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Title:
FUEL SUPPLY SYSTEM WITH A QUICK SNAP-FIT FUEL FEED COUPLING FOR A GAS TURBINE COMBUSTION CHAMBER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2016/103230
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A fuel supply system (3) for supplying fuel to a combustion chamber (2) provided with at least a burner assembly (5) is provided with at least one feed line (7) comprising: a manifold (8) supplied with fuel; at least one connecting pipe (10), which connects the manifold (8) to the respective burner assembly (5); and a connecting element (13), which connects the connecting pipe (10) to the respective burner assembly (5) and/or the connecting pipe (10) to the respective manifold (8); the connecting element (13) being configured to define a quick snap-fit coupling.

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Inventors:
GALELLA, Rocco (Via R. Pieragostini, 5/7 A, Genova, 16151, IT)
PASTORINO, Pierpaolo (Via Rizzo, 57/7, Genova, 16125, IT)
Application Number:
IB2015/059978
Publication Date:
June 30, 2016
Filing Date:
December 24, 2015
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
A.S.EN. ANSALDO SVILUPPO ENERGIA S.R.L. (Via Nicola Lorenzi 8, Genova, 16152, IT)
ANSALDO ENERGIA S.P.A. (Via Nicola Lorenzi 8, Genova, 16152, IT)
International Classes:
F23R3/28; F02C7/22; F16L37/22
Foreign References:
US20060000220A12006-01-05
US5197288A1993-03-30
EP0013393A11980-07-23
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ANDREOTTI, Erika et al. (Via Viotti 9, Torino, 10121, IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A fuel supply system (3) for supplying fuel to a combustion chamber (2) provided with at least a burner assembly (5); the fuel supply system (3) comprising at least a feed line (7) provided with:

- a manifold (8) supplied with fuel;

- at least a connecting pipe (10), which connects the manifold (8) to the respective burner assembly (5);

- a connecting element (13), which connects the connecting pipe (10) to the respective burner assembly (5) and/or the connecting pipe (10) to the respective manifold (8); the connecting element (13) being configured to define a quick coupling . 2. A fuel supply system according to claim 1, wherein the connecting element (13) is configured to define a snap-fit coupling .

3. A fuel supply system according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the connecting element (13) comprises a male connector

(15) and a female connector (16) connectable to each other and shaped so as to define a quick coupling.

4. A fuel supply system according to claim 3, wherein the male connector (15) and the female connector (16) are configured so as to define a stable coupling in a locking position .

5. A fuel supply system according to any one of the foregoing claims, wherein the connecting element (13) comprises a security device (35), configured to avoid accidental uncoupling of the connecting element (13) .

6. A fuel supply system according to any one of claims 3 to 5, wherein the connecting element (13) comprises a security device (35), configured to avoid accidental uncoupling between male connector (15) and female connector (16) .

7. A fuel supply system according to any one of claims 3 to 6, wherein the connecting element (13) comprises a security device (35), configured to selectively enable uncoupling between male connector (15) and female connector (16) . 8. A fuel supply system according to claim 6 or 7, wherein the security device (35) is configured to assume a lock position, wherein uncoupling between male connector (15) and female connector (16) is prevented and to assume an unlock position, wherein uncoupling between male connector (15) and female connector (16) is enabled.

9. A fuel supply system according to claim 8, wherein the passage from the lock position to the unlock position of the security device (35) is made manually.

10. A fuel supply system according to any one of the foregoing claims, wherein the connecting pipe (10) is flexible . 11. A fuel supply system according to any one of the foregoing claims, comprising a plurality of feed lines (7) .

12. A combustion assembly (1) for an electric power plant comprising a combustion chamber (2) and a fuel supply system (3) as claimed in any one of the foregoing claims and configured to supply fuel to the combustion chamber (2) .

