The proposed EPA regulations covering emissions of gas turbine engines will require extensive combustor development. The NASA is working to develop technology to meet these goals through a wide variety of combustor research programs conducted in-house, by contract, and by university grant. In-house efforts using the swirl-can modular combustor have demonstrated sizable reduction in NOx emission levels. Testing to reduce idle pollutants has included the modification of duplex fuel nozzles to air-assisted nozzles and an exploration of the potential improvements possible with combustors using fuel staging and variable geometry. The Experimental Clean Combustor Program, a large contracted effort, is devoted to the testing and development of combustor concepts designed to achieve a large reduction in the levels of all emissions. This effort is planned to be conducted in three phases with the final phase to be an engine demonstration of the best reduced emission concepts.

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