Christopher D. Bolszo

Aerospace and 
Mechanical Engineering

Christopher Bolszo’s research began with a strong interest in studying thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, and combustion, and their roles in energy generation and the environment. This interest led him to his research on reducing pollutant emission levels in turbine generators under the guidance of Professor Samuelsen. Christopher, now a graduate student at UCI, hopes to expand on this work and produce results that can be applied to advanced liquid fueled gas turbine systems. He describes his undergraduate research experience as a “very rewarding opportunity to venture into the forefront of engineering,” a venture he hopes to build upon in the future. triangle.gif (504 bytes)




Small gas turbine engines, referred to as a microturbine generators (MTGs), produce up to 500kW of electrical power and are ideal for distributed power generation applications. By generating power where it is used (e.g., a commercial office building), using MTGs can increase the reliability and quality of the electrical power and allow the waste heat to be used to meet other energy requirements at the site. Combining electrical power generation with waste heat recovery, referred to as combined heat and power, substantially increases the overall efficiency of the unit and significantly reduces the mass emission of air pollutants per kW-hr of power generated when compared to traditional reciprocating backup devices. This project addresses this issue experimentally by characterizing the pollutant emissions from a liquid fueled MTG (Capstone model C30), and establishing the extent to which the fuel preparation processes and operating parameters affect air pollutant emissions. The results reveal that the MTG selected produces low levels of pollutants compared to other technologies currently used. Furthermore, the research critically examines the steps associated with preparing the liquid fuel for combustion to identify further potential emissions reductions, demonstrates that emissions can be further reduced, and identifies a strategy to achieve the reduction. triangle.gif (504 bytes)

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Faculty Mentor                                                                                                                

Scott Samuelsen

Henry Samueli 
School of Engineering

The majority of electric and motive power production in the world today uses combustion to transform the chemical energy bound in the fuel into thermal energy that can drive a piston, turn a turbine, or produce steam. Combustion is also responsible for the majority of the air pollutant and global climate change gases emitted into the troposphere. The reduction of pollutant impact from combustion is closely tied to the preparation of fuel and the mixing of the fuel with air. This paper provides a basic understanding of the role of fuel air mixing in a liquid-fueled gas turbine engine and represents a major accomplishment by an undergraduate in the conduct of energy research. triangle.gif (504 bytes)

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