This paper describes reduced $NOx$ diffusion flame combustors that have been developed for both simple cycle and regenerative cycle MS3002 and MS5002 gas turbines. Laboratory tests have shown that when firing with natural gas, without water or steam injection, $NOx$ emissions from the new combustors are about 40 percent lower than $NOx$ emissions from the standard combustors. CO emissions are virtually unchanged at base load, but increase at part load conditions. Commercial demonstration tests have confirmed the laboratory results. The standard combustors on both the MS3002 and MS5002 gas turbine are cylindrical cans, approximately 10.5 inches (27 cm) in diameter. A single fuel nozzle is centered at the inlet to each can and produces a swirl stabilized diffusion flame. The walls of the cans are louvered for cooling, and contain an array of mixing and dilution holes that provide the air needed to complete combustion and dilute the burned gas to the desired turbine inlet temperature. The MS3002 turbine is equipped with six combustor cans, while the MS5002 turbine is equipped with twelve combustors. The new, reduced $NOx$ emissions combustors (referred to as a “lean head end,” or LHE, combustors) retain all of the key features of the conventional combustors; the only major difference is the arrangement of the mixing and dilution holes in the cylindrical combustor cans. By optimizing the number, diameter, and location of these holes, $NOx$ emissions can be reduced considerably. Minor changes are also sometimes made to the combustor cap. The materials of construction, pressure drop, and fuel nozzle are all unchanged. The differences in $NOx$ emissions between the standard and LHE combustors, as well as the variations in $NOx$ emissions with firing temperature, are well correlated using turbulent flame length arguments. Details of this correlation are presented.

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