirl-stabilized combustor, air is introduced at a constant flow rate through a dump diffuser, and fuels ranging from 0%–20% water in ethanol are injected via pressure-orifice atomizing nozzles. The goal of the study is to examine the combustion characteristics of hydrous ethanol and to make an assessment of its suitability for a gas turbine engine. The flame structure is observed using high speed OH and CH radical chemiluminescence imaging. These observations, combined with overall metrics such as lean blowout, flame holding, heat release and emissions, are a necessity in obtaining the complete picture of hydrous ethanol combustion and are required to fully evaluate hydrous fuel as an option in continuous flame applications.

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