Description:
FUEL SUPPLY SYSTEM WITH A QUICK SNAP-FIT FUEL FEED COUPLING

FOR A GAS TURBINE COMBUSTION CHAMBER

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to a fuel supply system for a combustion chamber and a combustion assembly comprising said fuel supply system.

BACKGROUND ART

Electric power plants usually comprise a compressor, inside which an airstream flows, a combustion chamber supplied with fuel and air coming from the compressor, a gas turbine inside which gases coming from the combustion chamber flow and a generator, mechanically connected to a same shaft of the gas turbine and the compressor and connected to an electricity distribution network.

The combustion chamber comprises a plurality of burners supplied with fuel via a dedicated fuel supply system. The fuel supply system comprises a plurality of feed lines, which connect the burners to respective fuel supply manifolds.

The fuel can be constituted by natural gas, syngas, fuel oil and water, or otherwise.

The fuel supply system comprises a plurality of threaded connection elements that connect the fuel feed pipes to the burners and the manifolds. The installation of this type of fuel supply system requires that the connection elements are subjected to specific tightening operations and a consequent check procedure on the tightening torque and, finally, a sealing test by feeding a leak-detection liquid while the plant is operating at low capacity. These operations are essential and necessary for ensuring the sealing in known types of fuel supply systems. These activities often require significant time, even to the point of sometimes requiring several days dedicated to on-site technical tests.

Moreover, in the case of annular type combustion chambers, the tightening torque check procedure is particularly difficult because it requires the use of opportunely sized torque wrenches for reaching all of the connection elements.

DISCLOSURE OF INVENTION

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a fuel supply system for a combustion chamber that does not have the drawbacks of the known art described herein; in particular, an object of the invention is to provide a fuel supply system for a combustion chamber that can be quickly rendered operative and that, at the same time, is reliable and able to ensure correct sealing.

In accordance with these objects, the present invention relates to a fuel supply system for supplying fuel to a combustion chamber provided with at least one burner assembly; the fuel supply system comprising at least one feed line provided with:

- a manifold supplied with fuel;

- at least a connecting pipe, which connects the manifold to the respective burner assembly;

- a connecting element, which connects the connecting pipe to the respective burner assembly and/or the connecting pipe to the respective manifold; the connecting element being configured to define a quick coupling.

A further object of the invention is to provide a combustion assembly that is simple to manufacture, quick to install and, at the same time, reliable. In accordance with these objects, the present invention relates to a combustion assembly for an electric power plant comprising a combustion chamber and a fuel supply system as claimed in any of claims 1 to 11 and configured to supply fuel to the combustion chamber.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Further characteristics and advantages of the present invention will become clear from the description that follows of a non-limitative embodiment, with reference to the figures in the accompanying drawings, in which:

- Figure 1 is a perspective view, with parts removed for clarity, of the combustion assembly according to the present invention, comprising a combustion chamber and a fuel supply system configured to supply fuel to the combustion chamber;

- Figure 2 is a side view, with parts in section and parts removed for clarity, of a detail of the fuel supply system in Figure 1 in a first operational configuration; and

- Figure 3 is a side view, with parts in section and parts removed for clarity, of a detail of the fuel supply system in Figure 1 in a second operational configuration.

BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

In Figure 1, reference numeral 1 indicates a combustion assembly comprising a combustion chamber 2 extending along a longitudinal axis A and a fuel supply system 3 configured to supply fuel to the combustion chamber 2. The combustion chamber 2 and the fuel supply system 3 are partially and schematically shown in Figure 1.

In the non-limitative example described and illustrated herein, the combustion chamber 2 is of the annular type and comprises a chamber 4 and a plurality of burner assemblies 5 arranged along a circular path close to an annular peripheral rim 6 of the chamber 4.

In the non-limitative example described and illustrated herein, there are twenty-four burner assemblies 5.

