Turbines have been used to produce power for the last 80 or so years. However, in the last few years there has been a call for more efficient gas turbine productivity as well as for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The NETL (National Energy Technology Laboratory) has been given the mandate to oversee the improvement and innovations of gas turbines. They have created productive partnerships, have a healthy research portfolio and are working to improve the environment and increase the efficiencies of power production. The NETL has carried out research in the following areas with a goal of increasing efficiency and reducing the negative effects to the environment.
Hydrogen Turbines – For many years, coal has been used to generate power using IGCC (integrated gasification combined cycle). NETL is working in collaboration with its partners to develop gas turbine technology fueled by hydrogen to take its place. This improvement will augment efficiency, lower costs, reduce emissions, and allow for CCUS (carbon capture, utilization and storage). The efforts will support acceleration, adaptation and application of industrial technology thus benefiting the advancement of hydrogen turbine development.
The components as well as turbine systems that have been targeted for enhancement are coatings development, combustor technology, augmented cooling technology and materials research. These are thought to be the key components where hydrogen turbines are concerned. Combined with other energy system technologies, they will become new generation power systems. Studies in this area show that it is possible to operate on hydrogen fuel power that is based on coal in order to increase the efficiency of the cycle and reduce the production of CO2 as well as other emissions.
Advanced Combustion Turbines –This research focuses on combustion systems and components, which can achieve over 65% efficiency in combined cycle operation while being able to support the necessary load to meet the demand for power in a modern grid. The advanced concepts that can help achieve the above target are fueled by fuels derived from coal and natural gas such as syngas and hydrogen as well as higher firing temperatures of about 3100 Fahrenheit.
Research and development on the various components are underway with a goal of managing the cooling requirements, advancing expander and compressor aerodynamics, allow for increased turbine inlet temperatures, advance how load following combustion systems for high temperatures perform to ensure low pollutant emissions and to minimize leakage. Some of the emissions targeted for reduction include CO and NOx. We provide a wealth of knowledge and multi-disciplined expertise on gas turbine productivity.