Each burner assembly 5 comprises at least a pilot burner and a premix burner (not visible in the accompanying figures) connected to the fuel supply system 3. A variant, which is not shown, contemplates that each burner assembly 5 also comprises a diffusion burner and/or a liquid fuel burner (of diesel fuel for example) .

The fuel supply system 3 comprises a plurality of fuel feed lines 7. In the non-limitative example described and illustrated herein, there are two feed lines 7: a pilot gas feed line 7a and a premix gas feed line 7b.

Each feed line 7 comprises a respective manifold 8 and a plurality of connecting pipes 10, each of which is connected to the manifold 8 and a respective burner assembly 5.

Each manifold 8 extends along an annular path external to the chamber 4 and is supported by the chamber 4. Preferably, the manifold 8 of each feed line 7 has a circular shape and is supported concentrically with the annular manifolds 8 of all the other feed lines 7 by a plurality of mounting brackets 12 that radially project from the outside of the chamber 4 and support all the annular manifolds 8 substantially in a same axial mounting position on the chamber 4.

The connecting pipes 10 are preferably flexible and without rigid sections, and are arranged externally to the chamber 4. Each connecting pipe 10 is connected to the respective burner assemblies 5 by a quick-coupling connecting element 13 (better seen in Figures 2 and 3) .

With the expression "quick-coupling", it is intended that the connecting element 13 is configured to couple the respective connecting pipe 10 to the respective burner assembly 5 in a rapid and tool-free manner.

For example, the connecting element 13 could be configured to define a snap-fit coupling, an interference coupling, a coupling that integrates a snap-fit coupling with a threaded coupling, etc.

In the non-limitative example described and illustrated herein, the coupling defined by the connecting element 13 is of the snap-fit type.

With reference to Figure 2, the connecting element 13 comprises a male connector 15 and a female connector 16 connectable to each other and shaped so as to define a snap- fit coupling.

In particular, the male connector 15 and the female connector 16 are configured so as to define a stable coupling in a locking position.

The male connector 15 comprises a first tubular connecting portion 17, extending along an axis B and having an external diameter DEI, and a second tubular connecting portion 18, concentric with the first tubular connecting portion 17 and having an external diameter DE2.

The external diameter DEI of the first tubular connecting portion 17 is greater than the external diameter DE2 of the second tubular connecting portion 18.

The difference in diameter between the first tubular connecting portion 17 and the second tubular connecting portion 18 defines a step 20, which is designed to cooperate with a respective stop of the female connector 16, as will be seen further on.

The first tubular connecting portion 17 and the second tubular connecting portion 18 are designed to be inserted, in use, into the female connector 16. An annular groove 21 present along the outer surface of the first tubular connecting portion 17 is designed to cooperate with a respective element of the female connector 16, as will be seen in greater detail further on. Preferably, the annular groove 21 has inclined lateral walls 22 diverging towards the outer surface of the tubular connecting portion 17.

Preferably, the second tubular connecting portion 18 has a chamfered annular outer edge 23.

The female connector 16 comprises a tubular wall 24, which has an outer face 25 and an inner face 26, which defines a housing seat 27.

The tubular wall 25 comprises a first portion 28 having an internal diameter slightly larger than the diameter DEI of the first tubular connecting portion 17 of the male connector 15 and a second portion 29 having an internal diameter slightly larger than the diameter DE2 of the second tubular connecting portion 18 of the male connector 15.

The change in diameter between the first portion 28 and the second portion 29 defines a stop 30 designed to abut against the step 20 of the male connector 15. The dimensions of the first portion 28 and the second portion 29 of the tubular wall 25 of the female connector 16 allow easy insertion of the male connector 15 into the housing seat 27.

The female connector 16 comprises an annular recess 31 along the inner face 26 of the first portion 28 and an annular elastic element 32, which is housed in the recess 31. The annular elastic element 32 has a radial height larger than the radial height of the annular recess 31.

Preferably, the annular recess 31 extends from the inner face 26 to the outer face 25 and comprises two lateral walls 33, which converge towards the inner face 26 of the tubular wall 25 so as to allow the annular elastic element 32 to partially protrude from the annular recess 31 and prevent it from coming out completely. The annular elastic element 32 is preferably defined by an open annular element made of an elastic material, for example, rubber or polymers.

The portion of annular elastic element 32 that protrudes from the annular recess 31 is able to engage, in the locking position, the respective annular groove 21 of the male connector 15 as shown in Figure 2.

During use, it is sufficient to push the male connector 15 along axis B to achieve insertion of the male connector 15 in the housing seat 27. This insertion causes displacement of the annular elastic element 32 inside the annular recess 31 of the female connector 16 (Figure 3) . The displacement of the annular elastic element 32 is facilitated by the chamfered shape of the outer edge 23 of the second tubular connecting portion 18 of the male connector 15. When the male connector 15 reaches the locking position, the portion of annular elastic element 32 that protrudes from the annular recess 31 engages the respective annular groove 21 (Figure 2) . In this locking position, relative movements between the male connector 15 and the female connector 16 are not possible in the axial direction and in the radial direction . To uncouple the male connector 15 from the female connector 16, it is sufficient to exert a pulling force on the male connector 15, substantially along axis B. The pulling force must be sufficient to overcome the elastic resistance of the annular elastic element 32 and to cause the annular elastic element 32 to be pushed inside the annular recess 31.

Each connecting element 13 is also equipped with a security device 35, which prevents accidental uncoupling between male connector 15 and female connector 16. In particular, the security device 35 is configured to selectively enable uncoupling between male connector 15 and female connector 16.

In detail, the security device 35 is configured to assume a lock position, wherein uncoupling between male connector 15 and female connector 16 is prevented and an unlock position, wherein uncoupling between male connector 15 and female connector 16 is enabled. Passage from the lock position to the unlock position is made manually .

In the lock position shown in Figure 2, the security device 35 is configured to prevent complete insertion of the annular elastic element 32 inside the annular recess 31 of the female connector 16. In this way, even when a pulling force is exerted on the male connector 15, the annular elastic element 32 prevents uncoupling by being housed in the respective annular groove 21. In the unlock position shown in Figure 3, the security device 35 assumes a configuration that enables the complete insertion of the annular elastic element 32 inside the annular recess 31 of the female connector 16. In this way, the annular elastic element 32 completely frees the respective annular groove 21 and application of a pulling force on the male connector 15 causes uncoupling between male connector 15 and female connector 16.

In the non-limitative example described and illustrated herein, the security device 35 comprises a ring 36 arranged externally to the female connector 16 and a lock element 37, which protrudes from the outer face 25 of the female connector 16. In particular, the ring 36 has an annular shape and is substantially fitted around the female connector 16 so as to turn about the female connector 16.

The ring 36 is provided with an annular outer face 40 and an annular inner face 41.

The ring 36 is provided with an annular rib 42, which protrudes from the annular inner face 41 substantially at the first external edge 43 of the ring 36, and a recess 44 (broke line in Figure 2 and visible in Figure 3), substantially U- shaped and made along a second external edge 45, opposite to edge 43.

In the non-limitative example described and illustrated herein, the female connector 16 is preferably provided with an annular detent 47, which protrudes from the outer face 25. The ring 36 is preferably arranged around the female connector 16 in such a way that the portion of the annular inner face 41 that comprises the second edge 45 is arranged resting against the outer surface of the annular detent 47 and in such a way that the annular rib 42 is arranged substantially resting along the outer face 25 of the female connector 16.

The security device 35 is configured in such a way that in the lock position, the annular rib 42 is arranged substantially resting along the outer face 25 of the female connector 16 at the annular recess 31 so as to prevent complete insertion of the annular elastic element 32 inside the annular recess 31 of the female connector 16 and to consequently prevent uncoupling between male connector 15 and female connector (configuration in Figure 2 ) .

The security device 35 is also configured in such a way that in the unlock position, the annular rib 42 is arranged substantially resting along the outer face 25 of the female connector 16 in a position so as not to prevent complete insertion of the annular elastic element 32 inside the annular recess 31 of the female connector 16 and to consequently enable uncoupling between male connector 15 and female connector (configuration in Figure 3) .

Passage from the lock position to the unlock position is achieved by turning the ring 36 until the recess 44 of the second edge 45 is aligned with the lock element 37 (arrow shown in Figure 2) and by moving the ring 36 axially in such a way that the lock element 37 engages the recess 44. In this way, the axial travel of the ring 36 is sufficient to free the annular recess 31 from the annular rib 42 of the ring 36 (arrow shown in Figure 3) . The axial displacement of the ring 36 without turning the ring 35 to align the recess 44 with the lock element 37 is not sufficient to free the annular recess 31 from the annular rib 42 of the ring 36.

The particular shape of the ring 36 and the female connector 16 cause an annular seat 49 to be created between the annular rib 42 and the annular detent 47, inside which a spring 50 is preferably housed.

In use, the spring 50 ensures the return of the ring 36 to the lock position as soon as the manual pushing action ceases. In this way, the security of the coupling between male connector 15 and female connector 16 is ensured.

The lock element 37 protrudes from the outer face 25 of the female connector 16 downstream of the annular detent 47.

Preferably, the lock element 37 comprises a sphere 51 coupled to a spring 52, which entirely housed in a seat 53 of the outer face 25 of the female connector 16 and is able to support and push the sphere 51 outwards. In this way, the locking action of the sliding of the ring 36 is ensured by the lock element 37.

Preferably, the male connector 15 is coupled to the respective connecting pipe 10, while the female connector 16 is coupled to the respective burner assembly 5.

Obviously, a variant contemplates that the male connector 15 is coupled to the respective burner assembly 5 and that the female connector 16 is coupled to the respective connecting pipe 10.

One variant, which is not shown, contemplates the use of connection adapters between the connecting pipes 10 and the male connectors 15 and between the burner assemblies and the female connectors 16. A further variant, which is not shown, contemplates that the connecting pipes 10 are connected to the respective manifold 8 by further connecting elements substantially identical to the connecting elements 13.

At least one sealing element 55 is preferably arranged between the male connector 15 and the female connector 16. In the non- limitative example described and illustrated herein, two sealing elements 55 are present.

The sealing elements 55 are defined by rings made of materials resistant to high temperatures and able to deform upon reaching certain temperatures so as to ensure optimal sealing. Preferably, the sealing elements 55 are made of rubber, preferably Viton ® or Viton Extreme ® .

Advantageously, use of the connecting elements 13 described above in the fuel supply system 3 according to the present invention accelerates installations times for the fuel supply system 3.

In particular, the times dedicated to connection of the connecting pipes 10 to the respective burner assemblies 5 and, if necessary, to the respective manifolds 8, are significantly reduced with respect to the installation times required by fuel supply systems of known type.

The connecting elements 13 are in fact subjected to sealing and resistance tests before being installed in the combustion assembly 1.

In particular, the connecting elements 13 are subjected to a series of sealing tests during the succession of heat cycles and a series of high-cycle fatigue tests, in which the connecting elements 13 are stressed with vibrations that simulate a life cycle of the sealing element 13. Advantageously, the connecting elements 13 of the fuel supply system 3 according to the present invention are characterized by small dimensions. This enables reducing the curvature of the connecting pipes 10.

Lastly, the security device 35 with which all the connecting devices 13 of the fuel supply system 3 are equipped ensures that accidental opening of the connecting device 13 does not occur, thereby increasing the reliability of the fuel supply system 3.

Finally, it is clear that modifications and variations can be made to the fuel supply system 3 and to the combustion assembly 1 described herein without departing from the scope of the appended claims.